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Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

STATE OF THE STATE OF THE UNION....As we prepare ourselves for George Bush's sixth fifth State of the Union address, here's your chart of the day, courtesy of the Pew Research Center.

Bottom line: if you think this year's speech is likely to be a bore, you're not alone. Apparently hearing Bush recite the same old stuff year after year is starting to lose its appeal.

I know that it's lost its appeal for me. I'll liveblog it tomorrow like I do every year, but I'm not sure my heart is going to be in it. I'll try to keep my yawning under control and hope that someone drops a glass of water on Cheney's head or something just to liven things up.

Kevin Drum 12:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (117)

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Comments

You are a braver soul then I, Kevin. I can't stand to even look at a picture of him, let alone have to listen to the man talk.

I might suggest removing all throwable objects out of the room in which you will be viewing the speech. And maybe make sure the TV is out of leg reach.

Posted by: Rook on January 30, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

There you go. The Democrats all walk in armed with Super Squirters, and when the Republicans stand up to applaud, the Dems let fly.

Posted by: Linkmeister on January 30, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Like others, I can't stand listening or watching Bush. He just leaks with contempt! Eww! So I'll be depending on Kevin Drum's coverage to get the heads-up on Bush's current lies, spins and deceptions.

But if the Dems brought in SuperSquirters, maybe I would watch!

Ever see the graduation scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?? ...When the commencement speaker turns into a gigantic evil serpent and the graduating seniors pull flame throwers out from under their graduation robes to blast him??!!? Having Bush reveal his inner evil serpent might make the SOTUA more interesting.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 30, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

How low do the ratings have to get before the networks stop broadcasting it?

I can't wait for the slow motion Kennedy close-ups and the politicalfuckingpundits to tell us how many times Bush uses the words "terrorist" and "security" and how many seconds were taken up with clapping.

Posted by: B on January 30, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

I'll liveblog it tomorrow like I do every year...

Umm, where I sit, it is still Sunday, as it is/was where you sat as you composed this post. The timestamp indisputably dates it as a Monday in the AM post (Washington rules rule The Washington Monthly it seems), so your chronology is technically correct -- the SOTU is "tomorrow". But still, it's still Sunday...

Posted by: HRlaughed (formerly The Dad) on January 30, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, I have a mild curiosity to see if Bush makes any reference to last quarter's dramatic slowdown in US growth, down to 1.1%. Perhaps he'll mention the rise in jobless claims?

I'm betting that he'll propose that we need to make his tax cuts permanent to prevent another recession.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 30, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Until Tuesday, there is always this bit of brilliant spoofery:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/1/27/11451/1587

--
HRlaughed
http://rktect.blogspot.com

Posted by: HRlaughed (formerly The Dad) on January 30, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

The same survey (page 21) also gave Clinton's numbers for 1999 and 2000, although nobody made a pretty chart:

1999:

More important than past years: 27

Less or same: 67

2000:

More important: 16

Less or same: 75

Any questions?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Any questions?

Yeah, when does Clinton get to be history instead of a topical conservative response to every point a Democrat makes half a decade after the guy has retired? Not that I'm complaining. I like the guy. Still. But... get over it.

Posted by: HRlaughed (formerly The Dad) on January 30, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

During Clinton presidency, most of us were enjoying the benefits of the great economic boom that Clinton engineered. Who would have cared for the President's address if you could make thousands of dollars in a day just with a few clicks of a button on the Fidelity website?

Did you miss the Clinton boom?

Posted by: lib on January 30, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

The take-away point from tbrosz's comment, at least for me, is that the 2002 SOTU was right after 9/11 and the 2003 address was centered on making the case for the Iraq War, so if you take these two outliers out of the mix, the Bush and Clinton numbers are in the same ball park.

Posted by: TangoMan on January 30, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton will be "history" when he really retires and goes off somewhere to play golf.

Kevin's "point," such as it was, seems to be that Bush is losing his appeal, and showed a colorful Pew chart to prove it.

My point was that these numbers were probably typical of any second-term president, and I cited Clinton's figures to indicate it. While I don't have earlier numbers, I suspect that a chart of Clinton's, or even Reagan's "important speech" percentages would look almost exactly the same over eight years as the one Kevin posted. So what?

Abstract analysis isn't a strong suit here, is it?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

you call this 'abstract analysis'?

Posted by: lib on January 30, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

I don't see anything partisan about the post. Kevin just said it's going to be boring. Why does he have to compare it to how boring Clinton was 8 years ago or Reagan was in 1986?

Posted by: B on January 30, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, is tbrosz still talking?

My point was that conservatives can't make a point without Clinton's penis.

--
HRlaughed
http://rktect.blogspot.com

Posted by: HRlaughed (formerly The Dad) on January 30, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else feel are graphs depicting a quantity, x, over time, along with the quantity 1-x (i.e., the rest) idiotic?

Don't get me wrong - I loved the movie Top Gun as much as the next guy, but that's ri-goddamn-diculous.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

I loathe Bush as much as anyone, but Clinton did not engineer any boom. He didn't mess it up, but there was at first a real boom, and then a bubble, because of technological developments (like the Internet).

Of course, the huge boom was preceded by a tax increase that didn't get a single Republican vote, and the Republicans and their allies all predicted that it would tank the economy.

