January 31, 2006

State of the Union

Nice work, overall. I enjoyed the shot the President took at Teddy Kennedy. (Oh, come on. Do you think that segment on the importance of civility in debate was random?)

Bush is trying so hard not to smirk, and it just isn't in his nature: that goofy grin keeps sneaking back onto his face.

I'm wondering if anyone out there who voted for John Kerry perceived this, or whether perhaps it's a sign of bias on my part, but I really felt that G.W. at least tried to act the part of a parent adjudicating a dispute between children when he spoke of current Republican-Democrat tensions. With the mood so tense in the Senate lately, I felt he was attempting to communicate a sense of "don't make me stop this car!"

Most of my GOP friends won't be happy with his approach to immigration, but I am. Malkin, for example, probably gagged when he spoke about the guest worker program.

Energy policy: the olive branch here was in his not uttering the phrase "drilling in ANWR," but I found the "green" segment of the speech less startling than many probably will. Some of these government subsidies will indeed turn into boondoggles, but the fact remains that we need to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, so there is a need for a multipronged approach. And it wasn't like Bush was out there wearing his metaphorical Birkenstocks, either: he emphasized the fact that nuclear energy has to be part of the new game plan.

Hamas and Iran: These were both compelling moments in the speech, and the only two times that W. looked directly into the camera. He sent the same message twice ("do not fuck around with us, because we're serious"). And he delivered it forcefully.

And it was a nice touch, saying a few lines to the Iranian people. It's critical that we make the distinction between unfree people and the governments that oppress them.

And watching Mrs. Clinton, who could barely keep from rolling her eyes as she usually does during these addresses, I began to think some of us have exaggerated the threat she supposedly poses to the GOP: this pose of being above it all is not one that wil endear her to the American people. Her conduct on these occasions makes it harder to believe she's learned anything from her indisputably brilliant husband.

She is not, at heart, a real politician. She just happened to marry well.

Posted by Attila Girl at January 31, 2006 09:19 PM | TrackBack

I don't believe for a second that Hillary "happened" to do anything in her adult life. I agree that she's not a real politician because she has no understanding or even interest in ordinary people. Or that is the impression I get from her.

She's a tactician, a calculator, but I don't think she relates to people at all on other than a personal level. Not that that's a bad trait, necessarily, in any job other than one that is based on getting people to go along with your goals. A very good friend of mine, who was a star debater in high school, all too often looks at politics as if it were a debate, where the "winner" is judged on quality of argument, use of facts and logic, and eloquence. I keep telling him that soundbites work, and that many people vote because they like or dislike a candidate. Hillary knows this, but she is hard pressed to work on it.

And she is by no means the worst politician at knowing what ordinary people think and want - nobody beats John Kerry and his tin ear when he tries to be "real." But Hillary strikes me as being the reverse of her husband, who feels instead of thinks - not that he can't think, but that he prefers feeling. Ha ha. Okay, I didn't mean that the way you are thinking right now. Don't snort the stents out of your nose. okay?

I do agree with you that her "threat" is probably overrated. She will likely come across as unpalatable in a national arena, more sympathetically than Dukakis did but still as a policy wonk. Smart and yet clueless.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at February 1, 2006 06:10 PM

Yes, I agree with your points regarding Hillary. I think she will try to run in the primary but she can't win. But, no doubt the Democrats will win big in the next elections given the state of incredible corruption in the Republican party. Those photographs of G.W. and Jack A. are most telling - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Is anyone taking odds on DeLay getting jail time?

Posted by: Rege at February 3, 2006 05:36 AM

I still think people care more about terrorism than messy money. I also think a lot hinges on how much gets cleaned in the next year or so: if people see progress, they'll stick with the GOP. There is truly a sense that the world is dangerous.

If people see something done about pork, they'll be pretty impressed.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 3, 2006 08:22 AM

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