Feb 1, 2006

SOTU: My two cents

I missed the tail end of the speech and was sort of surprised afterwards when I read complaints about Bush being too bipartisan and conciliatory. To my mind he came out swinging at his Congressional opponents.
In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country.

We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life.

We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity.

In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline.
And he didn't stop there:
Along the way, we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties.

In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice. 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.
He also defended the NSA wiretapping.
It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to Al Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.

So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.

Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed.

The 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.
I'm sure many will criticize the immigration part; I seem to recall this was one of the few times Dems applauded so I expect criticism from the right.

Some other impressions: Hillary did not look amused when Bush said "This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turns 60, including two of my dad's favorite people: me and President Clinton." She'd better work on that sour puss if she's planning to run in 2008. And what a contrast to her husband! I can picture Bill smiling and acknowledging Bush's remark with a self-deprecating shrug or wave.

It was nice to see Alito there. What a difference the robes make. I didn't recognize John Roberts at first and was amazed that I'd never noticed his bald spot before.

I was sort of dreading the SOTU: You never know if Bush is going to make some sort of major pronunciation gaffe or if he'll do that thing where he looks off to the side and pauses as if he forgot where he was and what he was going to say. So I was even considering skipping it.

But I'm a sucker for the ceremony. I switched over to the speech when everyone was still sort of milling about aimlessly. Then the Supreme Court walked in, followed by the cabinet. And then: "Mr. Speaker: The President of the United States." And I was hooked.

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