Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THEMATIC AND VISIONARY....Former Bill Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet sticks his finger in the air and takes a guess at the subject of George Bush's State of the Union address tomorrow:

Sure, his staff has been using words like "thematic" and "visionary" to describe the speech....But, beneath some idealistic and futuristic rhetoric, Bush's theme may well be that he's right and his critics are wrong; and his vision may well be of a year of partisan trench warfare with congressional Democrats.

Sounds about right to me.

Kevin Drum 9:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (64)

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Comments

What flavor of lies would you like?

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't get it. Who the hell supports this guy?

Posted by: geography lady on January 30, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

DID HE WRITE A SPEECH ABOUT CLINTON GETTING ORAL IN THE OVAL OFFICE??????

Posted by: Patton on January 30, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

An easy guess. This White House is like Scientology: Always attack. Never defend.

Posted by: Pat on January 30, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

...his vision may well be of a year of partisan trench warfare with congressional Democrats.

Well, the Democrats certainly reassured him today that this strategy will pay off handsomely for the Republicans.

--
HRlaughed
rktect.blogspot.com

Posted by: HRlaughed (formerly The Dad) on January 30, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

...his vision may well be of a year of partisan trench warfare with congressional Democrats.

Bush as Field Marshall Haig? Or Lord Kitchener?

The mind doesn't boggle very much at all.

Posted by: floopmeister on January 30, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I let my hemorrhoids do the typing for me and don't realize that friends are listening. I really have to say that my only objection to mathematics is that I can't remember it ten minutes after I last desperately needed to. There's probably no capability I miss more in myself or would add before it if I could just take a pill.

People who can do math well always seem to me deeply mystifying, and they always seem to be equally baffled by me, so I will often find in conversations we go completely past one another without even noticing until someone sees the other is looking perfectly blank and, to me anyway, plainly wants to blurt out at length how uninteresting that all was.

I have now and then asked a math-minded individual to explain what they were thinking and how they got to thinking that, and they have gamely tried to explain but it quickly comes to be a point where they simply can't, and I have had the same experience when trying to describe how I have thought of something to them, "And --it just is like that, you see. . ." and we all nod politely.

Posted by: cld on January 30, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush as Field Marshall Haig? Or Lord Kitchener?"

Heavens, no, he's Wilhelm II!

Posted by: cld on January 30, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

A carrot is as close as a rabbit ever gets to a diamond.

Posted by: Capt. Beefheart on January 30, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

floop!

He'll have them crown him Emperor and then he'll start picking Popes!

Oh, it'll be a laugh riot.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house." Robert A. Heinlein


Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect he'll boast about having the priviledge of presiding over the decline of the American Empire.

Posted by: and that's not meant as an insult! on January 30, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

America is like a woman with self respect having a a short fling with a sleazeball with a wallet.

We will really regret this someday. Which is why I predict that in one or two years after Bush leaves (*) his name will vanish from the political landscape. No one will want to remember.

Only Al and Patton will still be proud and unapologetic.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Tonight I light a candle against the darkness...

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on January 30, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

The word Bush used to describe his speech is "upbeat" -- and it will focus on Iran.

Look for the line: "Iran had better get in line, or they's gonna get up-beat."

Posted by: Grumpy on January 30, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Darryl Pearce: Better to light one Molotov Cocktail than to sit and curse the darkness

Posted by: murmeister on January 30, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

He'll have them crown him Emperor and then he'll start picking Popes!

Yes, but in the end a Pope will make him wait in the snow outside his castle for three days, no?

I'm saving my popcorn for Bush's visit to Canossa...

Posted by: floopmeister on January 30, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, but in the end a Pope will make him wait in the snow outside his castle for three days, no?

Ah, Papal intrigue and the State of the Union address. Will he turn and bless Hastert? Will he give a shout out to his peeps down in Tejas? Will he glance awkwardly to his left and make the sign of the AntiChrist at the stolid visage of Russel Feingold?

Tune in tomorrow. And take a drink every time he brings up "9/11"

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

I figure he will hit mostly on these themes:

Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.

Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.

The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.

Obsession with national security.

With a hint of this:

Religion and ruling elite tied together.

