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monsoon

Bush State of the Union Speech

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I watched this speech last night not because I expected anything relevant from Bush, but more to see the interaction between the members of congress and the commentary from the news people.

Some Speech observations:

  • He glossed over Iraq which came towards the end of his speech. No surprise here. Even his speech writers can't do anything to make it sound good now. It's a marked contrast from his State of the Union of 2003 where Iraq was the center piece of his speech. He used the opportunity to work up the crowd with lies about nuclear weapons, lies about weapons of mass destruction, and duped the flag waving freedom fry eating GOP dominated crowd that Iraq had something to do with 9-11. How the mighty have fallen.

  • This year it wasn't a big pep rally of endless cheerleeding from the GOP. Instead it was a pretty muted audience relative to what has transpired there over the past few years. I also got the impression that a number from the GOP side did not show up.

  • Bush has offed up more energy independence rhetoric again. This is the 5th time he as done so in these speeches yet nothing was ever done by him to make it happen. Under the Bush leadership, American oil imports have gone from 58% to about 70% of usage. (a scary position to be in)

  • He criticized the out of control spending of the congress. What he didn't mention is that he not once veto'd any of those spending bills.

  • Amazingly he mentioned the importance of having a Balanced Budget. Nice words from one who has increased the deficit than all other past presidents combined.

  • He announced an initiative to do something about the atrocious state of health coverage in this country. As usual very little details.

  • No word at all about the success of his announced plans to fix the damage caused by katrina. No surprise here either. He would rather rebuild Bagdad instead of New Orleans.

    Some other observations

    • Cheney looked as if he had a bad case of indigestion throughout the entire speech. I was waiting for him to hurl up something.

    • Condi had an expression on her face that made me think she wished she had followed Colin Powell. i.e. Her very promising career has been flushed down the toilet.

    • I was amazed to see that most of the Supreme Court did not bother to come to the speech. Bush's two appointments were there, but he forgot to address them.

    • One of the few highpoints of the speech was to see Nancy Pelosi sitting in the Speaker's chair. That was a historic moment as it is the first time in our nation's history that a woman has held this job. Her very positive demeanor was a marked contrast to the dark cloud brought into the room by Cheney and Bush.

    • It was a nice touch to recognize the man that saved that person in NYC from being run over by a train.

      As I mentioned above, the difference between this SOU versus past Bush speeches (especially the one right before he invaded Iraq) was the difference between a high school pep rally and a funeral. The mood of the crowd was pretty somber and I got the impression that many people were there thinking, how did we let this idiot take over the government. At least it is in its final days now. Hopefully the American people have learned something from this very dark time in our nation's history.

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-I'm pretty sure I saw Cheney take a few Rolaids.

-Hillary made a few faces, as did Pelosi, which always amazes me. I figure that politicians would be better at hiding their emotions when cameras were arond, but maybe not. Maybe they did it on purpose.

-Was Obama there? I didn't see him.

-Kennedy didn't look too good. Is he OK?

-Condi makes that face when she's concentrating. I've seen it before. It is a bit unsettling.

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-Was Obama there? I didn't see him.

-Kennedy didn't look too good. Is he OK?

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^ metro, pretty much summed up my thoughts. the most moving part of the whole event, and the main reason i watched was to see the historic introduction of the speaker, "madame pelosi". the crowd gave a warm reception.

obama was there... he was sitting right in front of hillary.

all in all, this is a dog & pony show... and my biggest concern is whether ANY legislation will get through, or will we see more lame duck congress (due to stale mate). that would ultimately hurt the democrats and the way bush & his croonies have been posturing - that appears to be their strategy. the only silver lining on this concern - is that bush is so low in job approval ratings, and many republicans are breaking rank. with that happening... maybe the democratic controlled houses can get some things done.

i suspect we will get a chance to see how serious mr. bush is about energy independence and alternatives... god knows thats something we've heard him mention constantly @ these things. but the only REAL examples we get from him is "hot air".

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As many of metro's bullet points highlight, Bush basically said he was doing every positive thing that it is possible to do, such as energy, the environment, bipartisanship and working to consensus, an improving education and test scores of our youth, balancing the budget in 5 years (3 years after he leaves office and has no control and can therefore shed the blame for it not happening) and other things that are outright lies or falsehoods.

I finally changed the channel because it is simply NOT RIGHT that he should be allowed to say things that he knows are not true, and has no intention of doing, because a certain % of his audience does not know any better and will believe him. I am a little shell shocked still that it has gone this far with Bush. When I comment on Bush on this forum I sound like a radical which I am not, but the man is out of control. State of the Union addresses in general are usually BS or feel good sessions, but his are extreme in that he crosses the line of BS to gross lying, knowing that we know he is doing it, and doing it anyway.

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I didn't want to watch it, but ended up sitting through it anyway since not much else was on (we only have basic cable).

1) I don't like the way Bush says "The Terrorists". I know it's strategical, to get people to focus on "us vs. them", but there are many different terrorists groups in the world, and many of them have different goals in mind, and need different strategies. It's too simplified.

2) Several standing ovations when Bush mentioned "taking the fight to the enemy", and "protecting our homeland from terrorist threats". Most of congress still must feel there is an omnipresent threat that hasn't diminished one bit. Question is, how do we fight that threat?

3) He directly tied all Shias and Sunnis to terrorists. I don't understand this thinking, and how is that going to help the Iraq situation. Am I missing something that there are probably millions of decent Shias and Sunnis in the middle east? Not all terrorists?

4) 20% reduction in oil consumption in 10 years? By switching to Ethanol?

5) His tax deductions for health insurance idea was way too confusing, without having a powerpoint presentation to go along with it. It might turn out to be a good thing, but it sounded like a lot of seats were shuffling and muffled coughs during that awkward much-too-detailed description of it.