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 30, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and the tax cuts transformed America into a capitalist paradise.

Will Bush take credit for his brilliant innovations on Social Security and Medicare? For improving life for the average American? For progress in Iraq? A prompt and adequate emergency response after the hurricanes?

To what achievements can he possibly point with pride?

Posted by: bad Jim on January 30, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Watching Bush speak is like watching a highwire act perform without a net. In a high wind.

Posted by: TomStewart on January 30, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

My point was that conservatives can't make a point without Clinton's penis.

My point is that anyone who thinks history suddenly started in January of 2001 hasn't been paying attention. Or maybe you think the previous administrations have absolutely nothing to do with anything that's happening now.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

While I don't have earlier numbers, I suspect that a chart of Clinton's, or even Reagan's "important speech" percentages would look almost exactly the same over eight years as the one Kevin posted. So what?

Posted by: James on January 30, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like Clinton's penis has a non-zero temporal dimension as well, for that is the only way it can affect how much anxious the people are to hear GWB.

Posted by: lib on January 30, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else feel are graphs depicting a quantity, x, over time, along with the quantity 1-x (i.e., the rest) idiotic?

Only when it really does add up that way. In each period,there are about 6-10 points of "neither," or "care even less than same/less," or "State of the what?" in there. And I guess that is in itself meaningful because the minimum "neither" answer was 02.

However, the comment above that nobody cares unless there a momentus event just happened or is about to happen, regardless of administration makes sense.

Kevin's being really tired of watching the same lame speech, with the same lame hand-gestures and the same dishonest fear-mongering makes sens too.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on January 30, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

At this point I'm offended when Bush is compared to a chimp. I like chimps. It may only be their lack of speech that keeps them from being as brazenly dishonest, but most of the rest of us aren't warmongering wastrels either.

Posted by: bad Jim on January 30, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone see this yet? The SOTU as predicted, high larious.

Posted by: nobody on January 30, 2006 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is suppose to talk about world peace and democracy, but in the face of journalist getting kidnapped and horribly injured, as well as the Hamas win - Who loves ya baby Bushie, will certainly not the Mideast pal.

USA Today sez...

``Republicans are not entirely sure if he is an asset or not,'' he says. ``They wonder if he is embracing his own agenda or theirs.'' Immigration policy is one example, Feldman says. The president has proposed a guest-worker program, which some in his party oppose as an ``amnesty'' for undocumented immigrants.

Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist, says she expects Bush will try to ``drive up the terror numbers and play to the fear factor'' in his speech. ``I think this State of the Union will have some small throwaway policies on health care and energy, but will be by and large the return of the `axis of evil,''' she says, referring to Bush's description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea in his 2002 State of the Union address.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my...will Bush talk about all those WMD in Iran? Another mushroom cloud?

And here is betting Bush talks about how wiretapping is all perfectly legal too, (his own policy - not really Republican Party policy.) Bush isn't going to throw a bone to the GOP for 2006. It's just not the Bush style.

The GOP is going to have to face it, in Bushie's little bubble world there is only Bushie, so Tom Delay, Bill Frist and even Trent Lott don't really matter. Bush won't be burned by anyone no matter how much they try to help him out.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 30, 2006 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

Or maybe you think the previous administrations have absolutely nothing to do with anything that's happening now.

I think Clinton's tediousness will have very little impact on Tuesday's SOTU. I could be wrong. The shadow of his penis is huge and fades but slowly.

Anyway, wouldn't a strict constructionist just deliver a written message to congress?

Posted by: anon on January 30, 2006 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
To livened up things, the Dems should just adopt the behavior used by opposition MPs in the British parliament (House of Commons) when the Prime Minister speaks. Bush doesn't deserve the decorum he's afforded by Congress.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 30, 2006 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

Was your heart ever into it? I can't remember any of the speeches except for the infamous one before the Iraq War with Chalabi sitting next to Mrs. Bush.

Posted by: Jimm on January 30, 2006 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

It might help if you make a drinking-game/bingo board before the SOTU.

Possible entries:


  • does weird cud-chewing motion with jaw

  • waits for laugh, doesn't get it, looks irked

  • uses the words "Democracy" and "Freedom" (you may have to count these in 100-lots)

  • mispronounces common, everyday word.

  • mispronounces common, everyday word in a way wholly different from the way Texans do.

  • pauses in the middle in a word that makes you wonder if he's having a stroke as you watch.

  • shares heartwarming story of gratitude

  • quotes from letter allegedly written to white house by military personnel

  • points to story/letter authors, both grinning and sitting next to his animatronic wife, Laura.

  • his delivery makes your thoughts wander towards the area of "possible brain damage from cocaine"

Posted by: travis on January 30, 2006 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats, Travis. LOL (really!) Best thing on this thread.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 30, 2006 at 4:45 AM | PERMALINK

You guys ought to seriously watch that link of the Upright Citizens Brigade I posted upthread, basic distilled version of what to expect.

Posted by: nobody on January 30, 2006 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

Really. Who wants to listen to an embarrassing boor mangle the English language and tell lies for an hour and a half? I have some paint I need to watch dry.....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 30, 2006 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

"Really. Who wants to listen to an embarrassing boor mangle the English language and tell lies for an hour and a half? I have some paint I need to watch dry....."

