Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union speech: 1/31/06

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to watch the State of the Union speech every year. I know it's going to be nothing more than a political ad with no substance, along with a whole lot of insincere applause, but you can always hope something interesting might happen. I really miss Clinton's speeches these days, though. He would say nothing but he always said it so damn well; W. can't even get two words out without stumbling over his tongue.

Last night, I kept wishing someone would stand up and challenge some of the more egregious lies W. spewed, but deep down I knew no one would. There might have been a chance of some drama if Cindy Sheehan hadn't been arrested just before she got inside (That's freedom for you!). Why can't we have a Prime Minister's questions type of thing here? I'd love to see W. have to defend his bullcrap every week in front of the opposition. When you think about what Tony Blair has to go through compared to the weak tea that is W.'s (or Putin's) press conferences, you really have to wonder which country has the real democracy.

I'm not going to bother running through all the inconsistencies of the speech, lie by lie, there's no point. For an excellent analysis of the speech I'd recommend listening to Radio Times from this morning. Two former presidential speech writers really did a great job of dissecting the speech from every angle: from the process of writing it to the style of it and, of course, the politics of it.

The Rummys:

I can't say the whole thing last night was a total waste of time. There were a few interesting moments before the speech began when all the bigshots came in. The way Jim Lehrer was introducing them, as they followed the Sergeant of Arms in, I got the idea that this was like the Oscars or some other awards show, like the "Rummys" or something. Then I got to wondering who would win the war criminal of the year prize. I noticed Rummy and Alberto "Waterboard" Gonzales came in together and sat together and I imagined them both sitting there nervously expecting the award to be announced.

'And the award goes to....Rummy, for best warmonger!' (que applause.) And then David Brooks would say something like: 'Well Jim, no surprise there. Albert Gonzales was really hoping this would be his year, but writing a few torture memos and singing off on warrentless wiretapping really can't cut it compared to starting two wars. And sending the troops into combat with only their jockstraps on and some do-it-yourself up-armor kits was just genius."

When the camera panned over the Supremes, I saw Justice Thomas and Alito-the-Hun sitting together and I could just image what they were saying.

Thomas: "You know, you gotta' watch out for Ginsberg, she put a pubic hair on my coke!"

Alito: "Thanks for the warning. By the way, is there any truth about you all putting rat poison in Steven's creme brullee?"

Thomas: "Oh, hell no. Coulter's an idiot, we use Exlax."

Didn't Michael Chertoff look like a wraith? Did anyone notice that? Here he thought he got off scott-free after everybody blamed good ol' Brownie for the Katrina mess and now this GAO reports comes out and it fingers him.

David Walker wrote that lessons learned from hurricane Andrew, 13 years ago, were ignored. There was no single person accountable to the president, "the central focal point." The report went on to say, "Neither the DHS Secretary nor any of his designees, such as the Principal Federal Official (PFO), filled this leadership role during Hurricane Katrina, which serves to underscore the immaturity of and weaknesses relating to the current national response framework." [WaPo]

You know, Chertoff might just be up for a medal.


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