State of the Union Postmortem
Tonight’s State of the Union address was a bit strange on the domestic side, with President Bush somewhat declaring a series of ill-defined “Hopeful Society” programs that protect life, encourage education and innovation, and in general further the greatness of America and American culture. All pretty empty if you ask me, yet fortunately not the bulk of his speech.
But what the President was direct and unapologetic about was American global hegemony. Some will find this alarming, but tonight George W. Bush was perfectly clear that American leadership is necessary for global stability, and under his administration we will continue to lead — economically, politically, and militarily. As a specialist in international relations, I found this frank and honest declaration of America’s global responsibility refreshing.
I usually dread the State of the Union address; it is usually a lame series of platitudinous statements aimed at various constituencies. But tonight President Bush surprised me with his sincere demeanor, his succinct wording, and by giving a speech that was much more “State of the Union” than the now-common delineation of false promises and bogus initiatives. Something or someone told this President to avoid such empty rhetoric, and I think he was much more effective by doing so.
Update: Sorry about the multiple posts; our new server isn’t agreeing with me. But I wanted to add a few comments about key contradictions in the President’s speech:
(1) If we’re going to make the Middle East a bastion of democracy, then why would we need to reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil?
(2) The President hailed the confirmation of Justices Roberts and Alito, saying that they would adhere to the law. Why, then, did President Bush ask Congress to grant him a line-item veto — something declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court based on its violation of original intent?