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Mis-State of the Union

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

George W. Bush

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States (God help us all)

Well, as it turns out I did sit through it, and my pre-emptive strike was completely justified. (Although the same cannot be said for Mr. Bush.) The lies were transparent enough, but you can find a more detailed postmortem from TomPaine.com.

Some of my favorite moments:

  • President Bush has always had a bit of difficulty with the distinction between just ends and just means; last night he demonstrated it by broaching the topic of Iraq with the following winning call to bipartisan cooperation: Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. (!)
  • Key provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire next year. — at which an audible, though scattered, contingent of the Senate and Congress broke out in sweet, delightful, completely unscripted applause. The King’s Men tried to drown them out with their own coordinated roar (conveniently telegraphed by Mr. Vice President and Mr. Speaker, standing right behind the President), but the unexpected moment of defiance means a lot more than the scripted obeisance. Take hope!

Around the web, Tom Tomorrow points out the soft bigotry of diminished expectations:

Last year:

The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax — enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin — enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hadn’t accounted for that material. He’s given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

This year:

Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities…

And even Andrew Sullivan (for God’s sake!) hated the speech (albeit because he wanted more war, less domestic policy).

There is much more that needs to be said about the State of the Union, but it is all general remarks on what the speech has become, and the larger trend in cultural politics of which it is a part. I leave the work of a proper fisking of the speech to those who are more qualified than I.

In the meantime, note that President Bush’s job performance, rating according to Zogby.com, fell last week to 49% positive vs. 50% negative and 45% reported that they would vote for any Democrat over Bush vs. 41% for Bush. Here’s to the hope that when it comes to the Bush family, like father, like son is true in more than one way.

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  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    What you mean “We”?

    Here are the facts as we know them. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, and several other senior government officials in the U.S. and U.K. told us that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq had large stockpiles of…

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