“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union 2006

So here's the nutshell:

Bye Corretta. Congress, please play nice. 9/11, March of Freedom. Iran better learn from Iraq and Afghanistan -- don't f*** with us....we're your best friend or worst enemy. Dems better stop yammering about war and get behind us. Honor dead war hero. Iran again -- it's the government, not the people we hate -- we want to be pals, but your leaders suck. AIDS is bad; give me money. And the Patriot Act. And I *do* get to listen in on AQ calls to the US. Freedom is marching. Economy is good; could be better if you let me keep the illegals. Permanent tax cuts. Stop being corrupt; give me line-item veto. SocSec will bankrupt us soon, and Dems are laughing about it. Shut the borders but keep guest workers (huh?). Socialized healthcare. Addiction to oil -- need nuke plants and hydrogen cars like the Jetsons. Need to throw more money down the rathole of public education. Our kids are smart but appear dumb. Culture, gay marriage. Hey, I got 2 guys on the Court. Abortion bad (see how cleverly I hid that?). Congress needs to stop taking money from guys on the street. Don't do things half-assed.

Now to specifics.....

“Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.”

Sure, I cheered, but the odds of this happening are moderately poor. There simply is not the backbone or desire in the Republican membership to make this happen, and the Dems, in concert with their RINO allies, will kill any attempt to make a meaningful tax cut permanent.

WHEN did it become unpopular in America to lower taxes? Maybe we should hook up a generator to the graves of the Founders, as the spinning therein could supply all our energy needs for centuries.

“Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending – and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another 14 billion dollars next year – and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. I am pleased that Members of Congress are working on earmark reform – because the Federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.”

Nice start, but $14B is sadly just a drop in the bucket. It is hardly worth bragging about in a SotU speech. I applaud the concept, but surely with a Republican majority in both houses, we can be more small-government-minded than this.

Now about that line-item veto….Although I support the idea of giving a president line-item veto powers on non-emergency spending bills, we’ve been here before, with President Clinton.

In a 6-3 split, featuring unusual pairings, Stevens, Rehnquist, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg voted to strike the line-item veto down as unconstitutional. Scalia, O’Connor, and Breyer dissented, with Scalia taking the position that the title of the act had nothing to do with the president’s action it authorizes.

In the end, the line-item veto was dead, in a liberal court, for a liberal president, and even the conservatives were split on the issue. It is unlikely that the Congress will give the president his line-item veto. The Court also has a precedent against it, so even the passage of this bill would likely end in a turnover.

Best use of giving an enemy the opportunity to gut himself with his own knife:
“Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, {insert Democrats’ standing ovation and generally making asses of themselves while the President patiently waits} and yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away {ooooo, that’s gonna leave a mark; if each Dem that stood did not feel about ½-inch tall at this point, they had no soul} – and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.”

Most disappointing series of responses:
“Our Nation needs orderly and secure borders. {TEPID applause}
To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. {TEPID applause}
And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty …{Long and strong applause, from both sides}

My favorite slapdown:
“Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.”

Overall it was okay; the President is a lame duck and he knows it. Thus we got the constant reminders for setting partisanship aside and working together. The laundry list was pretty standard for a 6th-year speech, and there was a lot of wishful thinking in there that simply won’t happen. The hard anti-cloning bit bothered me at first until I realized it was his code for the abortion business. Scientific knowledge cannot be stopped by laws alone, and the cloning issue is something future generations will face, but to legislate on it at this time is equivalent to Theodore Roosevelt arguing for a ban against nuclear power.

Most telling was the absolutely UN-presidential demeanor of Senators Kerry and Clinton. In order to lead, one must recognize that sometimes the other guy gets his moment, and you have to at least pretend you think of him as a human. The elitism that literally drips from these two is truly frightening when juxtaposed with the idea of either of them attaining the presidency.


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