Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Your Speech

You know me, Bush. I'm no political pundit and no policy wonk. I did listen to your speech last night, as well as to some of the commentary. Your belated attempt to address some serious domestic issues that have been seriously neglected during your tenure in the White House seem to me, at this point, not only too little and too late, but too wrong-headed to lead anywhere. We talked yesterday about health care and insurance. Enough said. Your new spirit of bipartisanship is likely to be sorely tested unless you show a greater ability to soften your anti-government, pro-business positions on the economy, the environment, education, social security, and so on.

Speaking of bipartisanship, though, I'll grant you this: one of the highlights of your speech came right at the start, with your gracious acknowledgement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her achievement. I thought you did that very nicely. Really. And it was a pleasure to see her sitting there behind your shoulder with that scowling Mr. Toad beside her. (Interesting sidelight, by the way, coming out at the beginning of the Libby trial, on your internal White House politics. Libby's lawyer's argument that his client was the scapegoat to save Rove from exposure has the ring of truth to it--especially when electoral success was at stake. If I had to choose which one of those two men to throw in jail, it would be no contest...)

The second highlight, of course, was Mr. Wesley Autrey (any relation to Gene? Just kidding, Bush,) whose "You the man" gestures from the balcony must have warmed your heart, given the cool reception from the Democratic (excuse me, the Democrat) side of the aisle. A man who throws himself under a train to save the life of another man is a sure-fire hero, and his fish-out-of-water presence amongst all those lawmakers and distinguished guests was a refreshing reminder that there really does exist a world out-there, beyond the halls of congress. Best of all, he seemed to be having a whole lot of fun.

The real hero of the evening, though--for me at least--was Jim Webb, who gave the Democratic response to you speech. I thought he was terrific. He offered a powerful, honest, impassioned talk that did not make nice and yet managed to keep the tone to one of tough political and ideological disagreement. I'm sure I wasn't the only one watching who wished that all political discourse could be at this level of authentic intensity.


PK said...

There are times I have a lot to say, but don't quite know how to put it to paper. So, we go copy, paste from TruthOut... "A few economic and domestic agenda items made a desultory showing before fluttering limply to the plushly-carpeted floor, each failing utterly to accomplish Bush's most desired goal: to divert the conversation away from his manifest and myriad failures. It was, weirdly enough, very much like a Bill Clinton address from the 1990s. Balancing the budget, saving Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, health insurance, the environment, global warming, alternative energy sources ... and if you believe he meant any of it, there are bridges for sale all across the country you should check out.

This was a tiny, tepid performance by a tiny man who is shrinking, even now, before our very eyes. Let all the gods that are or ever were be thanked that he only has one more speech to go before history swallows him, before this nation and the world is faced with the grueling challenge of cleaning up all the bloody messes he has made." And those are my thoughts too... Have a good day Peter:).

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for finding the right words on Truthout, PK. They echo my own sentiments to perfection. Cheers, PaL