President Bush gave his final State of the Union.
While some Americans honestly disagree with him out of convictions that are deeply held, many of his opponents despise him for being alive and existing. This is not because of the War in Iraq. It is because of the 2000 election that his opponent failed to steal.
As expected, President Bush was gracious to the end, and those that disagreed with him ranged from dour and beaten to downright rude and scowling. The scowler wants the job next year, and she will be in for a rude awakening of her own if she thins her lack of decorum will be forgotten.
Before getting to the speech itself, Fox News conducted a one hour interview with president Bush entitled, “Fighting to the Finish.” Here are some excerpts.
“Those who kill the innocent to advance their political agenda cannot recruit based on ideology, only where there is hopelessness, disease and hunger cause people to be hopeless.
The country has to make up its mind, confront the conditions causing radicalism, or retreat, say it costs too much to help others.
The biggest idea internationally is the advance of democracy and freedom. I fully recognize that some want to promote stability. Stability hasn’t worked. That does not address the underlying conditions to why people join radical groups.
I am a combination of idealist and realist. I believe in this fundamental truth, there is almighty, that gift of the almighty is liberty, which is freedom. Freedom yields peace. The ideology of freedom must trump the hatred of those who spread hate.
There are killers who want to stop liberty. The job of comfortable nations is to help others realize freedom. It is the calling of our time.
Victory in Iraq is going to be gradual. It takes awhile to recover from a tyrannical situation.
People criticize me for having a personal friendship with Vladimir Putin. I don’t see how you conduct foreign policy if you don’t have a personal relationship with Vladimir Putin.
The NIE did not say Iran is not a threat. In fact it confirmed that Iran is a threat and needs to be taken seriously. I don’t know what goes through the Iranian mind, but they have a choice to make.
Whoever the candidates are, they better be ready for pressure. They have to protect America and make sure we have a vibrant economy. The fundamental question will be whether the next president will use the Presidency to advance peace. Some say we don’t move until everybody is holding hands. The right way is to say here is the vision, here is the common goal, here is what we must work to achieve, and we will take the lead and work with you. If you come, we’d love to have you on board, but if not, the United States is still going to lead.
I hope immigration is not the debate for the next election, because if it is it will turn ugly if we start bashing immigrants. An emotional debate pitting people against each other could cost America to lose its soul.
I will gracefully exit the political stage at the proper time.
Washington is an ugly town, too ugly as far as I am concerned. I worked to be a uniter, and it didn’t work.
It is important to have a set of principles from which one will not vary. Faith helps develop a set of principles form which decisions should be made.
There is no question a President gets tested, but there are tests all throughout life. Faith can bring light in moments of darkness.
I want my administration to have written the hopeful and strong first chapter in this ideological struggle that will play out over the course of our lifetime. The best legacy a President can leave behind is to say to a dad that your young son is more likely to live in peace as a result of the policies I’ve put forward.
It is normal for people not to have a sense of urgency about an attack. It is not normal for someone in government not to have a sense of urgency. If you pay attention to the realities of the world, there is an enemy out there that wants to kill us.
Lincoln based his decisions on a fundamental moral truth that all men are created equal under God. I believe in the fundamental moral truth is that there is a God and the gift of that God is that every man, woman and child on the face of this Earth is freedom. Lincoln wanted to free the slaves, and I and other Presidents want to lift people from the bonds of tyranny.”
Now, for excerpts of the State of the Union itself.
“Issues call for vigorous debate. I think it’s fair to say we’ve answered the call.”
Harry Reid sat stone faced.
“Let us show that democrats and republicans can compete for votes, and cooperate for results at the same time.
We believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny, and shape the course of history. The most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens.
We must trust people with their own money, and empower them tog row our economy. America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace.
Attempts to load up the (stimulus) bill will delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable. This congress must pass it as soon as possible.
Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief we’ve delivered over the past 7 years will be taken away. Some in Washington will argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers, who will see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome your enthusiasm. I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.”
Many clapped at that remark, while Hillary Clinton was her typically ungracious self. I am not sure if this is because she lacks human emotion, or if she fears leftist voters so much that smiling at the President could cost her votes.
“There is only one way to eliminate uncertainty. Make the tax relief (from 2001 and 203) permanent). If any bill that raises taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.
The budget I will submit will keep us on pace for a surplus by 2012.
If you send me a appropriations bill that does not cut the number and costs of earmarks in half, I’ll send it back to you with my veto. If these items are truly worth funding, congress should debate them in the open, and hold a public vote.”
The chamber all clapped, and not one of them was sincere. When he mentioned making healthcare more affordable, Nancy Pelosi smiled and clapped, Barack Obama studiously took notes, and Hillary Clinton maintained her angry look.
