State of the Union 2006: Resistance Is Amusing
Bush was positively buoyant in tonight's State of the Union speech, and why shouldn't he have been? He checkmated his opposition today, whatever else might happen. Bush's purpose was always, first and foremost, to get enough Supreme Court justices appointed to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This is what his, and the Republican party's, religious right supporters want from him; prayer in school and the like, that too, but all religious right issues pale in comparison to Roe vs. Wade. And with the appointment today of Sam Alito, who was among the justices who were in attendance tonight(there were four, including all the hard-right faction), that promise has been delivered upon. The filibuster was feckless, ill-planned, ill-timed and too little, too late.
So now that the war on choice has been won, I suppose we should turn our attention to other things. Certainly, Bush was trying his best tonight to stick mostly to the aspects of issues most can agree upon. The Democrats, in their turn, rather than sulk on their hands every time the Republicans clapped, or boo, chose to applaud certain aspects of what Bush mentioned-- applauding a general goal(the end of terror, for instance), but not necessarily the method he might propose to go about that.
With Cindy Sheehan--who had been the invited guest of a California congrsswoman--removed by capitol for fear she might unfurl a banner or do something else similarly disruptive (which would have been a lot of fun, and I haven't any doubt she intended some dramatic moment), there were only the Democrats as opposition, and the little protest that they were even able to symbolically serve up was downright comical. But then, the Democrats have become as resistant to Bush as lemmings are toward long jumps.
They smiled, and the president smirked back at them every time they sat on their hands. It was an interesting, almost threatening smirk, one that said either, "Well, do as you like, because you don't matter anyway," or, "That's right, don't applaud. I'll make you eat that later, bitch." He was confident, bold, almost friendly, and not at all nervous. Indeed, it may have been the best I've ever seen Dubya deliver a speech. Why, after all this time, he even mentioned Bin Laden!
He was unashamed in defending the NSA spying program, declaring he'll keep doing it pretty much as long as he feels like it. So it's very clear: Bush will act beyond the law if he feels like it, and judging by what he says on the subject, his reasoning does seem to be that if the president, it's not illegal. Cheney is smiling, and somewhere in Hell Richard Nixon is snickering. Tonight, Bush all but declared his absolute, unchecked power, and did this generate outrage? Hillary Clinton had a sort of disbelieving smile and a bit of an eye roll. Then again, this is a woman who knows from men with raw chutzpah.
He spoke as a man who has irrevocably won. And he is. So he can afford to be generous. He can, for instance, call for a bipartisan commission to find ways of saving Social Security, and seems truly, desperately open on the subject now, and no longer married to the privatization scheme. He spoke in favor of the lobbying reforms; hilariously, only John McCain applauded that(and very, um, exuberantly).
He can promise to reduce our dependence on foreign oil within six years, especially since he won't be there when the deadline arrives--at least, until he decides that staying in office is for the good of the country too, I guess--and I love how he slipped in, behind hydrogen and ethanol, the environmentally murderous projects Cheney's wanted all this time: a promise to heavily invest taxpayer money in "zero-emission" coal and "clean" nuclear power.
Yes, children, your money will be used to bring back a kind of power we long ago abandoned investment in: nukes. Betcha didn't see that coming.
I found it somewhat funny because I saw The China Syndrome for the first time on TCM the other night. Everything old is new again.
And on and on; not much substantiative on Iraq, except pretty much the same boilerplate delivered with the tone we've somehow already won that we usually hear.
Bold, though. Bold, confident, probably bullshit, but in the words of Walter, "At least it's an ethos." Mostly, I think, you could call it a dare. So what do the Democrats throw back in response?
I see a car salesman, but in a nice suit. Mostly forehead, beady eyes, weak little squeaky voice. But that is a nice roaring fire behind him, what you could see of it had he not been rocking so much from foot to foot. But shouldn't he have taken some of those holiday decorations down by now?
Man, that forehead is really distracting me...
Who is this tool that the Democrats gave these crucial ten minutes to? Why, it was a complete nonentity called Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia. Who gave a boilerplate response in no way related to the president's speech. His words evaporated into grey fog as they left his mouth, and all I could remember at the end was the stirring slogan, "We can do better."
We certainly can. Starting with admitting the Democratic party has gone the way of the Whigs and that there's no longer any reason to cling to it. The party has slowly killed itself, and is no longer any effective vehicle even of balance against Bush, who, thanks to their timid and poorly-planned filibuster, now controls the entire government. And they think they can afford to send their response through a tepid little twerp like this Kaine, rather than, oh, a future candidate or leader (like Barack Obama, say) that you might want to introduce to the public, something like that?
What have you bastards done with our votes, our contributions. I will never be a Republican, but I long since stopped being a Democrat. A new party, a real one, not a distraction or spoiler like the Greens, needs to be built, and the Democratic party needs to go to the junkyard, because it's long since lost any reason for being. It seems all they now stand for is that they're not Republicans. And even if they were inclined to actually fight him, they couldn't now.
I'm not saying not to back them in the coming election, because a viable alternative doesn't exist yet, and won't in time; but we need to take a hard look at what the party is for, and realize that this version of the party, at least, is dead and undeserving of our support. The Republicans betrayed the entire country. But the Democrats betrayed their own on top of that. If it no longer serves the people's interest, we need to move on.
A party that can't even pose an alternative to incompetence and corruption is worthless.
Labels: cheney, politics, state of the union