January 31, 2006
SHORT REVIEW: Better than I expected, though that’s a function of my low expectations. State of the Union speeches are generally weak, and Bush is no star as a speaker. But the delivery was, for Bush, good, and the substance was mostly good, too, though the cloning-ban stuff didn’t thrill me. The Presidential Commission on entitlement reform was also very lame, though realistically it’s probably all he can do.
Austin Bay has thoughts, too. And reader Meghan Hammond emails: “More Math and Science teachers? Alternative energy resources? Someone has been reading The World is Flat.”
The CNN panel keeps saying how Bush is on the ropes, but he certainly didn’t act like he shared their opinion.
Lorie Byrd reports that it’s not just CNN.
In the Democratic response, Tim Kaine’s (rather repetitive) refrain is “there’s a better way,” which sounds like he’s trying out a campaign slogan. He keeps citing state initiatives as examples. That doesn’t reflect well on the national Democratic party, but it sets things up well for a 2008 presidential run by a Democratic governor. Hmm. Who could he have in mind? . . .
His brief Iraq discussion, however, notably lacked any specifics about the “better way” there, and quickly shifted to a discussion of veterans’ benefits. That’s been the problem that the Democrats have had on this subject all along. They can criticize, but if there’s not an entitlement program, they can’t get motivated.
Still, overall, as with Bush he exceeded my low expectations. SOTU responses, after all, are traditionally even lamer than SOTU addresses.
Brit Hume just said that the “better way” language actually comes from the Robert Redford movie The Candidate, which doesn’t seem entirely promising.
UPDATE: A reader writes: “As an Iranian, I thought this was Bush’s best message to Iranians…it had a perfect balance and he did try distinguish between the Mullahs and the citizens and he did not name a reform group or anything like that.or even use a threatening language, when you threaten Iran people have not choice but to support the Regime..way better than ‘axis of evil’ message… ”