Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Kinder, Gentler Bush

Wow! Score one for President Bush’s political handlers and speechwriters. They wanted a non-confrontational Bush this year, and they got him. Mission accomplished. Except for the radical-right domestic agenda we’ve come to expect, this year’s State of the Union Address was the most humble and rational speech Bush has made since 2000.

The whole speech was a litany of platitudes, generalizations and heart warming tales: "...we must be good stewards of this economy, and renew the great institutions on which millions of our fellow citizens rely," and "...To make our economy stronger and more dynamic, we must prepare a rising generation to fill the jobs of the 21st century," and "...In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder." Duh, right? I mean, who the hell is going to argue against that? I haven't seen the Democrat's jump to their feet so often since Clinton was president.

He was on such a vanilla roll, that I was disappointed to see him whip out a couple ugly peanuts from the presidential campaign. For instance, being proud of 2.3 million new jobs last year (I think it was really only 2.2 million, but that's nitpicky) while not mentioning that he's still lost more jobs than he's created over the last four years, that many of the new jobs are federal bureaucracy jobs created during the last four years of unprecedented government growth, and that he'd predicted his tax cuts which disproportionately favor the rich would create more than twice as many (5.5 million) new jobs that never materialized. And to add insult to injury, it turns out he's even 1.7 million jobs short of where he predicted we'd be without those mistargeted tax cuts.

The other real boner was the "Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home," bullshit. Seriously, I'd rather see them fighting al Qaeda terrorists (you know, the guys who actually attacked America) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bush didn't even mention bin Laden, leaving it up to Senator John Kerry to remind Osama that Democrats at least haven't forgotten about him, "Wherever that terrorist ... is hiding tonight, he should know America will never rest until we've destroyed him and his terrorist network." I hope Bush sends Kerry a Thank You note for the save.

He also made a serious error, and then just plain lied about Social Security's current and projected fiscal state. The latest report says it'll be generating a surplus until 2020, rather than the 2018 date Bush used all night. That date gets pushed out every year because government accountants use worst-case data to make their predictions. Then he said Social Security would be bankrupt in 2042, which is just an outright lie and he knows it. If you need still more proof that President Bush is a dirty stinkin' liar, there it is.

Those steamy brown nuggets aside, Bush pulled a good judo move on Democrats who were ready to come out guns blazing against his usual radical raving. He played the part of a humble and moderate executive well, and kept the evening pretty non-confrontational. He even apologized (as close as he's ever come to an apology, anyhow) for his inaugural address, "The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else."

From a political strategery standpoint, I was really impressed. I give him a 9.0 on style. If he hadn't flat-out lied about Social Security, I'd have given him a 10. If you're not familiar with the issues, you might be wondering why Democrats are so opposed to him.

Posted by American Pundit at February 3, 2005 8:11 AM