Your propensity for having an open mind astounds me.
Nothing new here.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 30, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Given a choice between watching, or worse - listening to, the Dear Leader and poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick...I'd have to think long and hard about it.

About the only interest comes from the suspense: Will this finally be the appearance where his strings get hopelessly tangled and he slumps to the podium or his link to Cheney feeding him his lines shorts out...

Posted by: CFShep on January 30, 2006 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42,

The guy has had five earlier SOTU's to improve his act. No luck.

There comes a time when you give up on the trainability of even your favorite dog. Bush is well past his expire date.

Posted by: Rick B on January 30, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

"The guy has had five earlier SOTU's to improve his act. No luck."

Point received.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 30, 2006 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

What a dishonest chart. There are three answers -- more, same and less. You can't group 2 of the three together and pretend to learn anything. That chart could say that lots more people think the speech is of the same importance or it could say lots more people think it is of less importance. Those two options (or a third, a little of both) lead to very different conclusions, no?

Posted by: David Mastio on January 30, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Remember the state of the union right after 9/11
when V.P. Cheney was too scared to show up. Rather he was out making sure the new bunker at the V.P. Residence would be finished soon. Remember, this was the first thing this Administration did after 9/11 -- go to work 24/7 building Cheney a new bunker.

cheney -- Americas most abject coward.

Posted by: spencer on January 30, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone have the over/under on how many times Dubya says '9/11'?

I lost big on the Pistons-Lakers game yesterday and really need a score...

Posted by: Bill Bennett on January 30, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

I might mute the TV, but I'm not going to miss seeing his head explode.

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 30, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I bet Alito's "victimized" wife will be conveniently next to Laura. Hope she doesn't accidentally stary bawling during the Bush's speech.

Posted by: Robert on January 30, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Ace:

Don't bother. His head won't explode. He doesn't have to take questions after the SOTU. That means his hearing won't mysteriously fail, either.

Posted by: brewmn on January 30, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The most interesting factoid tomorrow night will be the number of lies he tells. I'm hoping some blogger keeps track of them all. I know I can't.

Posted by: kimster on January 30, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

The most interesting factoid tomorrow night will be the number of lies he tells. I'm hoping some blogger keeps track of them all. I know I can't.

It brings to mind Mary McCarthy's devastating quip that for Lillian Hellman "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'"

Posted by: Stefan on January 30, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps a glass of pinot noir may help you make it through. It may make you even sleepier. Make that a double espresso...

Posted by: Howard on January 30, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

What's going on with that jaw thing he's been working lately? Seriously.

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard on January 30, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

You guys are incapable of the 'Abstract Analysis' that this topic requires.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Kevin's "point," such as it was, seems to be that Bush is losing his appeal, and showed a colorful Pew chart to prove it.

You see partisanship in Kevin's post because you're looking in the mirror.

It is you who can't separate partisanship from any issue.

The approval polls show Bush has lost his appeal.

You are reading things into Kevin's post that aren't there because you are biased against any truth that doesn't make Bush look as good as you want him to look.

Quit projecting.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: Your propensity for having an open mind astounds me.

Yet another mirror gazer drops in.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot to add that my expertise in draftsmanship on SolidWorks 6.0 has given me more than enough understanding of the techniques of 'Abstract Analysis' that these types of issues require and you don't have.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

The approval polls show Bush has lost his appeal
Hmmm, haven't see Rasmussen have you? Kerry gets hisself back in the news and Bush's ratings go up.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"The most interesting factoid tomorrow night will be the number of lies he tells. I'm hoping some blogger keeps track of them all. I know I can't.

It brings to mind Mary McCarthy's devastating quip that for Lillian Hellman "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'"

As an aside, I've often thought, when forcing myself to sit through Hannity or O'Reilly, that the beginning of any answer to a question of theirs should be, "Let me start by correcting all of the lies in the runup to your question..."

Posted by: brewmn on January 30, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"It is you who can't separate partisanship from any issue."

There is plenty of that to go around on this blog.

"Yet another mirror gazer drops in."

It is my open mind that brings me here. You remember, I'm the one who looks at both sides before deciding where I stand.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 30, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

With Freedom being on so many marches, it will be truly hard, hard work to decide here in Portland - Several film festivals will be showing tomorrow evening. Have to choose among the Bill and Ted's series with Keanu Reeves, Pee Wee Herman, Ernest and, of course, Carey's Dumb and Dumber. If the Portland networks have a poll for the dumbest of the evening, which one might win?

Posted by: stupid git on January 30, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Hmmm, haven't see Rasmussen have you?

I have.

Bush is still 3 points lower than Clinton's lowest second-term polling.

And that despite a partisan media blitz by Bush paid for with taxpayer dollars.

And despite your predictions of 60% or better for Bush by this time, starting with the Alito nomination.

Now, about your prediction that the focus after Katrina would soon shift to state officials and that the feds would be off the hook in a matter of days and never be an issue again for the administration . . .