Posted by: j swift on January 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Napoleon Bush will crown himself and name Cheney his new Pope. They can both breed a whole new bunch of Republican bastards.

Posted by: murmeister on January 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

OT: Did you know the Patriot Act authorized a new federal police force with scary arrest powers?

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."

See also this. Perhaps moderate, non-corrupt Dems could use the issues discussed at the last link to win elections.

Posted by: TLB on January 30, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

What's the suspense? He'll lecture us as if we're little children ('pass my budget! support my terrorism policy!'), smirk and work that jaw, and come up with at least one 'visionary' (expen$ive) program that'll never go anywhere, like the Mars expedition. "Vision"? What vision? This guy's barely coherent...

Posted by: Ida Fuchter on January 30, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's just as important to comment loudly on what he won't talk about. This President is for the first time speaking from a defensive position. So it will be good to see this play out this week.

Posted by: Poncho & Lefty on January 30, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

He won't talk about anything real. The things he says about real things will be themselves unreal.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bush as Field Marshall Haig? Or Lord Kitchener?

More like Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python Holy Grail.

Posted by: ckelly on January 30, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

You couldn't pay me enough to watch him. Unless it turned into a resignation speech.

Posted by: ckelly on January 30, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Poncho, it's better then his usual offensive self.

Can someone explain the wait outside for 3 days reference? I get the Napoleon crowning himself one but the other is too esoteric for my mtv lifestyle.

Posted by: D. on January 30, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

In January 1077, Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, went to Canossa, a castle in Italy where Pope Gregory VII was staying. He went to plead that his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church be rescinded. The Pope had him wait barefoot in the snow outside his castle for three days, and then admitted him and absolved him. Going to Canossa has become an expression to indicate that, after a political defeat, or in order to avoid a still worse defeat, one party to the conflict humiliates himself publicly and apologizes for his misdeeds.

http://fbc.binghamton.edu/66en.htm

Sorry - didn't mean to be obscure. Now you know how us history heads feel when people start discussing physics :)

Posted by: floopmeister on January 30, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Our President will review the successes of the previous year, and lay out his course for the remaining years of his tenure, including the ones after 2008 when he declares himself President-for-Life and Fhrer of the Americas.

Liberals will admit defeat and leave for Davos.

Posted by: The Actual, No Shit, Seriously It's Al, Al on January 30, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

None of that matters. It will be Kennedy's fault for looking grumpy when Bush says divisive things.

The media will focus on questions like: Will Alito's wife be on the right or the left side of Mrs. Bush? Is she crying tears of joy?

Posted by: B on January 30, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Joey G wrote:

>What flavor of lies would you like?

Howse about 'sour grape'?

Posted by: parrot on January 30, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mr.Bush will advise us to take the red pill or the blue pill.

Posted by: Neo on January 30, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush's theme may well be that he's right and his critics are wrong"

Same old propaganda, eh ?
.

Posted by: VJ on January 31, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

"Howse about 'sour grape'?

Nah. too tootie-fruity.

I prefer my Lord Bush with plenty of optimistic truculence.

More like sour apple.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 31, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe he'll busily pat himself on the back for "bold new initiatives" ; you know, Medicare Part "D", controlling nuclear proliferation, federal police guarding against foreign incursions at borders or embassies, etc.
I don't have a link primer, wouldn't mind finding out how.
Good snark - becomingrepublican.swf(application/xshockwaveflash Object)

Posted by: opit on January 31, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Bush will proclaim how the December elections in Iraq have turned it into a serene outpost of democracy and peace in the region, resplendent with completed reconstruction projects and replete with jobs, abundant power, and clean water?

Or rather than removing all doubt perhaps he'll just remain silent on the issue and appear the fool.

Posted by: trex on January 31, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

America has become a country that is all about winning. That's all that matters. from childhood on, from Little League, winning the girl/guy to beating State, it's all about winning. And the winner IS always right. Face it. Bush has been right so far, if by right you mean that he is all about winnning, and nothing about the game itself.

Posted by: Chris on January 31, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but will he wear a codpiece while delivering it?

Posted by: craigie on January 31, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, he will.


And it will arrive a full 30 seconds before he does.

Mission Accomplished.

