State of the Union 2006
I was in D.C. having dinner with an old Army buddy who was here for a union workshop, so wasn’t home glued to the pre-SOTU chat. I heard the early part of the speech on the radio and am listening now via television.
As usual, the transcript of the speech was released prior to actual delivery, taking out much of the mystery. The White House even put out excerpts for those without time to pre-read the whole speech. The Democratic response by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is up, too, for those who need to get to bed early.
Cindy Sheehan managed to milk a little more attention out of her dead son by getting herself arrested outside the Capitol.
As usual, the state of the union is “strong.”
The ode to Coretta Scott King, who died this morning, was trite but necessary.
Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.
Otherwise, the speech has had lots of applause lines and decent sound bytes but nothing particularly surprising.
Good platitudes on foreign policy and democracy:
Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122. And we are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government – with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan ….. and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink ….. and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half – in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran – because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.
Translating this into actual policy, however, will be virtually impossible.
He did make several references to “radical Islam,” although continuing to pretend that it was some tiny minority of the Religion of Peace:
No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam – the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder – and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder. Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world.
He defended the NSA surveillance program:
Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it – because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
On the domestic front, the biggest news–although widely talked about because of the pre-release–was this:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
The biggest budget busting boondoggle:
And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people – and we are going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our Nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science.
Why this needs federal spending is beyond me. It gets better:
Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.
Republicans have even less business proposing this kind of thing than they did supporting Clinton’s 100,000 cops nonsense. This is simply not a federal responsibility nor something where uniformity is even desirable.
The obligatory reference to his two new Justices came very late in the speech:
A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench. Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. For 24 years of faithful service to our Nation, the United States is grateful to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
This was immediately followed by combining some very popular restrictions on science with some very controversial ones:
A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research – human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments , creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator – and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.
The remainder of the speech was filled with platitudes about how great America is, how we can all be proud, and how much better things will be in the future.
- Steven Taylor is micro-blogging. Start at the top and scroll down. Or vice versa.
- Ronald Bailey doesn’t think the government is the way to get rid of energy dependance.
- LaShawn Barber is only live blogging on immigration.
- N.Z. Bear thinks Bush is on the Porkbusters bandwagon.
- The On Tap Boys have several posts on the subject, ultimately giving it a B-.