Tuesday, January 23, 2007

First reactions to the State of the Union Address

It can be said that George W. Bush is not the greatest speaker in the world but tonight you didn’t know that. The president seemed more confident and self-assured. His tone was strong and full of conviction. His words were, well, annunciated. Go figure.

Onto the substance of the speech.

The address began with complements to newly appointed Speaker Pelosi. The thought that occurred to me as he was praising the first woman speaker was, what a catfight would occur between Speaker Pelosi and President Hillary Clinton. The destruction of the country might just be worth seeing that play out!

Bush’s domestic agenda started with a plan to strengthen the already booming economy, “through enterprise not government”. The key point to me was that none of his domestic agenda called for increased spending or raising taxes. In fact his plan for providing private healthcare involves a tax cut. This is especially important to someone like me who is employed by a small business and doesn’t get the extensive health benefits a large corporation can afford.

Where he lost me was toward the end of his domestic energy plan. While I’m fine with nuclear energy and even ethanol to some extent, what I don’t get is reducing gasoline usage by 20% in ten years. Mostly because today I filled up my gas-guzzling SUV (okay it’s not that much of a guzzler but it does hold a decent amount of cargo) for a ridiculously low $1.83 per gallon. That’s the lowest gas price I can remember since well before Katrina. At these prices we can't afford to not use more gas!

The simple fact that gas prices have gone down shows that there is plenty of gas to go around. Decreasing the use of gasoline can only be done if there is an alternative that meets both our expanding economy’s need for increased fuel and that fuel works as well as gasoline. Reducing our decency on foreign energy in place of our own domestic supply would be my preferred alternative.

Onto the war. Without going into the detail of his increased troop initiative from last week, we got a laundry list of accomplishments from the democratization of Iraq. All good things, and he did lay out the danger of those things coming to an end without our forces there to protect Iraq from the preverbal wolves at the gate… every gate surrounding Iraq.

More on our enemy, by quoting Bin Ladin among other terrorists he did a good job at painting the picture of what we are facing. These men make the villains in James Bond films look like the care bears. “It is better to be dead than to be alive while the non believers share this world” is just one quote he used. And they say Ann Coulter is intolerant!

Finally the end of the speech was the part of agenda where we give away all our money to Africa because they have none.

Overall I predict a slight boost in Bush’s popularity, but it will be short-lived when the first casualties from the Iraqi troop increase start being shown on cable news. His confidence may stem from the fact that at this point popularity polls no longer matter. He is free to be himself and I think that’s who we saw tonight. For the fist time he laid out his agenda, which was not for bigger government but lower taxes and free enterprise incentives.

Where was this president for the past 6 years?

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