Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union

I would have posted something earlier, but this is taking me a while to write.

Overall - Some things there I support, and some I don't. I am on the right flank of President Bush on some issues, and have some problems with a few of his proposals. Some others things I support 100% - the tax cuts and tort reform. I'll get to the details later.

One thing I have a major problem with is the blatent two faced dishonesty of a few of the democrats there. These people try to be the first to go up to shake President Bush's hand, and then are the first to viciously attack him afterward. If I was a congressman and could not stand the president, I either wouldn't show up, or just take my seat. Dick Cheney had the best response to Pat Leahy a couple of years back for his twofaced behavior. "Go f@#% yourself." It's not polite, but neither is saying something different behind someone's back that wouldn't be said to someone's face.

The most interesting part of the speech wasn't the speech itself, but the reactions by the other pols there. Hillary made a real donkey of herself with her smirks and facial reactions. I think she's actually one of the easiest democrats to beat in 2008. Oftentimes, Joe Lieberman was one of the few democrats clapping. The GOP often clapped for the president on just about everything as expected. These are political games played by both sides there.

On the speech itself, President Bush seemed more forceful than usual, which was good. It was also an optimistic speech which is also good to see. However, to me the content is most important.

On Iraq:
"""No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder -- and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will -- by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself -- we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil.""""

I have mixed views on Iraq. I was not completely in favor of it, but since our troops are there now, the job needs to be finished. Washington needs to get out of the military's way. The media needs to stop rooting for the enemy to embarass a republican. The media coverage of Iraq outside of Oliver North has been nothing short of atrocious. Every bad thing is reported, and the positive actions are not reported. Bad news sells. Politics needs to stop at the borders (whoever is president) Get out of the way, let the military do their jobs, and go home of their families with the mission accomplished.

However, I'm not a Wilsonian, and do not believe we should be the world's policeman. We can't go after every dictator and should only go after those who are threats to the US.

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives, protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. (Applause.) They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime -- so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (Applause.)

I never supported the Patriot Act (going back to 2000 and Clinton's push for a similar bill in the name of the War on Drugs), and still don't. It needs to go the way of the Ugly Gun Ban. "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security", and lose both.

The American economy is preeminent, but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors, like China and India, and this creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears. So we're seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy -- even though this economy could not function without them. (Applause.) All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction -- toward a stagnant and second-rate economy."""

"Free trade" only works when the other countries have free trade in return. It does not work with subsidized trade. It's times like this where I really miss Jesse Helms who was a leader of the right when it came to this issue. Neither party has been acceptable on this issue overall. GATT was the worst of the trade agreements. Most Favored Nation Status for China was second(Bush, Clinton, Levin and Stabenow all supported that). We do need to cut costs here, especially overhead costs. Tax reform is a must.

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.

I agree with this 100%

"""Every year of my presidency, we've 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 next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009"""

I believe this when I see it. President Bush has been atrocious when it comes to spending. He talks the game, but never uses that veto pen when needed. It's my biggest problem with his presidency.

I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.

I may be wrong here. I thought the line-item veto was found unconstitutional when it was passed by the Class of 94.

By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices -- staggering tax increases immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending

I give the president guts for wanting to take this on again. Personally, I'd like to see Social Security eliminated and phased out, but that's not going to happen. It's only going to be more of a problem in the future with less workers supporting those on Social Security.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.

I don't like commissions as a matter of principle. If one is formed, I hope it is made up of congress, and not unelected has been glory hound bureaucrats like the 9/11 commission who just wanted a lot of face time in the press. I'll keep an eye out for more details here.

On immigration:

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. (Applause.) To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. (Applause.) And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.

I want to see the details. My guard is up. The last plan WAS amnesty. Any guest worker program that rewards illegal immigration is unacceptable. President Bush's leadership on border security is not up to par since he is afraid of political correctness and making Mexicans mad. I support a guest worker plan and requires current illegals to go back to their country of origin to apply for a guest worker card. Else, illegal immigration is rewarded. It's not just Mexicans and Central Americans who cross the Southern border. Hezbollah terrorists also have crossed the border. We need major reform here. I have no problem with LEGAL immigration, no matter what the country of origin is, but illegal immigation is a major problem that needs to be controlled.

President Bush called for tort reform. I support that 100%.

On Energy:

America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

I'd like to see nuclear energy make a comeback. I'm glad to see alternatives mentioned, but I have not seen any details of the plan, and unfortunately, I do not know enough on this for an informed opinion as of present. I'd like to see us give a middle finger to the Saudis for once, and we can not do that until we are no longer dependent on Saudi Oil.

Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world. (Applause.)

I can't go along with this. I opposed No Child Left Behind as well. The federal government should stay out of education as they are in the way. We have elected school boards on the local level. We have state funding, and state standards. Schools of Choice add some competition. The MEAP was a joke and the tests were not taken seriously. We have good tests that are proven. They are the ACT and SAT. Those are good enough for college admissions, and they are good enough for this too. I prefer vouchers, competition, and parental choice involved in schools. It brings out the best in both public and private schools. I should also mention that School Board elections are this May(at least here). Those that care about education should inform themselves on their local school board candidates, show up, and vote.

A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.) I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench.

I'm cautiously optimistic with Justices Roberts and Alito. Time will tell if this was the right decision. I'm a originalist when it comes to the constitution, and expect the same from them.

Overall, this was a mixed bag. Some parts were good(optimism, tort reform, tax cuts, judges, Social Security), some parts were poor (Patriot Act, immigration, education), and some parts incomplete (energy, spending). If he follows through for spending, I'll be pleased, if it's the same old song and dance, Congressman Mike will hear from me often. I'm a "1994" style Republican.

We'll wait and see what happens. SOTU's are good for talk, but the action is what I'm waiting for.


James Aach said...

I was disappointed the President didn't emphasize energy conservation a lot more. The cheapest energy, whether for transportation (oil) or electricity (coal, gas, etc.) is the stuff you don't use.

I'm a long-time nuclear energy worker who's written a thriller novel that provides the lay person with a great deal of insight about how a nuclear plant actually works, both technically and politically. It's at, at no cost to readers (who seem to like it, judging by the comments on the homepage.)

Keith Richards said...

I thought that the Presidents speech was wonderful, full of hope and optimism. Listening to him is a reminder of just how great this country is. I noticed that a Detroit News poll shows that over 60% of respondents thought that the speech was good and reassuring. (As of Thurs afternoon)

This is amazing considering that the Detroit News also ran a poll several days ago asking people if they thought Granholm is to blame for Michigan's problems, and over 80% responded yes. Obviously a lot of people in Michigan are happy with the job President Bush is doing, while they are UNHAPPY with the job Granholm is doing. I can hardly wait until November.

Keith Richards said...

It is also interesting that in the Detroit News poll, the percentage of respondents that did not like the President's speech is roughly equal to the percentage of voters that voted for Fieger in 1998.

Maybe this is the percentage of people planning to vote for Granholm this fall?

Anonymous said...

A large part of my heart really connects with George Bush, and I still get fired up when I hear him speak. But, when he comes out in support of Senator Spechter simply because he's a Republican, I get disgusted.

Along the same lines, according to the Battle Creek Inquirer, Saul Anuzis has whole-heartedly endorsed Joe Schwarz. I think I'm going to be sick.

Does our party platform mean anything? Does anybody still care?

CWB said...

I wasn't overly impressed with the speech. I liked the call for energy independence but the rest was disappointing. When will Bush give up his crazy amnesty plan?

Anonymous said...

Gee, an oil tycoon calling for us to give up our independence on oil. Right. Same speech, different year.