OP-EDS

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February 2, 2006

Columnists Respond to the State of the Union

Alec Brandon,

The Radical Centrist

More than anything, Bush’s State of the Union is the best glimpse of how his presidency may have looked had 9/11 never occurred. With no wars to lead or evil axis to call out, he is nothing but a mediocre speaker who can’t appeal to anyone outside of his circle. His attempt at building a straw man out of supposed isolationists made him seem desperate and defensive, not the bold leader we remember from years past. At its worst, the speech was just bizarre, such as his challenge on Congress to pass the unconstitutional line-item veto and to ban human-animal hybrids.

Barney Keller,

Right As Usual

With the Abramoff Scandal, I wonder how the “Democrats are leading that reform effort, working to restore honesty and openness to our government,” according to Virginia Governor Tom Kaine. That Governor Kaine can look into a camera and with a straight face call the Democrats honest when compared to the Republicans is so misleading that it deserves to be on a magic show, which by the way is pretty convenient. The only thing the Democratic Party has to give the American people is smoke and mirrors. I’ve never been a fan of things that aren’t there; I’m more a fan of substance. I think when most Americans go to the polls for mid-term elections this November, they’ll remember this State of the Union and go for the red meat.

Emily Alpert,

From My Bleeding Heart

Bush’s State of the Union had all the political heft of a mini-marshmallow. All in all, it was pretty banal, until he got to “human-animal hybrids.”  Yes, you heard me. Human-animal hybrids. Who are selling nuclear weapons. To Iran. In the name of gay terrorism. Of course we need to reauthorize the Patriot Act! Of course we need a presidential line-item veto! There are human-animal hybrids, and they’re legislating from the bench out there!

Josh Steinman,

What’s Next

Declaring that the United States was “addicted to oil” was this President’s “Nixon goes to China” moment. From a man who built his career in, and with significant money from, the oil industry, to turn around and declare that America’s future doesn’t lie with petroleum is truly a profound statement—albeit an outdated one. Better late than never. Just like Nixon, though, the key for the President will be if he can follow through and produce meaningful results and measurable gains in the alternative fuel sector. As far as lame-duck initiatives go, this one shows a kind of foresight that even the President’s critics must acknowledge is critical for preserving American economic and military security.

Andrew Hammond,

A View From the Left

Bush talked about the need for a more compassionate America. He talked about helping children and families. And the very next day, the House passed the President’s proposed budget cuts that slashed funding for Medicaid, child care, and student loans. Bush is taking health care away from poor children in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. There is nothing more repugnant than a politician who uses the problems of ordinary people to score political points, and then turn his back on those very people and exacerbate those problems. As my favorite fictitious liberal Josh Lyman put it when this sleight of hand was euphemistically described to him as “what magicians call misdirection”: “Really? ’Cause it’s what the rest of us call bullshit.”

Patrick Hogan,

The O’Smiley Factor

Friends, cronies, countrymen, lend me

your credulity!

Now is the winter of our 9/11

Made glorious summer by this son of

Bush!

God knows, my folks,

By what bypaths and indirect crook’d

ways I met this office;

Be it my course to busy giddy minds

With foreign quarrels, that action, hence

borne out,

May waste the memory of the former

days.

Once more unto the Mideast, dear

friends, once more!

We few, we happy few, we band of

crooks!

This throne of freedom, this sceptered

nation:

This land was made for you and me!