Address was wasted opportunity

Last night, President Bush fulfilled his Constitutional obligation and informed Congress as to the State of the Union. In the past, many presidents have used this pulpit to announce bold, new proposals which have changed the face of America.

This was not one of those speeches. Instead, the speech given was a grand example of same old, same old. The speech was redundant enough that one could argue the awkward transitions throughout were due to bad cutting and pasting from speeches over the last five years.

As should be a surprise to absolutely no one, Bush showed his usual resoluteness/stubborness (depending upon what side of the aisle one is on) regarding the war in Iraq. If one came away with anything, it was that we’re going to leave when he is good and ready and not one minute before – regardless of the arguments and opinions uttered by others.

And for the rest of the world, Bush reiterated his doctrine from the first term: Democracy is a necessity in the war on terror, and dictatorships are breeding grounds for terrorism. Unless of course they provide lots of cheap goods for use in the United States, as China does, and then they get a free pass. Or at least that’s the implication of China’s absence from Bush’s laundry list of countries whose people desire democracy.

Regarding the economy, Bush’s policy seemingly can be boiled down into four little words: Tax cuts are awesome.

Otherwise his plans were rather nebulous, as they were the old parlor trick of increasing spending while cutting government intake of income. A prime example of this opaqueness was apparent in his promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009. Granted, he did say he was proposing to cut $14 billion from spending and announced support for the end of earmarking. But even if the cuts go through, they would be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount we’ve spent in Iraq over the last three years.

Domestic policy was the president’s weak spot on the night, as he appeared to be getting genuinely annoyed on a couple occasions. Then again that might be misplaced anger at the dolt who inadvertently wrote in an applause line for the Democrats.

Again, Bush repeated the same old talking points. We need to reform Social Security. We need to renew the Patriot Act. Activist judges are screwing up America. The only proposal which seemed particularly out of the ordinary was the statement that Americans are addicted to oil, but even that was old hat as Bush called for hydrogen cars in a previous State of the Union. Although we did find out that math is essential. Who would have thought that?

Stylistically, while nobody will ever confuse Bush with Cicero, the speech was fairly mediocre even by his usually generous standards. From the strained metaphors to the over-drawn self-comparisons to Lincoln and MLK, this speech was a far cry from the State of the Union in 2002, which can arguably be considered Bush’s high point as a speaker.

One last thing: The line-item veto was declared unconstitutional years ago.

The above editorial in the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.