As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, January 28, 2008

SOTU Preview

So here's Bush's last State Of The Union if you want it smirk-free. It's pretty much the same garbage, but a couple thoughts:

1) "Tax relief" is a pernicious term and the Democrats haven't found anything acceptable to counter it. I prefer "tax fairness," but that has yet to catch on (except with the FairTax people). It's something to think about.

2) The President actually admits that the Anbar Awakening had nothing to do with the surge:

The Iraqis launched a surge of their own. In the fall of 2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaida’s brutality and started a popular uprising called “The Anbar Awakening.” Over the past year, similar movements have spread across the country. And today, this grassroots surge includes more than 80,000 Iraqi citizens who are fighting the terrorists. The government in Baghdad has stepped forward as well — adding more than 100,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police during the past year.

The surge didn't begin until 2007. Points for honesty. Of course, what's dishonest is what's omitted - that we're paying these Sunnis not to kill us, and that the Iraqi government doesn't want any part of them in the security forces. Wonder if anyone will pick up on that.

3) Of course, he touted the de-Baathification law that was pushed by Sadrists and boyocotted by the Sunni parties. Points for honesty taken away!

4) Here's the part where he yells at Congress for not allowing him to destroy the Fourth Amendment. It's actually quite modest:

One of the most important tools we can give them is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, the Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, the Congress set the legislation to expire on February 1. This means that if you do not act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. The Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We have had ample time for debate. The time to act is now.

That whole "believed to have assisted" formulation is so Orwellian. But this is actually less threatening than I expected. Bush knows that Congress is actually pretty emboldened. Whether they'll follow through is anyone's guess.

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