Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

STATE OF THE UNION 2004 LIVEBLOGGING....Real-time thoughts on the State of the Union address....

Overall impressions of the Democratic response Jeez, that was just horrible. I don't think they said a single memorable thing, their delivery was stiff (though Daschle was better than Pelosi), they didn't really offer any kind of competing vision, and I don't think they drew any blood at all. What a missed opportunity.

7:30 Why is it that "response" speeches are always so bad? Is it bad speechwriters? Lack of preparation? Or what?

7:29 Uh oh. A nurse in Sioux Falls with cancer....

7:26 Come on, guys. Now some tedious arithmetic about job losses? Sheesh.

7:25 Ah, something about paying for Bush's plans with your Social Security money. Good point. Too bad he didn't follow up on it.

7:23 OK, it's Daschle's turn. He agrees that the state of our union really is strong.

7:21 Some good stuff about increased funding for homeland security and loose nukes. Still badly delivered, but decent points.

7:20 This is about the fourth or fifth miscue from Pelosi. Has she never read from a TelePrompter before?

7:17 Wow, Pelosi is a really bad speaker, isn't she? Totally wooden.

7:15 Hey there's more! Now we get to hear from Tom and Nancy! But why aren't they standing up? It's awfully hard to give a good speech sitting down.

Overall impressions Very light on substance, but also very optimistic and inspirational. And very much aimed at the base, with talk of drugs and marriage and faith-based charities. I have a feeling it's a speech that won't go over too well with the punditocracy but probably played pretty well at home.

7:06 That's it? Wow. That was surely one of the shortest and least substantive SOTUs ever. And commenter Frugal Liberal wins a prize: Bush didn't mention the Mars mission. I thought he would.

7:05 On the other hand, I have to admit that he's able to pull off this kind of heart-tugging stuff pretty well.

7:03 Oh no, not a letter from a child from the heartland....

6:59 So does he want a marriage amendment or not? It would be nice if he'd give us a straight answer on this one of these days.

6:57 Get rid of steroids in professional sports? What the heck is that doing in the SOTU?

6:55 Lots of retrospective stuff so far: the war was great, the Medicare bill was great, NCLB was great, etc. etc. But really, not much in the way of new policy proposals.

6:54 This is the second time he's talked about eliminating frivolous lawsuits. But what's his proposal for doing this?

6:51 Any attempt to take away Medicare prescription benefits will "meet...my...veto." Huh? Who's proposing that? Especially given that Republicans control both houses of Congress?

6:48 We can cut the deficit in half in five years, apparently by limiting the growth in discretionary spending to 4%. This simply defies all reason. That won't even come close to cutting the deficit in half.

6:45 Lots of good words about energy policy. Too bad none of that stuff is actually in the energy bill he's trying to get through Congress.

6:44 A standing O for increased support for community colleges?

6:40 The people are spending their tax money better than the government could have? But isn't the government still spending all that money too?

6:35 So far the entire SOTU has just been platitudes about Iraq and the war on terror. That's fine, but when do we get something concrete?

6:25 Did he really have the gall to pretend that the Kay report vindicated all the prewar WMD allegations?

Kevin Drum 6:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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