Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The lame duck quacks

Finally, George W. Bush gives his last-ever State of the Union address. And, as always with this administration, my visceral reaction to the SOTU was, "STFU." Still, after eight of these babies, I may grow to miss the sheer morbidity of watching America's least-articulate president this side of Calvin Coolidge spout unconvincing lies year after year.

As with every major Bush speech, I inevitably took page upon page of notes for this blog. I tried not to do it; but mere minutes into Bush's spiel, I found myself instinctively reaching for the pen and pad. Call it a compulsion; such idiocy deserves intricate documentation/derision. Here now is my State of the Union notebook:

--Dick Cheney's undisclosed location apparently contains one hell of a tanning bed. And when did Carol Burnett become Speaker of the House?

--Bush just came thisclose to saying, "Git-R-Done." It seemed deliberate.

--Did he really say he still had "a charge to keep?" I wasn't aware that it was 2000 again. No wonder it feels like my concussion came back.

--CNN sure is partial to panning across the right side of the gallery. Guess there's nothing to see on the left, what with them staying seated and stone silent and all.

--Bush blames "151 bloated social programs" for the economic nosedive, saying that such programs cost billions and allow the government to overstep their authoritative bounds. A few minutes later, he calls for Congress to fully fund the Iraq war. And No Child Left Behind. He also wants to double funding for scientists, as long as they research stem cells in a way that pleases Jesus. Another boondoggle in the burner includes a greater push for "charitable choice," so "armies of compassion can march" (presumably to the "front lines of need"). Well, thank God for all that! I'd hate to see a kid not go hungry while Blackwater holds a bake sale to buy a Hummer.

--Health care. Keep it confusing. Applause.

--He's also calling for the funding of "Pell grants for kids," which he says will help poor students get away from "ailing public schools." Because actually fixing our public schools is too much to ask of the government.

--Bush calls Colombia "a friend of America." He would know.

--In an indirect swipe at Bill Clinton, Bush says that anyone who wants to pay more taxes is welcome to do so, and that "The IRS accepts both checks and money orders." This is a good tip to remember for next year, when we all have to pay back the so-called "economic stimulus."

--Ah, the economic stimulus. Bush talks it up as the most important thing he'll do all year, and is something that needs to be passed RIGHT NOW, for the sake of our economic survival. Unless Congress even thinks about adding a single earmark, in which case he'll veto it. And, presumably, spank the Democrats and send them to bed without supper.

--Boy, is Bush pissed at Congress! This isn't so much a State of the Union address as it is a passive-aggressive father fussing at his son. He's admonishing the body for blocking his wretched judicial appointments; for inadequate funding of troops; for running "crippling deficits" (that's rich); and for not wanting to renew that wonderful wiretapping thing. When he warned them that the monitoring law was about to lapse, a single person clapped. Why the hell didn't everyone else?

--Dubya's main pet peeve is that Congress didn't jump on his two favorite bugaboos: entitlement spending (meaning, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) and immigration. He didn't outline any plan for saving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - and I don't blame him - but he did ask Congress to save them somehow. OK, then.

--At least Bush gave the government credit for one thing: not allowing any terrorist attacks since 9/11. That was nice of them.

--He says the U.S. can note a surplus as soon as 2012, if only we accelerate the tax policies that gave us a record deficit in the first place. What's that old saying about the definition of insanity?

--Fortunately, this speech wasn't held at Pee Wee's Playhouse. If Congress had to scream and ring bells every time Bush said "empower," they'd have been there all night.

--Wow! He just mentioned New Orleans! Woo-hoo! Sure, it was only to announce that some unrelated meeting's going to be there (and to score some cheap applause), but it's still one more reference than he made last year. Experts now predict that Bush could pay lip service to New Orleans as early as 2011.

--Even in his most petulant moments, Bush has been about as animated as Keanu Reeves under anesthesia. Then again, how many times can he get excited about a pledge to study alternative fuels? That must get old after the first few years. The audience was just as jaded, greeting the declaration with total silence. Bush then called for more coal and "nucular" power, which we can only hope was a desperate ad-lib.

--Of course, as soon as the topic turns to immigration and foreign policy, Bush lights up like...well, like he used to. He brags about how we've ended "catch and release," which I'd always assumed was more humane for the fish. Can't we just coexist peacefully?

--I'm pretty sure he just said, "building a prosperous future for our citizen." Which makes sense, if you think about it. "Terra...refuse to live in terra-ny" is a good one too. Mad malaprops to Bush! He's as bad at talking as Barack Obama isn't.

--"9/11...evil men...stay on the offense...deliver justice to our enemies..." So that's what it takes to get Cheney to rise!

--Why is Bush spouting off a bunch of Middle Eastern country names? That's confusing! Oh, right...

--Remember that whole "Stay the Course" thing? Well, Bush credits last year's turnaround (such as it was) to "a changed course." And by changed course, he means "work[ing] with the Iraqi forces to protect the Iraqi people." Which begs the question: what the hell were we doing before?

--"High profile" killings are down. But no word on "killings."

--More good news! Because of our success in Iraq, 20,000 troops are coming home! Of course, that's offset by the 3,200 Marines heading to Afghanistan. And the 140,000 troops not going anywhere. But, still, wheee!

--When issuing thanks to the troops and promising full funding for everything they need to get the undefined job done, Bush sounds about as sincere as an Extenze infomercial. But when talk turns to "De-Baathification" and telling the troops to "expect tough fighting ahead," Boy George can barely contain his enthusiasm. When he isn't doing his best Ronald Reagan-in-Berlin impression ("THIS ENEMY WILL BE DEFEATED!"), he's smirking and stifling laughs. The Republicans also get in on the act, yelling what sounds like, "HOO-AH!" It's like 2003 all over again. Which may explain why Bush suddenly segues into Iran and makes virtually the same case for war there as he did with Iraq. Well, anything to scare up some patriotism, right?

--Of course, Bush tells the people of Iran, "we have no quarrel with you." Just the government. Which the people of Iran would never rally around in the event of invasion. Naah. After all, everyone knows we're always right!

--If nothing else, making a shady case for war with Iran gives Bush an opportunity to remind us how well he can't say "nuclear." And that we're always ready to "defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf." Like a well-oiled machine!

--Sudan. Cuba. Zimbabwe. Belarus. Burma. Bush's speechwriter wants us to know he's aware these places exist.

--Allowing the transfer of soldiers' education credits to spouses and children sounds like a good idea, except for the obvious.

--Bush closes his swan SOTU by saying that "The Miracle of America" lies not with the government, but with "the spirit and determination of our people." After hearing this turd of a speech tonight, I'm convinced of that more than ever.


gg said...

The best part about this State of the Union? It is his last.

rhonda said...

i can't even watch...it's kind of like that car crash that you slow down and rubberneck to look at, but then you realize there are limbs, blood, and innards everywhere...its ugliness is initially intriguing, but ultimately just sickening.