If nothing else, this year’s State of the Union speech, known inside the beltway as SOTU, served as a reminder to many conservatives why they are so darned displeased with much of President Bush’s domestic agenda, but also why they had absolutely no choice but assure his re-election over Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004.
Fear is a powerful motivator. And unhappy conservatives in 2004 harbored a double-dose it as they trudged to the ballot box. Fear that John Kerry would be in charge of the war on terrorists. And fear that John Kerry would get to appoint Supreme Court justices. Their fears were well-founded and their decision was affirmed in President Bush’s speech Tuesday night.
First, the easy part: SCOTUS. Which is Washington-speak for Supreme Court of the United States. The nation’s two newest justices were featured and highlighted during the speech. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are clearly superior, well-qualified selections who will not be inclined to “legislate from the bench.”
Had John Kerry been elected president in 2004, nothing close to these intellectual and philosophical judges would have been allowed within 200 miles of Democrat’s short-list. We need no other evidence of this than the fact that John Kerry declared a filibuster on Sam Alito — from, as a White House spokesman noted with tongue planted firmly in cheek, a five-star ski resort in Switzerland. Because of George W’s re-election, the Supreme Court has now decidedly moved a large step in the “right” direction. That alone was probably worth the vote in 2004.
But more importantly, there’s the war on terrorists. After 9-11, there was a very real danger that the American public, absent any immediate or further attacks, would be lulled back into a sense of complacency about terrorism. And it has. Fortunately, the president and his administration have NOT. It would be very easy for George Bush, faced with both public apathy and public opposition, to “go wobbly” on the war on terrorists. To his great credit, he hasn’t. And he doesn’t apologize for it either. That’s the primary reason conservatives sucked it up and cast their ballot for him in 2004. And it was the right decision.
Can you just imagine John Kerry saying the following things in his State of the Union address had he been elected POTUS, which is Washington-speak for President of the United States?
“If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone.”
“There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.”
“Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.”
“The road to victory is the road that will take our troops home.”
“(Decision to) decrease our troop levels (in Iraq)…will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, DC.”
“Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.”
“.(O)ur nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.”
“If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaeda, we want to know about it — because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.”
Contrast those statements with John Kerry’s professed belief that the United States should only use military force to protect its interests and citizens if it gets permission from the United Nations. Kerry is the king of “retreat and defeat” crowd. He’s the head moonbat. Cut-and-run would have become official U.S. policy. The Kerry doctrine would be, to paraphrase a line by actor Jim Carey in the “Liar, Liar” movie, “Hit me again, bin Laden…and this time put some stank on it!”
So yes, this year’s SOTU was a clear reminder of the wisdom of keeping Teresa Heinz’s “squeeze” out of the Oval office. But it also reminded conservatives of what is driving them nuts with this White House.
Let’s start with immigration.
Or I should say, ILLEGAL immigration. The “illegal” part is the key part. And while President Bush talked tough about tightening our borders, he continued to insist that any such legislation include an amnesty component, though he also continues to insist his “guest worker” program is NOT an amnesty program.
The White House doesn’t have a tin ear on this issue; it’s DEAF. And it isn’t just conservatives who want stricter border control without the amnesty…er, guest worker program. Citizens from sea to shining sea of all political stripes simply won’t support any kind of “guest worker” program until they FIRST see serious and dramatic changes in how the nation’s immigration laws are enforced. Period. End of story.
But there was an even more outrageous statement made by the president on this issue in the speech — and it shows that this White House still doesn’t “get it,” or doesn’t want to get it. “We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy,” the president said.
Bull! This is a dishonest cheap shot at opponents of his amnesty proposal. No one has said that immigrants are bad for the economy. However, quite a few folks have said that ILLEGAL immigrants are a drain on local, state and the national economies. And they are. That one word makes a BIG difference. The president clearly was trying to infer that anyone who opposed ILLEGAL immigration is ipso facto anti-immigrant. That kind of false statement and tactic should be below the President of the United States. But it wasn’t. How disappointing.
Then there’s the spending issue.
The president said, “I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform,” a comment which caused Sen. John McCain to clap and bounce his head like Goofy on crack. “And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.
No, Mr. President. We can tackle this problem if you would just use the veto power you ALREADY possess. You have yet to veto a single spending bill, including that earmark-loaded Porkapalooza highway bill last summer. You didn’t need a line-item veto to erase the Bridge to Nowhere. All you needed was a Bic pen. You could have borrowed mine.
Then there was Social Security reform.
“Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,” the president said, receiving a hootin’-and-hollerin’ standing “O” from the Democrats; his best line of the evening from their perspective. So what does the president propose to do about it THIS year? What any red-blooded politician would do in a similar situation, of course: Kick the can down the street by “creating a commission” to do the job our congress-critters were elected to do. That’s leadership?
Back to spending.
Let’s see, the president called for “a 22-percent increase in clean energy research,” “to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences,” a new training program for “70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science,” “add resources to encourage young people to stay in school” and “provide new funding to states” for AIDS medicines.
All fine-sounding programs. But here’s the gazillion dollar question: Exactly how much are these new programs going to cost us, and what are the “offsets” going to be to pay for them? Or are we just going to keep adding new spending programs on top of new spending programs without cutting out some old spending programs? Which will mean one of two things: (1) Higher taxes down the road to pay for the new programs, or (2) Bigger and bigger deficits. Neither or which are acceptable to conservatives. So again, where are the offsets?
And finally, education.
The president called for math and science course which are “rigorous enough to compete with other nations.” Laudable goal. But does he really believe our government-run public schools can accomplish that? As John Stossel (“Stupid In America”) would say, “Gimme a break.”
If the president wants “schools that teach every child;” if he wants American students to excel and be able to compete with their peers in other countries; if he wants to assure that American kids get the kind of education which will help them “succeed in life” and thereby “ensure that America succeeds in the world,” then he has no choice but to abandon his top-down No Child Left Behind program and push for true, meaningful school choice which empowers parents and breaks up the monopoly and stranglehold the educrats and teachers unions have on our school systems.
And that includes vouchers for EVERYBODY’S kids, not just the kids in the worst of the worse public schools. No matter what Teddy Kennedy says.
So yes, this year’s State of the Union speech was a big reminder. A reminder of why we didn’t elect John Kerry in 2004. And a reminder of what conservatives need to look for in a new presidential candidate in 2008.