6) Four different "feel good stories" at the end was too much, but the subway guy and recognizing the Army guy was cool. Baby Einstein?

7) Pretty dower mood in the House considering he started with "41 consecutive months of job growth".

Those were my impressions. However, I thought it was better received than I expected it to be. Maybe the chamber was applauding certain parts of the "message", as opposed to the "messenger".

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Yeah, I didn't get the vigorous clapping at times, I suppose that is required of Congress, that or they are producing some of it or amplifying the sound. Frankly I noticed this and was perplexed during Clinton's addresses which of ocurse now in retrospect seem more appropriate.

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They show a shot of hillary that was so funny. She was as stiff as a dead person. She had this fake smile on her face that was motionless. It was funny.

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They show a shot of hillary that was so funny. She was as stiff as a dead person. She had this fake smile on her face that was motionless. It was funny.

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A few of my thoughts to add to those already posted:

Did anyone else notice the body language between Cheney and Pelosi before the speech? Whenever one stepped up to the microphone, the other would slowly move as far to the outside of the podium as they prudently could. It was pretty funny actually.

Bush's acknowledgement of being the first president to say "madam speaker" was a nice, classy touch.

Then in the very next sentence, his congratulation of the "Democrat" majority came off as snarky and insincere. Using the word "Democrat" as an adjective is a well-worn tactic of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and such.

Bush's health care plan sounds sort of like Hillary's '93 plan.

Speaking of the Clintons, what happened to Bill's balanced budget?

Bush's points on reducing oil independence sound good. Now let's see some action to reduce our consumption by 20%, before China and our "friends" in the Middle East do it for us.

Bush and Cheney sipped their water at precisely the same time. Creepy.

Condi's glare reminded me of Chloe from "24," right before she tells someone off.

Lately, Bush has gotten away from ending his speeches with "God bless you, and God bless America." Last night he concluded with a shortened "God Bless."

Overall, a good speech. If Bush had made this speech in 2001, and followed through on it, I would probably have become a supporter of his.

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My understanding of the medical insurance tax deduction is this.

  • If you purchase insurance for yourself or family, you will get either a $7500 or $15000 tax deduction. (individual or family)

  • However, if you get insurance as an employer benefit, i.e. your employer pays for some or all of your health insurance, then the employer's contributions to those premiums will now be considered income and you will be taxed on that as ordinary income. This is a fairly significant amount of taxable income so for a lot of people this could mean an overall tax increase.

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Several standing ovations when Bush mentioned "taking the fight to the enemy", and "protecting our homeland from terrorist threats". Most of congress still must feel there is an omnipresent threat that hasn't diminished one bit. Question is, how do we fight that threat?

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^^ That was how I understood it, and not sure how I feel about it. One the one hand, it is fair that those who buy their own get a break that others effectively do, however, the "part 2" of the idea, since the majority of people purchase insurance through an employer, would seem to be a veiled tax increase (not to mention that it would seem to contradict typical Republican ideology).

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^^I'm completely against part 2. Part 1 I could get behind.

I have a feeling that plan is DOA anyway...

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Bush's talk about alternative energies were the only thing that impressed me. While it's still rhetoric, at least he had some solid numbers this time.. it was a lot better than "We are addicted to oil. And that's bad."

His basic pleading with congress to approve his troop surge was kind of sad to watch. If the cake tastes too salty, George, don't throw more salt in. It'll just make it saltier.

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My understanding of the medical insurance tax deduction is this.
  • If you purchase insurance for yourself or family, you will get either a $7500 or $15000 tax deduction. (individual or family)

  • However, if you get insurance as an employer benefit, i.e. your employer pays for some or all of your health insurance, then the employer's contributions to those premiums will now be considered income and you will be taxed on that as ordinary income. This is a fairly significant amount of taxable income so for a lot of people this could mean an overall tax increase.

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Bush's talk about alternative energies were the only thing that impressed me. While it's still rhetoric, at least he had some solid numbers this time.. it was a lot better than "We are addicted to oil. And that's bad."

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Honestly, the health care thing seems like his style for solving all sorts of problems: Fidget with the tax code a bit, put the rather meager, misleading changes into a big, fancy box and push it on Americans when in reality, it won't help most Americans, but hurt them.

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I didn't get to catch the speech live, but watched news broadcasts after the fact. The most interesting was switching from Fox to CNN and back. You'd think he gave two different speeches!

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I didn't get to catch the speech live, but watched news broadcasts after the fact. The most interesting was switching from Fox to CNN and back. You'd think he gave two different speeches!

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^I should have tried that. Can't stomach Fox long enough, though. :)

The more I think about the healthcare proposal, the less I like it. I agree with the Captain.

Why no mention of rebuilding New Orleans? Surely lots of progress is being made there...

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Then in the very next sentence, his congratulation of the "Democrat" majority came off as snarky and insincere. Using the word "Democrat" as an adjective is a well-worn tactic of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and such.

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^Sour grapes, sore losers, whiners, and all the other things they said about the Democrats in '00 and '04. :P

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A more detailed explanation of Bush's healthcare tax deduction plan:

http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/23/pf/taxes/h...007012322#break

Whether you pay a tax increase or get a tax deduction depends on how much you spend on health insurance premiums. However, when your employer provides health insurance, they have a contract with a particular insurance company, so I don't see how you would have any choice. Especially if you work for a small employer of less than 50 people. The big problem with buying health insurance on your own is that those policies generally suck (high co-pays, 80/20 coverage at best, high deductibles) from my experience.

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Yes. It puts all the medical decisions into the hands of the insurance companies. There are a lot of benefits to being in an employer group, namely it gives you some defense against the insurance company denying claims and raising rates, and under the Bush plan this will go away.

This plan isn't going to go anywhere anyway.

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