State of the Union: Bush Seeks Support from Democrats, Republicans
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's about the economy, and the war in Iraq, and other unresolved matters that have kept the nation on edge. But President Bush's State of the Union address on Monday is something else, too: probably his last chance to seize the public's attention and put it to use. Bush will pressure Congress — particularly the Senate, where he senses trouble — to finish an economic stimulus package fast. He will announce steps he is taking to reduce and reform the use of earmarks — a common Capitol Hill practice of slipping pet projects into spending bills, saying that if the items are worthy, lawmakers should debate them in the open and hold a public vote.
Clinton: Bush Has Lost Touch With Public
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton relegated her chief Democratic rival to the rhetorical sidelines Monday and focused her criticism on President Bush, saying he had lost touch with the concerns of an anxious public.
In a speech to more than 1,000 people jammed in a gymnasium, Clinton did not refer to the fight with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her audience, which included an equal number listening in an adjoining room, roared with approval when the former first lady took note of the Republican president's dwindling time in office.
"Tonight is a red-letter night in American history," she said. "It is the last time George Bush will give the State of the Union. Next year it will be a Democratic president giving it."
Bush is isolated at the White House, Clinton said, inviting the president to join her in meeting the kind of people she has come across during her campaign. "Sit at tables at diners and hear what's on America's mind," she suggested.
"I have been in and out of the homes and work places and community centers across America. What they want to talk to me about is the insecurity they feel and the fears they are confronting," she said.
The competition between Clinton and Obama has grown increasingly testy heading into next week's enormous round of primaries. But at least on this day, Clinton took on Bush, using the State of the Union address to highlight her differences with the commander in chief.
Bush is certain, she said, to assert that the state of the nation is strong even though "we are sliding into a recession. We have as lot of concerns we need to deal with," including a mortgage crisis that is driving people from their homes.
In Clinton's estimation, Bush "has never understood is that the State of the Union is not about a speech in Washington. It is about the lives of the American people who feel they are moving toward the American dream."
The woeful housing market, she said, is evidence of the economic insecurity that millions of people are sensing — concerns she said are not registering in the White House.
"It is about people and will they be able to stay in their homes or will they lose their homes," said Clinton. "It is about where we as a nation will restore our leadership and our moral authority."
Clinton's scheduled included stops in Hartford and then Massachusetts before returning to Capitol Hill for Bush's final State of the Union address.
What are the Blogs saying?
From the Left
State of the Lame Duck
By Michael AbramowitzWashington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 28, 2008; Page A01
For years, President Bush and his advisers expressed frustration that the White House received little credit for the nation's strong economic performance because of public discontent about the Iraq war. Today, the president is getting little credit for improved security in Iraq, as the public increasingly focuses on a struggling U.S. economy.
That is the problem Bush faces as he prepares to deliver his seventh and probably final State of the Union address tonight. For the first time in four years, he will come before Congress able to report some progress in tamping down violence in Iraq. Yet the public appears to have moved on from the war -- and possibly from Bush himself.
The economy has supplanted Iraq as the top public concern, and with voters shifting their focus toward the presidential primaries, Bush faces a steep challenge in persuading Americans to heed his words on the war, economic policy or any other issue, according to administration officials, lawmakers and outside observers.
The Huffinton Post
Because Barbara Bush taught him to "use your words, George," her son the president, rather than actually mooning some Senate Democrats at the joint session of Congress on Monday night as he would like to do, will instead call them terrorist-lovers for refusing to give retroactive immunity to lawbreaking telecoms in the FISA bill, and he will call them partisan obstructionists for wanting to extend unemployment benefits in the economic stimulus bill now pending.
Because the political media's machismo depends on admiring cynicism as realpolitik, when the Clintons claim victory in the Florida primary this Tuesday, the mandarins will pronounce it a brilliant chess move, rather than revealing it as a desperation-borne contempt for the rules of the nomination game they had previously agreed to, and as condescension toward those who still naively care about playing by them.
Because there is no accountability in punditry -- outside, that is, of Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann -- Rudy Giuliani's flameout in Florida, like Fred Thompson's before him in South Carolina, will occasion no reminders and no regrets for the jock-sniffing musk-addled crushes once harbored toward them by the Chris Matthewses and Bill Kristols of the political locker room.
Because there is nothing like necrophilia and hagiography to prolong our national addiction to historical amnesia, this week's Republican debate at the Reagan Library will prompt no admission that the sub-prime meltdown now dragging Americans into a painful recession, except for the nouveau gazillionaires insulated from it, is the godchild of the Reagan religion of faith-based deregulation, fundamentalist market worship, and a massive government-engineered transfer of wealth from the middle to the top.