FEMA failed to accept Katrina help, documents say

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

There is a story going around that Bush is going to tell us that things are better than we think. I am not sure the "believe me, don't trust your lying eyes" approach is going to work this time. Of course, Karl Rove's world view does rest on two overriding well tested ideas: 1. There is a sucker is born every minute; and 2. Say a big lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

I can't wait to read about the State of the Union Address.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 30, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

HRlaughed (formerly The Dad), it's great to know you have a blog.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Hey AfG, quote me those predictions.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who drops a glass of water on Cheney is on the next plane to Gitmo and they ain't comin back.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 30, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

USA Today had an interesting chart listing Bush's agenda from the last SOTU and what he's achieved.

The only two things that passed outright were a law that sends many class-action lawsuits to the federal courts and his long-delayed energy bill. (Other policies had mixed results or, like Social Security reform, went nowhere.)

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: It is my open mind that brings me here. You remember, I'm the one who looks at both sides before deciding where I stand.

Not demonstrated by your posts to date.

Maybe you are thinking of someting you fantasized thinking and writing.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

My point is that anyone who thinks history suddenly started in January of 2001 hasn't been paying attention.

tbrosz just loves those straw man arguments. But it's pretty pathetic that he has to resort to such dishonesty to defend the Bush Administration's medacity, incompetence and corruption. (Of course, it's nigh-impossible to honestly defend it, but that's tbrosz' problem, not ours, and no one says he has to try.)

Bush has been in charge -- mostly with a Republican Congress -- for five years now, tbrosz. The GOP's failures are their own, and the public perception of these failures is growing. Shame on you for continuing to carry water for them.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Hey AfG, quote me those predictions.

Hey, conspiracy nut, do your own research.

If I were to offer you truth as refreshing as crystal spring water offered to a man lost and dehydrated in the desert, you'd spit it out as unpalatable.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

do your own research
I don't research mythical animals, and I don't research mythical predictions.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

And to think, two more to go after this year. Hope you all survive the experience. Most of you anyway....

Posted by: Brian on January 30, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

FEMA denied; people died.

Bush lied; people died.

It's all starting to make sense, how this administration operates.

They kill people.

Through action, inaction, indifference, incompetence, etc.

They are like a plague infesting this nation and the world.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Solidworks 6.0 You have got to be joking,My kids are using that and there in 4th and 5th grade,The program is for kids.

Posted by: pssst on January 30, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: I don't research mythical animals, and I don't research mythical predictions.

Hilarious from someone who promotes mythology in each and every one of his posts!

Better try another line.

That one ain't gonna get you very far!

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

That one ain't gonna get you very far!
Pretty good talk for someone caught making shit up, and unable to defend it. Check the next post down, you'll find that I can defend what I write.

But don't worry about holding yourself to my high standards. If you started worrying about the truth, you wouldn't be voting Dem.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Kevin Drum keeps track of the glum expressions on the Dems' faces.

The rolling eyes, the scowls, the frowns, the sneers.

Myself, I'm watching to see the expression on John Kerry's face when President Bush introduces the new justice, Samuel Alito.

Posted by: GOPGregory on January 30, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers,

As I will be watching the more sophisticated Ernest and/or Jim Carey movies, I will have to wait for TBrosz to provide a link to the Twiggie Drool.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 30, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't research mythical animals

As a member in good standing of the Federated Society of Windhorses, I take exception to that.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 30, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

TTP: With Freedom being on so many marches...

Ha! Good one!

And travis, outstanding work.

I always watch the SOTU because I can't stand not to. And I can't stand it once it starts. But I feel it's sort of my job as a citizen and a 'Murkin and all that stuff. This is the one time every year I find myself wishing I had a spliff around the house, however.

Those of you who are getting all indignant at tbrosz': I know, I know, it's annoying as hell to witness his combo of cluelessness and arrogance (either is tolerable on its own, but together they're deadly). But consider the unmistakable stench of desperation that's coming off all of his posts lately. All the things he took for granted are flying apart at the seams, he's powerless to stop it and it's making him patently nervous.

Embrace the spectacle...and enjoy it.

Posted by: shortstop on January 30, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"tbrosz just loves those straw man arguments. But it's pretty pathetic that he has to resort to such dishonesty to defend the Bush Administration's medacity, incompetence and corruption. (Of course, it's nigh-impossible to honestly defend it, but that's tbrosz' problem, not ours, and no one says he has to try.)"

-but he wasn't defending anything about Bush in his posts on this thread. You are in some sense right that that's a general position of his, but what he was saying was that, this late in a two term president's tenure in office, no one really thinks they're going to get anything new or important in a SOTU address. This seems really reasonable to me,and it doesn't interfere with the pleasure I take in this syndrome catching up with Bush.

Whatever tbrosz's intentions here, a caution to not over-read this as too Bush specific is not a bad idea. I probably sound like a broken record here, jumping in and defending the t-man, but I hate it when people I agree with seem more unreasonable (or at least more interested in arguing than discussing)than people I disagree with.

Posted by: URK on January 30, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with tbrosz's point... except that apples were compared to oranges.

The correct comparison would be Clinton data from 97 and 98, not 99 and 2000. 99 and 2000 were his last two years when he was a very lame duck.

Or, we can wait for the next two Bush state of the union addresses to complete this exciting 'Abstract Analysis'.

Posted by: little ole jim from red state on January 30, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Pretty good talk for someone caught making shit up, and unable to defend it.

