The Final SOTU
I am live-blogging the last State of the Union address of President George W. Bush. Boy, oh boy, if the Democrats were expecting a meek, tired, beleaguered lame-duck President who would surrender quietly to their agenda, they are being sorely disappointed. President Bush came out swinging from the outset and didn't let up. He is still the Republican partisan who champions a conservative agenda, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead. Send me a tax increase, he said, and I will veto it. Send me approrpriations bills that do not cut Congressional earmarks in half, and I will veto them. Oh, and in case you didn't get the message, here comes an executive order that will instruct all federal agencies to ignore earmarks that are inserted into committee reports without having been passed by Congress. (I noticed that even some Republican legislators sat on their hands for that one.)
President Bush also took some shots at the Democratic Presidential candidates. The proper approach to expanding availability of health care and health insurance is to empower consumers, not government bureaucracy. Senators Clinton and Obama both looked sour in reaction to that remark.
As for immigration, President Bush refused to pander to extremists, even those of his own party. Any solution to illegal immigration must provide a means for immigrants to legally enter the country and work, in order to support our economy. A solution must show regard not only for the rule of law, but to our highest ideals.
Now he is recounting the undeniable facts about progress in Iraq. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is staring down at her hands and frankly looks rather sick. The progress of the surge will allow us in the coming year to pursue a program of withdrawal upon success. (No, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Obama, that is not the same as immediate withdrawal and cut and run.)
Except for those moments when he speaks about grim subjects, such as the war against terrorism, President Bush is showing open enjoyment throughout the speech. He is (to use a label once given Senator Hubert Humphrey) the Happy Warrior. You think I am beaten, Democrats, he seems to be saying, you think that you will just stroll on into the White House a year from now. Don't count on it.
God, I love this guy.