Carol Platt Liebau: State of the Union

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union

Just a very short post on the State of the Union. President Bush clearly has the Big Mo and plans to use it -- and if I were either (1) a Democrat or (2) part of the Iranian government, I'd be pretty depressed and worried.

The President did some important work in trying to regain the initiative for what seems like a somewhat-stalled Social Security reform effort. To me, it was very effective to analogize the personal accounts to the federal employees' Thrift Savings Plan. For many people, the analogy is a reassuring one: If the government employees have a similar system, how "dangerous" can it be? And most of all, it has a delightful populist edge: Why shouldn't all of us get to take advantage of the same type of system that our "rulers" and those who serve them directly get to enjoy? (Although it still doesn't guarantee a slam-dunk: Remember when the Clintonites tried to compare their health care plan to the federal employees' system?). And we should all be remarking that, just because the Democrats don't want control over their money, well, they don't necessarily speak for the rest of America!

Of course, the most stirring part of the speech dealt with the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq -- and the President's stirring call to the people of Iran. If the Iranian people even were permitted to see the speech, they heard everything short of a call to arms; it was, truly, a guarantee of American support in their struggle against their oppressive government.

And finally, let's not forget the sacrifice of heroes like Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood. Touching to see his parents at the speech.


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