You would know all about making shit up. Like the meme that the Abramoff scandal is bipartisan. Yet another conspiracy nut special lie.

from Josh Marshall (backed up by an independent review of tribal donations): The truth is that only idiots and liars (actually, I guess the liars 'say' but don't 'believe') think the Abramoff operation was really bipartisan in any meaningful sense.

Check the next post down, you'll find that I can defend what I write.

No, you just link to other liars.

But don't worry about holding yourself to my high standards.

If my standards were as high as yours, they'd be below Chalabi's and Saddam's, both of whom you supported before you didn't.

If you started worrying about the truth, you wouldn't be voting Dem.

I sure wouldn't be voting for the confirmed liars in the GOP!

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Atrios has the latest NYT article showing what Bush is going to talk about, whereby Bush says he's going to fix the deficit by make more of the nations elderly and the nations poorest children go without health care - it doesn't fix the health care crisis - nope, just sticks it the states to raise taxes to make up for what Bush doesn't want the feds covering anymore. Todays taxpayer money belongs only to Bush's campaign contributors.

IN fact the House GOP already passed this non-compassionate conservative bill - no mess from bloggers like time with the SS bill which got out to the public before its time, thus it was trashed by bloggers everywhere before Bush could say one misleading word about it - if only we dumb, stupid Americans didn't know what Bush was up too back then - oh the things Bush could have done to us.

Bush is going tell the John Q. Public that Dems like spending money for entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare and they dont want to fix the deficit. You just watch.

Never mind that Bush didn't veto a single bill while he was Preznit and that he never saw an up-bid contract he didn't just love giving away billions of dollars of hard earn taxpayer money too.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 30, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

As a member in good standing of the Federated Society of Windhorses
First, my apologies; I was unaware that windhorses were mythological beasts. (And I've just Googled, and I'm still unaware). But best of luck on the FSW, and I will try to contain my references to mythological beasts in the future.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I keep watching every year, just on the hope that the teleprompter will go out on him and he'll be forced to wing it. Lord, that would make the entire presidency worthwhile.

Posted by: Otto Man on January 30, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Otto Man: Heh. Gosh, I hate to bring up a Clinton comparison, since tbrosz holds the patent on that, but remember when Clinton's teleprompter DID go out, he DID wing it, and he sounded, you know, intelligent, cohesive and articulate?

Don't recall if that was a SOTU address or another major speech, but it was pretty impressive. I too would like to give Smirky a chance to duplicate this achievement.

Posted by: shortstop on January 30, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm going to be wincing bigtime at all the references to alternative energy development ...

Good grief -- Bush's vision of a hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen cracked in oil refineries, naturally.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 30, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

One does not consign a windhorse to the glue factory, people...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Only a masochist could prop him/herself in front of the tube to listen to the blathering halfwit. What is to hear, for God's sake? Another "proposal" to colonise Mars? Count the "standing O's" he'll get from lapdog Congresspeople? Listen to cablenews bloviators "analyse" the speech, with roughly 4:1 Repub/Dem commentator division, followed by the usual MSM rubbish about "pop in the polls", for God's sake. Enough, already, this shite is pure theatre, and should be reviewed as such.

Posted by: barrisj on January 30, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: All the things [tbrosz] took for granted are flying apart at the seams, he's powerless to stop it and it's making him patently nervous.

Of course...if the GOP leaves power, it's bye-bye tax cuts.

Embrace the spectacle...and enjoy it.

Oh, I am. But I don't enjoy seeing someone whose intelligence I respect debase himself in the name of carrying water for the GOP. Unlike many of our favorite trolls, tbrosz has shown that he can debate honestly. It's just that so often he chooses not to.

Truly, one of the saddest things about the last five years is seeing how low people whose opinions I could respect have had to sink in defending the mendacity, incompetence and corrution of the Bush Administraion. We need an honest conservative movement in this country as a check on liberalism's excesses (and vice versa, of course). It's a shame the Republicans have abandoned that role.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

but he wasn't defending anything about Bush in his posts on this thread. You are in some sense right that that's a general position of his

URK, you're right, that wasn't his point in this thread, so even though he frequently uses straw men to defend the GOP, he didn't do so here, and I should have made that more clear.

Not that makes his use of straw men any less annoying, of course.

I hate it when people I agree with seem more unreasonable (or at least more interested in arguing than discussing)than people I disagree with.

I stand corrected that I should have made clear that my criticism of this statement was due to its being a straw man alone, not that it was a defense of Bush as his straw men often are. But I think I've made the case that tbrosz is not, in fact, reasonable, given that he resorts to intellectual dishonesty so often. In doing so, he offers as much insult and contempt as the worst of Patton's spittle-flecked rants; just in a less overtly objectionable style.

And let's not forget tbrosz accused Bush's critics here of rooting for America to fail in Iraq -- and then, when challenged, failed to offer up a single post as an example, huffing instead that it was "obvious." If he has ever acknowledged his error there, let alone apologized, I'm unaware of it. I could hardly call such an individual reasonable.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to a movie. And, should those plans change for some reason, I have a lot of movies on tape that I can watch. W is just a propaganda machine with no human qualities whatsoever.

Posted by: Mazurka on January 30, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how the graph would look if you contrasted "less" vs. "more/same".