Because "the surge is working" -- because, that is, of the indefinitely long presence of more than 150,000 American troops in Iraq, paid for by trillions of dollars that even the Bush administration no longer has the nerve to put in its budget, combined with the absence of any meaningful progress toward the administration's own benchmarks for political success, coupled with the media's inability to cover the war as anything except the kind of occasional traffic fatality story found on local TV news -- a presidential campaign that might have been a referendum on Republican deceit and incompetence, and a frank conversation about America's real security interests in the world, will instead be a moronic barrage of empty slogans about change.
Stubborn Liberal: The State of the Union
[q="http://stubbornliberal.blogspot.com/2008/01/state-of-union.html"]There is nothing that will make me watch President Bush's State of the Union speech this evening. We know what the state of the union is, thanks to George W. Bush. It is a mess: foreclosure problems, unemployment, wars without end, our military stretched to the limit, an ever increasing national debt, Halliburton's stockholders getting richer on the blood of our military, the failure of the No Child Left Behind Act, the mess with wiretapping, etc., etc.
> I did not have a chance to change the TV channel at lunch, and so I caught the last part of a report on WSYX, channel 6 (the Sinclair Broadcasting station in Columbus, Ohio). A reporter, Morris Jones, predicted what President Bush would be speaking about this evening. Morris Jones said (I'm paraphrasing here!) that the "surge" was working and that everything was good in Iraq. Morris Jones is the primary Washington, DC correspondent for Sinclair. (You remember how the Sinclair Broadcasting Group participated in the "swiftboating" of John Kerry.) The sad thing is that people take channel 6 and reports from Sinclair as news. It is nothing more than right wing propaganda disguised in a news broadcast.[/q]
From the Right
While we're all focused on the election, there's still a lame duck in office who gets one last State of the Union address.
It happens tonight. And the Politico reports he's going to say something nice about Nancy Pelosi.
More interesting, though, I hear that conservative members of Congress are intending to give a Republican response to the State of the Union. Good for them. They need to. I suspect, like most of the last few SoTU speeches, this one is going to be a laundry list of big government initiatives and plaintive appeals to the "ownership society" without actually doing anything to really move us toward a non-government owned society.
From the Ether
A State of the Union Address Drinking Game ? Please don't try this at home.
Madame Speaker, the President of the United States..."
The general rules of this game are no different from any other drinking game. A drink is either a shot or a good gulp from a beer (or cider). Different events call for different numbers of drinks and all you do is watch the speech and play along. If all goes well, you'll be unconscious by the time they show the other party's response.
This year, President Bush's State of the Union address is scheduled for Monday, January 28, 2008 at 9pm (Eastern). It should be broadcast on all major networks and cable news/political networks.
For online coverage, go to http://www.c-span.org/...tive/stateoftheunion.asp.
Tonight: Bush's Final State of the Union
When President Bush delivers his last State of the Union speech to Congress Monday night, he'll be stealing a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook. Two decades ago, Reagan, in his last address to Congress, focused on legislation, not legacy. "If anyone expects just a proud recitation of the accomplishments of my administration, I say let's leave that to history," he said. "We're not finished yet."
State of the Union Trivia - What do you mean "Seventh and probably Final" State of the Union Address?
David Kurtz notes the reference to President Bush’s “seventh and probably final State of the Union address tonight” in a front page story in today’s WaPo and puzzles at the use of the word “probably.”
A TPM reader emails to point out that the Constitution requires only that the speeches be delivered “from time to time,” not annually, and points to precedent for off-cycle speeches:
Finally, President George W. Bush is set to deliver his next State of the Union Address on January 28, 2008. It is widely believed that this will be his last address before leaving office on January 20, 2009, but assuming this is incorrect. Bush has the right to deliver either a written or oral State of the Union in the days immediately before leaving office in 2009. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, and Carter chose to do this. Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, chose not to.
As a table from the same site shows, several presidents have given an “extra” SOTU. Interesting.
What’s amusing is that Kurtz stumbled over the word “probably” whereas my double-take was over “seventh.” President Bush is in the final year of his second four year term and one would think that this would therefore be his eighth SOTU. And it is. He delivered his first February 27th, 2001 and his given one annually since then. The first one, though, wasn’t called a State of the Union speech but rather “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on Administration Goals” and did not have the customary declaration that “the state of the union is strong” or some similar adjective. Indeed, Richard Nixon was the last president to start his administration with a true “State of the Union” message, so all recent presidents are one short. I don’t know why.