“The best way to achieve that goal (health care) is to expand consumer choice, not government control. Congress must also pass Health Savings Accounts, and confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits. Decisions should be made in the privacy of your doctor’s office, not in the halls of Congress.
6 years ago we came together to pass No Child Left Behind. Last year 4th and 8th graders had the highest scores on record. Last year African-American and Hispanic students reached all time highs.”
He then offered Pell Grants for kids.
“I applaud the Congress for approving a trade agreement with Peru. I now ask the Congress to approve agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. I we fail to pass these agreements, we will embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere. We must show our neighbors in the region that democracy leads to a better life. Trade brings better jobs, better choices, and better prices.”
For those who did not know, an average nondescript bald white guy named Samuel Bodman is the current Energy Secretary.
“Let us generate new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of emissions free nuclear power. Commitments (to reduce greenhouse gases) will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.”
He also mentioned the new skin cell breakthrough that replicates embryonic stem cells before turning to judges.
“The Constitution means what it says. I have submitted judges who will rule by the letter of the law, not the whim of the gavel.”
He then delved into illegal immigration, refusing to back down from his views.
“By the end of this year, we will have doubled the number of border patrol agents. Yet we still need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we come up with a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy. This will allow law enforcement to concentrate on those who wish us harm. Illegal immigration must be dealt with in a way that upholds our laws and our highest ideals.”
He then shifted to foreign policy.
“In the last 7 years we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty. We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to demand their independence. We’ve seen Afghans emerge from the tyranny of the Taliban…we’ve seen jubilant Iraqis holding up ink stained fingers and celebrating their freedom. These images of liberty have inspired us.
We have also seen the images that have sobered us. We have seen wedding guests blood soaked, staggering in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis blown up in Mosques in Markets, and trains in London and Madrid ripped apart by bombs. On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder…the advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists.
Since 9/11 we have taken the fight to these terrorists and extremists. We have stayed on the offense, we will keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to our enemies.
For the security of America and the peace of the world, we are spreading the hope of freedom.
We are adding 3,200 marines to our forces in Afghanistan.
While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraq surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago. Many said that containing the violence was impossible. Killings are down. Al Queda had sanctuaries in Iraq. Today it is Al Queda searching for safe passage. Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Queda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.”
Somebody yelled from the balcony “You’re wrong,” which means that either Al Queda infiltrated the building, or a Moveon.org supporter burst in. Either way it is hard to tell the difference among these unwashed and unshaven creatures.
“(Turning to the soldiers in the room) In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation. Congress must meet our responsibilities to these men and women by fully funding our troops.
More than 20,000 of our troops are coming home. Any further drawdown will be based on conditions in Iraq. General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in the disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, Al Queda regaining lost ground, and a marked increase in violence. We must not allow this to happen.
The Iraqis have a distance to travel, but after decades of dictatorship, reconciliation is taking place and the Iraqi people are taking control o their future. It is in the vital interests of our nation that we succeed.”
He then reiterated why a free Iraq benefits us and a failed Iraq harms us.
“We will not rest until this enemy has been defeated. We must do the difficult world today so that years from now people will look back and say that this generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a tough fight, and left behind a hopeful region and a safer America.”
He then offered hopeful words regarding Israel and the Palestinians that I ignored.
“Wherever freedom advances in the middle East, the Iranian regime is there to oppose it. Iran continues to enrich uranium, which could be used to make a nuclear weapon. Our message to the Iranian people is clear. We have no quarrel with you. We respect your traditions and your history. We look forward to the day when you have your freedom. Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear. America will confront those that attack our troops, and America will stand by our allies, and defend vital interests in the Persian Gulf.”
“In the past 6 years we have stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles, and another to blow up passenger jets to America over the Atlantic.
We need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and where they are planning. Unfortunately Congress set the legislation to expire February 1st. That means if you don’t act by Friday, our ability to track terrorists threats will be weakened, and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the effort to defend America. We have had ample time to debate. The time to act is now.”
He then offered warm fuzzy sentiments about Darfur and other 3rd world nations in an attempt to make liberals like him. Of course, that will fail.
He called for buying crops from developing nations, and proposed another 30 billion dollars to fight AIDS over the next 5 years.
He then shifted to reforming Veteran’s benefits.
“Troops should be able to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or their children.”
“The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lays not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people. So long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the state of our union will remain strong.
So tonight, with confidence in freedom’s power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God Bless America.”
The history books will be very kind to this man. I will help right this history, and I will be right. I already am, but vindication will be sweeter when there is a more peaceful world. For some, it is not about winning elections, or tearing down good people. It is about actually improving the world.
Well done Mr. President.
Luv ya Dubya.