Last night's State of Union Address, despite its modulated tone and small sops to Democratic issues (health care, education, alternative energy) sounded the same old themes:
War, war and more war.
Wiretaps will protect us from the Enemy.
Terr'ists are comin' to getcha.
Seriously, the Dems were suckered on this one. There were three times when the appropriate Democratic response was to rise from their seats: at the beginning when Bush noted the passing of Coretta Scott King, when the fallen soldier was honored and when he noted the end of Sandra Day O'Connor's tenure on the Supreme Court.
They should have done so silently with heads bowed on all occasions.
Health Care Savings Accounts
Instead, they let Bush sucker them into rising when he mentioned the demise of his Social Security plans of last year; then went on to detail his new plans for bankrupting the American workers: the use of so-called Health Savings Accounts.
These are nothing more than ways for employers to shirk their duty to provide health care coverage to their workers, for insurance companies to jack up their premiums and deductibles, and to leave even more working Americans un or underinsured.
As David Lazarus said in today's Chronicle: "[H]ealth savings accounts can be a nifty financial tool as long as you're rich or don't get sick."
At one point Bush stated that "our generation" would be fighting "a determined enemy" for a long time. That future Presidents of both parties would be in the battle. I think he meant the "war on terr'ism" but I dunno, maybe he meant the war on wrinkles or midriff bulge. Maybe that's why Hillary Clinton rose and applauded, even as those around her stayed seated. Somehow I don't think so, and joining Bush's "wars" is not a auspicious beginning for a Democratic Presidential campaign.
Bush's defense of his warrentless wiretaps, saying we all want to know if Al Quada is calling, and suggesting that if we had had wiretaps in place before 9/11, we could have foiled the attack on the world Trade Center, did not pass the Straight Face test.
He did not mention the August 2001 memo suggesting just such a scenario, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States." He did not listen to those who warned that some of the later-identified 9/11 hijackers were taking lessons in flying but not landing airplanes, and he ignored warnings of his own advisors on increased "chatter" between known terror suspects.
They were listening then. They had the tools to do something about it and they failed. Spy on yourself George.
Don't even get me started on what he had to say on Iraq, where the sun is always shining and great strides are being made. Oh, and pigs fly.
What about Them Dems?
And what about those Dems? Couldn't they find anyone more alive than the pasty faced Patrician Governor of Virginia to give their (our) response? I mean, come on. Where was the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party last night? Howard Dean would have done. Charles Wrangel. Even Nancy Pelosi.
No wonder we lose elections. Come on Dems, this is your wake up call. Russ Feingold for President anyone?