Paul From Minneapolis

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Live-Blogging the State of the Union

Note, March 15: I did this at the time and thought it kind of sucked. Maybe it's not so bad though.

08:11 - I gotta say, when you look at Cheney in the background, you can see why my friends on the left don't like him. Why he gives them the creeps. Recently I've come to see him as the ultimate grown-up, which may also have something to do with why the left doesn't like him.

08:13 As I was typing I heard bipartisan applause for the concept of helping our grandchildren.

08:13 Bush looks sad and tired sometimes. Or maybe I'm projecting.

08:14 Is that John Kerry's secret lucky CIA hat he's wearing?! - oh no, it's just his hair.

08:15 I'm going to go get a whiskey sour.

08:18 We were out of whiskey so I had to go with a gin and tonic. What'd I miss?

08:19 I heard a reference to the Clear Skies Initiative. I know that completely sets some people's teeth on edge. They think it's Orwellian. When I get a chance I'm going to write something about Bill Moyer's weird anti-Christian article in the Mpls Star-Tribune, about how super-Christians dont care about the environment because the end-times are coming. Did you hear about that? Weird, man. I think Moyers has some kind of previously unknown lefty Alzheimer's or something, or lefty Tourette's.

08:21 Here comes Social Security! Wonder if he's gonna say it's going bankrupt in 2018 which pisses people off?

08:22 He's doing a good job laying out the argument about the changed context of Social Security since it was designed. Used to be 16 workers for every beneficiary, soon it'll fall to 2 for each. He says it'll be bankrupt in 2042 - and the Democrats are booing! Cool. I don't know enough to judge the statement but I will soon, you can bet.

08:25 "This should not be a small matter to the United States Congress!" - one half the chamber cheering. I bet chairs on the right side of the chamber have to be reupholstered less often than the ones on the left. (As seen from the rear, not from Bush's perspective.)

Anyway, that 2042 statement is gonna get sliced up all over the place, discussed to bejeebers. He just said he'd be willing to listen to any proposal the Dems would come up with and there was some raucous cheering, I assume from the Republicans.

I assume Republicans have better calf and glute muscles, too.

Man, this is like announcing a hockey game. Sure wish I knew how to type. Anyway, I would suspect this is playing pretty well because it sounds pretty reasonable and includes safeguards and so on. And the closing point about federal employees having access now to something similar to private accounts, that is brilliant. For a lot of reasons. Is it true substantially?

08:31 He just came out in favor of the FMA. Very brief, though.

08:33 Finally - the Dems stand to applaud the concept of not selling humans.

08:34 I'm gonna slow down a little.

08:35 Dennis Hastert looks like he's thinking about something else.

08:36 Wow, teaching young men to respect women and reject violence got even Hastert standing. Oh, and Barbara Bush is going to lead this initiative! That's perfect! That's a real feint that will freak out the gang culture.

08:38 This is interesting, he's saying a lot of stuff that he's packaging as reaching out to the less fortunate. Equal protection under the law and so forth. The Democrats are standing again.

08:42 After his talk about the international effort to defeat terrrorism, the Dems stood, but more slowly than the Republicans. Same with his talk about the "force of human freedom." Grudging respect for that concept - that pretty much sums up the left's political and moral dilemma, don't it?

08:44 Nice stuff about the differences between us and our enemies, on how we don't seek to impose our system. Of course a lot of people will say, how are not doing that? Still - "The advance of freedom will lead to peace." How do you not cheer that? Poor Democrats.

08:47 How is Egypt going to show the way toward democracy in the Middle East?

08:48 Pretty direct slam at the Syrian government - "We expect them to stop all support for terror and open the doors to freedom." Both sides stood. And again, when he said America "stands with" the Iranian opposition.

Here comes Iraq.

08:49 Some Dems stood when he said that our soldiers are fighting terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here. Interesting. That some but not all stood, I mean. (Just a few stood, actually.)

08:52 Bipartisan standing ovation for the Iraqi voters. Again, how do the Democrats deal with that? With that great thing that simply would not have happened if the opposition to the war had its way?

08:53 This woman, this Iraqi voter, missed her name - the thing that makes me sad is I know people who will sneer at this moment.

And see the thing is, the idea that the terrorists are working against the will of the Iraqi people: after this weekend, how can that be denied? The Iraqis were commanded not to vote, and they did vote, and they were gleeful about it.

08:56: Wow. "Freedom in Iraq will make Americans safer for generations to come" - and most Dems don't stand. Seriously - do they honestly believe it won't mean that, if it works? They just lustily cheered the emergence of Iraqi freedom, so they're not disagreeing with that premise. So what's their argument? They don't have one. They just don't want to be seen as approving the decision. I've always thought any kind of successful outcome in Iraq - and I know it's not guaranteed - presents a huge political problem for the Democrats, because it will mean the decision was at least not totally absurd. And they've been calling it totally absurd.

Anyway, we just saw that dilemma in action, punctuated by everyone standing for the soldiers' parents, Mr. and Mrs. Norwood. What a moment.

09:02 Nice close. Did he say the road of Providence leads to freedom?

09:15 Harry Reed's Democratic response: avoid Iraq, talk about a "domestic Marshall Plan" to build the new economy. And health care - that is something they should focus on. I do wish the Pres would have talked about that, would focus on that.

I just don't know enough to judge the arguments about Social Security.

Now, on to Pelosi, and she's gonna talk about national security. I see. Train security forces faster, do everything that's being done but faster. So - hm. I think I'm done for the night.

The focus on better security measures here seems reaonable, I guess. It's not a topic I've really looked into, I have to say, just how profoundly flawed the effort has been so far.