Posted by: contentious on January 30, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

(Other policies had mixed results or, like Social Security reform, went nowhere.)

I suppose describing his prescription drug program as having "mixed results" is about as nice as you can possibly put it.

Posted by: Ringo on January 30, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Hmmm, haven't see Rasmussen have you? Kerry gets hisself back in the news and Bush's ratings go up.

That's cute.

Once the Democrats read their "response" on tv, viewers will think Bush was a genius. But then, the "response" is less important year by year, and even fewer people watch it.

From 2000 to 2004, Bush's share of the vote increased in 45 of 50 states, including Massachusetts. There are still Democrats who fail to understand that, in order to defeat the Republicans they need to run better alternatives.

Theat reminds me -- Democrats are still threatining to filibuster, so there will have to be a cloture vote. Bush will be delivering his SOTU right after his convincing victory in getting Samual Alito confirmed. He couldn't have done better had he planned it that way. You'd almost think that all those Senate Democrats were Ksrl Rove's puppets or something.

Posted by: contentious on January 30, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Bush will be delivering his SOTU right after his convincing victory in getting Samual Alito confirmed.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........

Posted by: American People on January 30, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory
-Right, I think we're mostly in agreement here, but just to be clear: I didn't say tbrosz was reasonable, I said he was being reasonable on this thread. Often he's not, but it really seems that it's bad argument to say "well he's wrong about those things, so his point about this thing must be wrong too." tbrosz's attitude and posture make him hard to take sometimes, and sometimes he is unreasonable, but some of the things you're reacting to here might have come from the fake tbrosz. Always check the email adress, since at least whoever is doing that has the honor to use a fake one. The ease with which people here can pose as each other makes ongoing personality fights seem less fruitful to me than actually engaging with what is being said in a particular post.


In this case I think he made a valuable point: this drop in interest in the SOTU might have as much relation to the time of Bush's tenure in office as it does to a general disgust with bush's policies. The fact that we (well I anyway) would rather believe the latter than the former makes it all the more valuable that someone suggests the former. As someone pointed out upstream, what tbrosz's stats actually show is just how much 9/11 pumped up interest in what Bush ws going to say and do. Now it looks like the coattails of 9/11 are finally (to mix metaphors egregiously) running out of gas for Bush.

I also believe tbrosz here when he says that he could as well have gone to Reagan for the comparison, that the point was about two-term presidents, not about linking Bush and Clinton. it's kind of ironic that we've gotten so used to reacting to trolls use of clinton to defend Bush that we assume that that's the only way someone who genrally disagrees with us can even mention clinton's name.

Posted by: URK on January 30, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I also believe tbrosz here when he says that he could as well have gone to Reagan for the comparison

yeah, sure he could have, but he didn't because he's a partisan hack who claims to be some sort of honest libertarian/independent/whatever. But he's not, because the honest libertarians, independents and conservatives don't spend the vast majority of their time defending Bush and trying to create various bullshit equivalencies with Clinton.

Posted by: haha on January 30, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

jim:

I have no problem with tbrosz's point... except that apples were compared to oranges.

The correct comparison would be Clinton data from 97 and 98, not 99 and 2000. 99 and 2000 were his last two years when he was a very lame duck.

You're correct on that of course. I spent some time trying to locate earlier Pew polls that asked that specific question, or polls from other companies, but couldn't find them. This is why I qualified my statement:

While I don't have earlier numbers, I suspect that a chart of Clinton's, or even Reagan's "important speech" percentages would look almost exactly the same over eight years as the one Kevin posted.

"Suspect" has an exact meaning, but you'd have to admit it isn't much of a stretch to assume that a president's state of the union speech would, all else being equal, tend to be less interesting as terms go on. If we eventually find that Bush's numbers in the last two years pretty much match Clinton's, it would tend to prove my point a bit further, but as you say, numbers all down both terms would have to be found to nail it down. Even then, only general trends would show.

You can run a quick check on this idea by asking a liberal if Clinton's low numbers in the last two terms were because he was boring, and "reciting the same old stuff," or just because it was late in his administration. See what you get for an answer.

On the other hand, the combining of "less and same" by the graph artist was deliberate, and intended to produce exactly the visual that got Kevin to post it.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 30, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

it really seems that it's bad argument to say "well he's wrong about those things, so his point about this thing must be wrong too."

Again, that isn't my argument. My argument is that tbrosz is serially dishonest to the point that, while anyone is welcome to take him seriously when he chooses to debate honestly, he isn't entitled to any credibiliy or presumption of reasonableness. To do so, in my view, gives him a free pass on the bullshit he posts the rest of the time.

Whether tbrosz is right or wrong in this thread is irrelevant. What matters is that he insults this forum with his dishonesty, and so if fully entitled to be ignored even when he decides to make a reasonable post. That's a shame, of course, but no one makes him post his bullshit but himself.

If tbrosz stopped the dishonesty, and apologized for his past misbehavior, I'd have no problem with him. I might as well wish for a pony.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

My argument is that tbrosz is serially dishonest to the point that, while anyone is welcome to take him seriously when he chooses to debate honestly, he isn't entitled to any credibiliy or presumption of reasonableness. To do so, in my view, gives him a free pass on the bullshit he posts the rest of the time.

