I think Bush’s State of the Union was two speeches in one. In the first half, we got the domestic agenda and some foreign policy, spiced with a lot of new spending. I’m not ecstatic about a government-run prescription drug program, but some of the other new spending sounds okay. Oh yeah, except for the hydrogen car thing. Why federal spending on that? Haven’t automakers been pouring their money into it for years already? And on the AIDS drugs for Africa, I can picture some AIDS activists in this country complaining that if we’re going to be paying for AIDS drugs for Africans, then the federal government should buy AIDS drugs for Americans, too.
I was pleased with the tax programs, and although it was nothing really new, he made a good case for it. For example, I noticed that the example of a family of four making $40,000 only paying $45 in taxes made an impression on my sister who generally doesn’t pay a lot of attention to these things.
The second half of the speech focused on the War on Terror. Bush ramped up the rhetoric here and I noticed there was a lot fewer interruptions with applause. I don’t think it was that Congress didn’t agree, but that Bush was on a roll and they didn’t want to interrupt him. I think he did a good job of defining the threat from Saddam and it looks like we’ll get specifics on February 5 when Colin Powell addresses the Security Council. What I just don’t understand are people who say that Bush is just looking for somebody to bomb. What makes Saddam Hussein any less evil than Hitler? Saddam has killed and tortured thousands of his own people, invaded his neighbors, and has access to nuclear, biological, and/or chemical weapons. And he has made no secret of the fact that he wants to use them. Twelve years of negotiations have failed and we know that Saddam is working with terrorist groups who have attacked America. What are we waiting for?
The president made sure we understood what it is Iraq has, why inspections are no panacea, and that Saddam is very evil. As he said, “If this isn’t evil, then nothing is.” There comes a point when more negotiations becomes stalling that gives our enemy time to prepare to unleash the most horrific weapons on innocents. Failure to act to defend yourself and others would be a crime.