Wednesday, February 02, 2005

SOTU liveblogging 

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

I just decided to live-blog this puppy. No promises.

I like the inky fingers, and I like the introduction.

Posts are numbered.

1. "The State of the Union is confident and strong." I like it. Better than good. The Left will take great issue with this, of course. I also like the gray hair comment. The litany of triumphs up front is also strong.

Hillary cutaway: Not happy.

2. Mrs. TigerHawk: "Whenever we increase the size of Pell Grants, tuition just goes up." I agree completely.

"Irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims" -- love it. Go after the trial bar.

Kerry cutaway: grinning. Probably at a joke, rather than at something Bush said.

This litany is like a Christmas list.

3. "Affordable and environmentally responsible energy." "Nucular!"

He's pushing hard for the very suspect energy act. Strong demand: "Four years of debate is enough."

Tax reform: "Examine the tax code from top to bottom." Gonna be pro-growth, easy to understand, and fair to all. Who could be against that? Even Hillary is applauding. (She looks horrible tonight. I wonder if she is still feeling bad.)

4. "Social Security was a great moral success of the twentieth century." Talk about damning with faint praise. "The system on its current path is headed toward bankruptcy." Democrats sit, Republicans cheer. "Social Security were created decades ago for a very different era."

Josh Marshall is probably going wild. I'm not going to wade into this, because it is not a debate I understand at a level useful to my readers.

5. OK, I'm getting really tired of this. He is clearly going to sink a lot of capital into this effort, which is gratifying at one level and frustrating at another. Why frustrating? I think he's going to lose. I'd rather that he spend the effort breaking the back of the trial lawyer.

6. I was hoping he wasn't going to mention the marriage amendment, but maybe this will be the last time. "Human life is never bought and sold as a commodity."

"Every judicial nominee deserves an up or down vote." I agree completely.

The filibuster, by the way, should not be abolished as some triumphalist Republicans have proposed. But it should be reformed to make it a costly option. Make people stand up and speak non-stop for hours, just as they had to back in the day.

7. He dares mention AIDS again. And he is dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction. He is also proposing "special training for defense counsel in capital cases," which of course diffuses one of the big utilitarian arguments against capital punishment.

"Freedom from fear": A litany of stuff we are doing in Homeland Security.

"There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists, but their number has declined."

So far, I've heard nothing hawkish aimed at North Korea. Insiders say that his silence on North Korea will be a signal of our willingness to negotiate, and that North Korea will take it as such and return to six party talks. Let's see.

8. Oops. Wrote too soon. He did mention North Korea, but he did not condemn it. He just said that we were working to encourage North Korea "to abandon its nuclear ambitions." No axis of evil, no denunciation. This mild comment is meant to be a diplomatic opening, I'm certain of it.

The democracy riff. "The ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Does it take your breath away, or do you snort derisively? Your reaction probably predicts your feelings about Bush.

9. "We are witnessing landmark years in the history of liberty." He may be right about this. I hope so.

Rice is going to Israel and Palestine. Bush asks for $350 million to support Palestinian political reforms. The goal of peace in Palestine "is within reach."

Hammering on Syria. "We expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door for freedom."

Iran: "The world's primary state sponsor of terror." We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime..."

He speaks directly to the Iranian people: "America stands with you." Best line of the night.

Still nothing hawkish aimed at North Korea.

10. I love the stretch on Iraq. But I have a question: Why is the Iraqi "voter" with Laura Bush such a, er, fatso? The TigerHawk son says that she must be a "well off Iraqi." Indeed.

11. "Freedom in Iraq will make Americans safer for generations to come." I'm not sure even I, an unreconstructed hawk, believe a statement quite that sweeping. It is wonderful that he attacked the idea that we should have a schedule for withdrawal. He gave good reasons. I hope it makes the issue goes away.

Byron Norwood: "You've done your job mom, now it is my turn to protect you." So sad. And I take back what I said about the fat Iraqi: She's hugging Mrs. Norwood, for whom this must be very tough. (Not that she isn't fat -- I just feel bad about remarking on it.)

12. A good speech, I think. Interrupted some 65 times for applause, according to -- OK, I admit it -- Brit Hume.

Whoa. I just learned that Mrs. Norwood gave the Iraqi voter her son's dogtag. Wow.

13. OK. I repeat the Official TigerHawk SOTU insight, which I have not seen on any of the liveblogging so far: We deliberately did not hammer on North Korea because we are sending the signal that they should come back to the six party talks. Contrast the bit about North Korea with the figurative bombing of Syria and Iran.

None of Captain Ed, the Professor, or Power Line made this point, so I am claiming it as my own.

14. The Democratic response is exhausting. The fewer people watching Reid and Pelosi, the better off that party will be.

Pelosi is a horror show on Iraq. "Diplomacy can deprive the insurgency of the fuel for the anti-Americanism on which it thrives." How? By selling Israel down the river? What other diplomacy is going to undercut the insurgency in Iraq? What a fool. And her homeland security riff is straight from the failed Kerry rhetoric. Does she really want to be reminding Americans of that campaign?

Done, now.


By Blogger Sluggo, at Wed Feb 02, 10:50:00 PM:

Good job. I believe you may just have a future in the blogging dodge.

Re #14 -- did you see over at Betsy's Page:

Harry Reid's anecdote about Devin who wants to grow up to be just like Harry Reid had to be the most ill-placed anecdote in a major speech that I've ever seen. His big example of dreaming big dreams is some poor kids who wants to be like Harry Reid.


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