Bingo. I'm truly amazed that anyone but newbies fall for the act.

Posted by: haha on January 30, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

"On the other hand, the combining of "less and same" by the graph artist was deliberate, and intended to produce exactly the visual that got Kevin to post it."-tbrosz

-and you know this how? oh, because it's all part of the mainstream media conspiracy to make Bush look bad? Like he needs help? You were making good points earlier, but here I think you're blowing hot air. You might argue reasonably that kevin chose the graph because of the point that it makes, but I really doubt that it was engineered just to make that point.

Some of the lack of interest in the SOTU probably does stem from general 2nd term boredom. But some of it is almost certainly related to Bush's unvarying rhetoric in the face of reality (see especially Iraq victory rhetoric vs mounting casualties) and his continued devotion to political causes that put him at odds with many americans, like dismantling social security, or mobilizing the entire federal gvt. to interfere in the Schiavo affair. I think that it's pretty obvious that people are becomeing disenchanted with this President, but I also don't think that this graph alone proves that.


"Whether tbrosz is right or wrong in this thread is irrelevant. What matters is that he insults this forum with his dishonesty, and so if fully entitled to be ignored even when he decides to make a reasonable post." -Gregory

Well then ignore him Gregory, whatever. Just don't respond to him with an attack which ignores what he's actually saying in this thread. That kind of personality driven attack really just makes him look better. How much more honest is that than the stuff you're accusing him of?

Posted by: URK on January 30, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Just don't respond to him with an attack which ignores what he's actually saying in this thread.

URK, I said I could have been more clear that this particular straw man wasn't in defense of the Bush Administration, but a straw man it was. Pointing out tbrosz' serial dishonesty may be a "personality driven attack," but my point is that it's his very dishonesty that robs him of the credibility he might otherwise have. That's his problem, not mine.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

How much more honest is that than the stuff you're accusing him of?
Gregory and his ilk are working hard to drive off all opposition. It ruins their echo chamber.

Here's a hint in my case Gregory: large amounts of cash money will do it.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK
The same survey (page 21) also gave Clinton's numbers for 1999 and 2000

Both of which were after the last midterm election during his final term, and thus, as much as a SOTU can be, clearly in the lame duck period of the Clinton presidency.

If you were comparing them to Bush's 2007 and 2008 SOTU numbers, that might be meaningful.

But it wouldn't be tbrosz if the argument wasn't limited to a handwaving assumption presented with, at best, tangentially relevant data.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Reportedly Bush's speech will dwell on his plans to use the power of the federal government to further enrich his already ultra-rich cronies and financial backers in the fossil fuel industry, thereby driving America down the road to economic ruin and the Earth down the road to global warming driven ecological holocaust. He won't put it in quite those words, however.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory and his ilk are working hard to drive off all opposition. It ruins their echo chamber.

c.n. is dishonest as always. I can't speak for my "ilk," but opposition is one thing; the constant bullshit posted by tbrosz, c.n., rdw and others -- in the name of "breaking up the echo chamber;" I just love that excuse for serial dishonesty -- is quite another.

I welcome honest conservatives. As I say in this very thread, we need an honest conservative movement to check the natural excesses of liberalism, and vice versa. The problem is, since honest conservatives have no place in the GOP, they seem to be a vanishing breed.

I challenge c.n. to either cite one post of mine that's aimed at driving off opposition as opposed to simply calling someone on their dishonesty, or admit he was wrong and withdraw the statement.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Or, of course, c.n. could admit that there's no honest means of defending the Bush Administration's mendacity, incompetence and corruption. I'd settle for that.

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Gregory and his ilk are working hard to drive off all opposition. It ruins their echo chamber.

Bush and his ilk have worked consistently hard to drive off all opposition through the use of intimidation, defamation, and obsfucation.

It ruins Bush's echo chamber.

Like a loyal lemming, conspiracy nut ignores the overwhelming evidence for that and other Bush weaknesses and like a lemming walks over the cliff, all the while proclaiming Bush opponents are doing something for which there is no evidence.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 30, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

I challenge c.n. to either cite one post of mine that's aimed at driving off opposition as opposed to simply calling someone on their dishonesty
How about this one: Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 3:44 PM

Whether tbrosz is right or wrong in this thread is irrelevant.
Honest or dishonest, you're gonna shit all over him. Any other questions?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 30, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Clark has a terrific "The Real State of the Union Address 2006" that he made to a group today. It's posted on his website www.securingamerica.com for anyone who's interested. In addition to listing all of the things this Administration has done wrong, it also lays out a plan for what we need to do to get things right for Americans in the 21st century.

Posted by: ctherineD on January 30, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Clark made a terrific speech today called The Real State of the Union 2006 which is posted over at his website -- securingamerica.com -- for those who are interested. In addition to listing all of the things this Administration has done wrong, it goes on to provide a detailed plan for what we need to do to make things right for the 21st century.

Posted by: catherineD on January 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'd appreciate it if all conservatives who write on this site not refer to Clinton as a liberal. As a liberal myself I consider that an insult. It just goes to show you how far right this country has tilted in the last 30 years when Bill Clinton is considered a liberal.