Posted by: jcricket on January 31, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's going to be the Special Olympics, Presidential Edition, tomorrow. Lately, Presient Bush has been feeling down on himself: he can't ride a bike without hitting something, brush-clearing season is long gone, and people keep saying *cough* Nixon *cough* when he walks by open doors.

Unscreened public audiences have been tough. Even the attempted layup in Kansas didn't work, when he was ambushed by a couple of actual, fact-based questions. (And one really hysterical immigrant.)

So, Congress needs to raise our little monkey's self esteem and help him feel better about himself. There will be plenty of thunderous ovations, lots of back pounding, and the senators who will diplomatically decline to have him visit their state later this year will beam at him like he's their prom date.

The speech will help George feel good about himself. He will use tough words about those nasty, obstructionist Democrats, and it will feel great, just like he was in a real fight with real terrorists or maybe even like talking policy with those real smart people like Rice or Wolfowitz or the Man in the Yellow Hat.

Afterwards, though, he'll have to go back by himself to his room. He'll sit on his bed, and think of himself as the worst president in the history of the United States. That part will be a little sad. But then he can go to sleep and dream he's an astronaut!

Posted by: travis on January 31, 2006 at 5:13 AM | PERMALINK

oh another visionary speech that little if nothing to do with real life while hating Dems.

Same ole, same ole speech again.

If only Karl Rove had any other ideas to sell. If only Dems would act like they had any other meaning but sit there and be spit upon by Dubya. They'll do their customary act of the losers ever time Bush gives his SOTU speech.

Hold your head down Reid - its the part you were shamefully always going to play in your career as worthless Democratic politician/non-leader.

At least this year, we viewers know why Reid isn't speaking afterwards - to ashamed to say a word or even try to make eye contact with TV camera.

Different Democratic congress members please.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 31, 2006 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

He'll mention 9-11 about 42 times, repeat the lie that Saddam Hussein wouldn't agree to UN inspections (a demonstrable lie), say the world is better off without him and begin beating the drum to do the same to Iran.

Some crowing about the economy (as if you can borrow your way to real prosperity) and use the words "terror" and "terrorism" 89 times.

Same shit, different day...Z-z-z-z-zzzz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 31, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the theme of the speech will be Mission Accomplished!

Just pick a topic. Damn speech writes itself.

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

I'm sure we'll hear all kinds of praise for the late Coretta Scott King, and then they'll point to ScAlito in the front row and give a big wink-wink and nudge-nudge and start planning on how they can roll back more affirmative action.

How ironic is it that on the day that someone who's life's work has been human rights and equality passes away that a clown like ScAlito can take what should have been the Harriet Miers seat on the Supreme Court?

This is how far this country has fallen from decency and integrity.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Tune in tomorrow. And take a drink every time he brings up "9/11" Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

He'll mention 9-11 about 42 times, Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 31, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like I'll be calling in sick on Wednesday.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 31, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Chris said:

"America has become a country that is all about winning. That's all that matters. from childhood on, from Little League, winning the girl/guy to beating State, it's all about winning. And the winner IS always right. Face it. Bush has been right so far, if by right you mean that he is all about winnning, and nothing about the game itself."

Power is everything. The Repubs have the power, therefore what they say and do is to be accepted.

It is a complete perversion of political principles.

Fascism, actually.

Do we all realize that this is what "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" have dwindled to?

This will persist until the election process is cleansed - before, during and after the ballot box.

I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: JB (not the U.N. John Bolton) on January 31, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Geography Lady asks, very reasonably, "Who supports this guy?"

Here's one answer I tagged on to another thread:

What excites Southern redneck culture-and we see this expressed in the posts of our very own trolls-is anger. They're pissed and the pubs are pissed, so the redneck (and they're not all in trailers, not by a long shot) feels a connection with the pubs. Toss in the eerie fake machismo of Bush, and the neck is a lock for the GOP.

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 31, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

E Henry,

This school is all over it!

UMass Imposes More Drinking Restrictions

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - No more drinking games at the University of Massachusetts. The school is cracking down on alcohol abuse on the Amherst campus with a list of new rules that go into effect this semester.

Along with banning games meant to get players drunk as quickly as possible, the rules include prohibitions on taps and funnels and large gatherings where more than 10 people are in a dormitory room with alcohol.

