Thursday, February 02, 2006

The State of the Union, Bush, Hillary and the Democrats

The state of the union is pretty good.

And President Bush's speech was pretty good, too, and well delivered. The first half - on his bold and brilliant foreign policy - was excellent. But the second half, on domestic issues, was much more worrisome.

The president is certainly a "big-government conservative," and now he wants to spend more on education and a few other endeavors. But it's now gotten worse in that some of his main conservative goals - namely, social security and tax reform - have faltered and are essentially out of the picture. So his domestic ambitions are more subdued now. Still, his strong support for making the tax cuts permanent and (hopefully, a least to a small degree) seriously cutting back on wasteful spending are encouraging. [Update: The president's economic policies continue to be effective, with the unemployment rate going down even more. But it'd be even better if we restrain spending, which is also probably politically necessary to keep the tax cuts that made this success possible in the first place. More: Low Jobless Rate Leaves Workers Too Tired to Shop.]

Robert Novak: Conservatives disappointed in Bush (for domestic policy reasons)
Cal Thomas: State of the union is good, but could be much better
Linda Chavez: President strong on defense and foreign policy
Hugh Hewitt: A "great speech," powerful on crucial war on terror issues
Larry Elder: What Democrats heard the president say

The most interesting part of the speech was when the president noted Congress' failure to save social security - and the Democrats cheered and applauded. It was pathetic and revealing. (Tony Blankley: "Their collective decision to cheer the failure of the body politic to provide for sufficient revenues to pay the [Social Security] benefits was an act of historic shame for the Democratic Party.") Speaking of the Democrats, Blankley writes much more about the state of the Democratic Party, which is largely reflected in that Social Security moment. He includes this interesting observation: "“Until George Bush became president, the Democrats, for better and for worse, were a liberal party. Deformed by hatred of the current president, the Democrats have become a nihilist party."” This explains the current hypocrisy and inconsistency in the things they say and do. Democrats are no longer attached to a certain set of beliefs; rather, they are simply opposed to President Bush. That is their platform. They advocate nothing else.

Along those lines (being unprincipled), I've always gotten the sense that Hillary Clinton is not so much a principled left-wing radical as she is someone who's capable of taking any position in order to advance her political career. Indeed, I think this is obvious. (Or perhaps she is principled, but feels that extensive lying is necessary to get her into a position to fully advance those principles, which, of course, do not include honesty.)

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