Posted by: Lew on January 30, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Honest or dishonest, you're gonna shit all over him. Any other questions?

That's a piss-poor example, c.n., because -- as you yourself admit in the other thread -- bad behavior can justly ruin your credibility for serious discussion. Which is, of course what all of this is about: That tbrosz has been so dishonest as to not deserve serious consideration.

Second of all, as I pointed out, he was throwing out yet another straw man. There's no "honest or dishonest" about tbrosz' post; it was purely dishonest, and he deserves the criticism he gets.

And even if that weren't all true, it's hardly a statement that can be described as "working hard to drive off all opposition." tbrosza has already abundantly demonstrated that he has no shame. Why should you imagine being called on his dishonesty yet again would faze him? It never bothers you, after all.

Even for someone with your famously low standards of honesty, c.n., your example fails, and my challenge stands. Care to try again?

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I hereby disown the use of my remarks by conspiracy nut. I mean please: tbrosz can be a pain in the ass (likely aspires to be)but here, as usual, CN is just an ass.

On the other hand Gregory, if you really think that disinterest in this years SOTU has nothing to do with the timing, 5 years into Bush's presidency, then I think you're fooling yourself a little. The fact that you're discounting this idea because it came from tbrosz (or at least using that fact as an argument for discounting it) just seems silly to me. You keep saying it's "a strawman" and I'm not sure what you mean. -if you go back to his first two posts and subtract the OTT smart-ass one liners at the bottom, I don't see a strawman. what I see, at least tha's useful there, is a caution to not take that chart that Kevin put up as the absolute word from the street that everybody is over Bush. Dicely is right, above, that it's not a perfect analogy & tbrosz no doubt makes to much of it, but I think you're willfully ignoring a useful caution because you're personally mad at some dude you've never even met over his previous posts on a site you both frequent.

Anyway, I've probably made far too much of this myself. But there are a few things that really push my buttons around here-one is trashing Kevin for being insufficiently pure in his liberality, the other is arguing with tbrosz in such a way that he comes off loking like the great burster of liberal baloons that he thinks he is.

Posted by: URK on January 30, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who drops a glass of water on Cheney is on the next plane to Gitmo and they ain't comin back.
Posted by: Michael7843853

I had an Oz moment as I read this...Cheney: "I'm mellltttiiiiiinnngg!"

Was it good for you, too?

Posted by: CFShep on January 31, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

URK: if you really think that disinterest in this years SOTU has nothing to do with the timing, 5 years into Bush's presidency, then I think you're fooling yourself a little.

Good Ford, in what way do I even imply that I think such a thing? Refusing to debate tbrosz is by no means an implication that I agreeor disagree with him -- simply that his behavior renders him unworthy of consideration.

(And by the way, why are you so quick to throw out his smart-ass one-liners? It's precisely there that he delivers his straw men and offers insult along with his opinion. He does likely aspire to be a pain in the ass. Why be so quick to give someone who habitually argues like that any benefit of the doubt?)

The fact that you're discounting this idea because it came from tbrosz (or at least using that fact as an argument for discounting it) just seems silly to me

I'm not discounting the idea at all. I'm discounting the notion that, because tbrosz occasionally chooses to abandon his usual bullshit and debate seriously, he should be given a pass on the bullshit he usually posts.

For the record, his comment that I identified, correctly, as a straw man was "My point is that anyone who thinks history suddenly started in January of 2001 hasn't been paying attention."

tbrosz loves to use that argument, or variations of it (for example, he accuses critics of Republican corruption of believing that Democrats are pure as newfallen snow, or that critics of Rove's loathsome tactics think the GOP invented hardball politics).

tbrosz threw out this straw man in support of his previous post. Now, you can think what you want, URK, but in my book anyone who has to resort to such dishonesty simply isn't expressing an opinion worth considering, and is demonstrating sufficient discourtesy as to forefeit any expectation of courtesy.

That's what I called tbrosz on, URK. I'll thank you not to put words in my mouth. Let's leave that deplorable little rhetorical trick to trolls like conspiracy nut, shall we?

the other is arguing with tbrosz in such a way that he comes off loking like the great burster of liberal baloons that he thinks he is

I for one don't see how pointing out that tbrosz frequently resorts to intellectual dishonesty in his posts elevates him to the level of a "great burster of liberal balloons." Resorting to straw men and dishonest rephrasing of one's opponent's statements is a tacit admission that one's own position is weak, that tbrosz isn't capable of bursting any balloons with his dull little rhetorical tools.

Posted by: Gregory on January 31, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

I made a point here that I think backs you up:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_01/008108.php#811579

Arguing with tbrosz or C-Nut or whoever is just good fun and sometimes you win, other times you just wipe their ass up and down the thread and leave them screaming for relief.

I don't think you learn anything unless you have a disagreement with someone who agrees with you on most other issues. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

act, edu, singer

Posted by: fdfd434 on January 31, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Just add Dave Chappelle for a Comedy Channel special

Posted by: sticky on January 31, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

bush is a real moron wtf was that BS about stem cell research? are you kidding me how can you say you want to educate the youth in math and science and completely disregard research conducted by SCIENTISTS and doctors that could potentially cure diseases etc that were untreatable. the US is run by idiots :*(

Posted by: Andy on February 1, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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