Carol Platt Liebau: The SOTU Overview

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The SOTU Overview

Pretty mundane, on the whole. A very spirited defense of foreign policy, more watered down on the domestic stuff.

Some commentators have argued that the speech was insufficiently conservative, citing the government programs being enumerated -- massive spending on alternative fuels, only one line about making the tax cuts permanent.

To me, this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. In fact, it could be argued that it makes sense from a strategic point of view. People don't actually tune in to hear the President all that often, relying mostly on second or third hand characterizations and accounts. In a divided country, where people regularly hear the President being demonized, it makes sense, I believe, for him to avoid rhetoric that could be easily incorporated into a Democratic caricature. And it's sheer genius to put in applause lines that force the Democrats either to rise and applaud, or to risk looking repugnantly partisan (e.g. "we will never surrender to evil").

In choosing red state governor Tim Kaine (D-VA) to offer their response, the Democrats were certainly operating on the principle of putting their "moderate" face forward for the American people. In fact, it reminds me of a little child trying to act as though he behaves well, during the few minutes when he knows his parents' eyes on upon him.

That being said, it seems to me that Presidents do well when they speak out in full throated advocacy for conservative policies and programs, and I would have liked to heard more in that vein. And, frankly, the Democrats have more need to try to hew to the center (and hide their ideologicsl predilections) than the Republicans do.


Blogger Dan M said...


The better descriptive might have been "muted," or "mild."

GW doesn't have it in him to get up there and deliver a rhetorical one, two to the solar plexus of his political detractors. Just doesn't have it in him. At least we haven't seen it. And if we haven't seen it yet, after ALL the garbage that has been thrown his way, it just isn't in him

There hasn't been a single speech this guy has delivered, that I couldn't have significantly improved upon.

His communication team, as just about the rest of his Administration, is sorely ho-hum. It's amazing that this guy won the Presidency, and then was returned to office with this woeful communication staff.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

I think the defense issue was better than you have opined, Dan. However, I do agree it could have been much more "spirited".

I also feel that G.W. is just too nice a guy to slam his opponents - although I would dearly love to see it happen. Certainly he has the ammunition. And clearly his writers are agreeably "ho-hum". I think he could have and should have been stronger in defense of his policies, not only to defend us and the world from terrorists and the nuclear threat rising in Iran, but policies to protect at home. And he should have taken his opponents, those lilly-livered leftists on the D side of the aisle, to task for their obvious anti-American bullstuffing! Their cowardice and obstructionism must be put in the national spotlight, and what better time than at the SOTU address?

On another issu, he has been weak on illegal immigration since day one, and has not been forceful enough to defend the Patriot Act and other directives to insure 9/11 does not happen again. Too many career politicians in the State Department and the CIA are undermining American foreign policy. There should have been a sweep by Powell with in the first year of office. Since that did not happen, I am hoping that Condi can be up to the task, but even she seems a little weak-kneed on that.

With all that, we are still much better off than we would be with a Gore or sKerry in the White House.

4:56 AM  

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