There will also be fewer bottles of beer lined up on the dorm room walls. Students who are 21 or older will be allowed to keep no more than 12 bottles or cans of beer, two bottles of wine or one bottle of hard liquor.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, I suspect Bush's minions have been scouring the turd that was 2005 looking for the raisins Bush can hold up while we all "ooh" and "ahh" like it is the bicentenial fireworks all over again.

Here are the raisins I think y'all have missed:

The War of Drugs (remember that one) is going GREAT. They recently closed down that huge tunnel from Mexico. America will be free from Pot real soon now!

The economy simply couldn't be better. The unemployment rate is very low thanks to all the wonderful new jobs Wal-Mart has created. Remember, a brain surgeon working at Wal-Mart still has a job!

Medicare reform is excellent. Millions of seniors are now getting a new drug benefit they never had before, and we are quickly repairing the tiny startup problems we've been having.

Ford is freeing up thousands of workers to pursue their dreams of working in another field. Wal-Mart associate, anyone?

We are decreasing our foreign energy dependance by opening up huge coal fields in Wyoming using a new technology that will eliminate the recent mine tragedies. There will be no trapped miners in strip mines!

Posted by: Tripp on January 31, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

It will be a load of crap and probably the least-watched State of the Union address in TV history.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 31, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush. Hm, something familiar about that name. Didn't he used to be President or something? Whatever happened to him?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 31, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

OT: Did you know the Patriot Act authorized a new federal police force with scary arrest powers?

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."

Those are pretty much the same arrest powers as any general purpose police agency, only restricted to federal offenses. I don't see how they qualify as "scary".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

The entire Democratic section should stand up the same time and pelt the criminal with rotten eggs and tomatoes!! F*ck the Repubs - this is war!!!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 31, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know where travis came from, but I hope he's here to stay. That is some funny shit.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

But, beneath some idealistic and futuristic rhetoric, Bush's theme may well be that he's right and his critics are wrong; and his vision may well be of a year of partisan trench warfare with congressional Democrats.

His agenda follows from his ideals and vision of the future, and he intends to push his agenda in the Congress. Pushing his agenda is his job.

Right now, after some setbacks in 2005, his approval ratings closely match his share of the vote in 2004. He was sagging until the Democrats chose to fight the Alito nomination.

I predict that the Democrats will not benefit from their year of partisan trench warfare against the president.

Posted by: contentious on January 31, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

'His agenda follows from his ideals and vision of the future, and he intends to push his agenda in the Congress. Pushing his agenda is his job'

His agenda? So, bankrupting the U.S., polluting the planet, killing thousands of innocent people and alienating 90% of the world "follows from his ideals"? What a crock! How blind are you?

And 'pushing his agenda' is not his job. Of course, since the twit has never held a real job, I can see why he is confused. No, his "job" is protecting the "common good" and he is failing, miserably and contemptibly at "his job".....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 31, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

How can you tell when contentious is lying?

He posts something!

Note how he manages to slip in the assumptions that Bush has ideals and a vision of the future, and that Democrats have been waging "partisan trench warfare".

What a crock!

But the laughably falsifiable part is, of course, [Bush's] approval ratings closely match his share of the vote in 2004.

Oh really?

Man, if Bush had gotten 41% of the vote in 2004, this country would have some honest leadership right now!

The State of the Union would probably still be a snoozer, though.

Posted by: S Ra on January 31, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

.

after some setbacks in 2005 = more dead americans

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 31, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Pale:

On the drinking theme, check the State of the Union drinking game here.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on January 31, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

On the drinking theme, check the State of the Union drinking game

Im akll la

im alreddy

drunk,.......

hee hee hee!

l;gf poladsfjjbkjbaskjnb kfhndfihj djfh

[hic!]
l'

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Walter, quit using Pale Rider's handle. Or is that you, Mike K?

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.

Oh, and did I mention 9/11?"

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 31, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Walter, quit using Pale Rider's handle. Or is that you, Mike K?

No,


that were me

Im drunk


[hic!]

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Those are pretty much the same arrest powers as any general purpose police agency, only restricted to federal offenses. I don't see how they qualify as "scary"."

The language I saw was "any offense against the United States". Of course I am not sure which is the correct now.

Posted by: j swift on January 31, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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