The President’s State of the Union speech, as such speeches are, was not as eloquent as the inaugural. At least there was no talk of steroids this year. Compared to last year, when eloquence should have counted, this was a much better speech.
“A man from Searchlight” really is the anchovy of geographical tag line politics.
The President made some good points on social security designed to reassure citizens who aren’t really paying attention right now, but who are about to come under a media assault designed to persuade them or scare them. The Democrats booed. Like ostriches with the heads in the sand or flat earthers denying reality, the Democrats seem to treat social security exactly opposite of homelessness. When Democrats occupy the White House, the homeless do not exist and social security is in need of saving. When the Republicans occupy the White House, social security is suddenly solvent and the homeless are pouring out onto the streets. That the President even wants this fight says a lot about his convictions and character. But, will his line about social security not changing for people over 55 be the equivalent of his dad’s “read my lips” line — something nice, unobtainable, and deadly in the end?
Conservatives will be pleased that the President called for the Federal Marriage Amendment and pledged his continued support for the sanctity of life. Conservatives have been leery of late based on statements from the White House. The President seemed to offer only lukewarm support of FMA right after the election. From a renewed called for passage of the FMA and a call to cut government programs to balance the budget, the President sent a strong signal that he will reward his base.
Liberals and conservatives alike will be left shocked that the President actually continued on his themes of liberty and freedom from the inaugural and actually pointed to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two allies who have been tyrannical with their own citizens while we have turned a blind eye (we’re left to wonder about Russia). Many pundits chortled after the inaugural and wondered if the President would really go the distance to fully embrace what he had said. Well, they got their answer tonight. The President did go the full distance and, lest we forget, this is a President who continually shocks the beltway crowd by actually doing what he says. The speech lacked any reconciliation between the parties. That the Democrats refrained from clapping for some of his major initiatives and sat on their hands when the President demanded votes on judges gives a very strong signal that the partisan warfare in Washington will only escalate. The problem for the Democrats is that the Republicans won a sweeping victory in November. The GOP picked up seats in the House and the Senate as well as keeping the White House. If the Dems really take on the Newt Gingrich playbook and attack, attack, attack, they risk further alienating the American voters who have also been inclined to vote against them. The Democrats had a banner year in the Senate in 2000, which makes them even more vulnerable in 2006. The Teddy Kennedy strategy, embraced tonight by Nancy Pelosi in the Democrat response, will not win over very many moderates. The Democrats ran as the “anti” party in 2004 and being the “anti” party for two years in Congress will neither win them friends nor influence people.
The Democrat response was lacking. “A man from Searchlight” really is the anchovy of geographical tag line politics. It lacks substance and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. “A man from Crawford” sounds better than Searchlight. That’s just silly. “Searchlight” does not have the same ring as “Hope.” I guess, though, the Dems are searching for a real message. I kept waiting for Mr. Rogers to get out of the grave and beat the mess out of Senator Reid for the bad impression. Congresswoman Pelosi came across as weak in her first major public address. The Democrats have a long way to go and they need to get a refund if Pelosi and Reid had PR coaches for the night.