02 February 2005

A refreshing tonic indeed

I've been battling a nasty stomach virus all the live-long day.  I feel like I've just completed the 24 hours of Lemans, except that instead of racing, I've been stretched out on a medieval rack.  So what better way to wrap up this day than watch the State of the Union.

See the President speak.  See the GOP members of Congress stand up!  And down!  And up!  And down!  Wait, they're up again!  Oops, they're down again.

Just like my lunch.  And my dinner.

To refresh myself, I checked what I wrote about last year's SOTU.  Hmm.  I was a little raw back then.  But I have to admit that this year's speech was much better (wow, how strong is this virus?).  It still had plenty of things to question, but it was a little less smug, shorter, and not as irritating.

A side note: setting the journal wayback machine to last year's SOTU made me realize that I completely forgot the first anniversary of my journal.  I thought it would be a little more triumphant than that, but it just didn't register.  That tells me that this is now habitual, that I don't pay attention to time, just to quality.

Indeed, I am, the world's...best...blogger.

Not really, but I'm delirious, so I can write whatever I want and claim dementia later.  Back to the speech...first, I'd like to re-introduce the "ice tea and a sweet roll concept."  It's been a while since I wrote about this.  When I was a kid, there was a cartoon on the Electric Company.  A man seated at a table in a diner orders an ice tea and a sweet roll, only to be told politely by the waitress that they are out of sweet rolls.  He changes his order to coffee and a sweet roll, and is told a little less politely that they are out of sweet rolls.  For the remainder of the scene, he orders a different drink with a sweet roll, and each time the waitress gets more and more frustrated until she screams "WE ARE OUT OF SWEET ROLLS!!!" and runs through a wall out of the diner.  When the dust clears the man says "OK, I'll just have a sweet roll."  It's classic.  I use it all the time.  I can't tell you how many times I say "ice tea and a sweet roll" when someone has no idea what they are talking about.  The very meaning of my existence is based upon recognizing "ice tea and a sweet roll" moments.

Anyway, listening to Bush talk about fiscal responsibility is probably the all time "ice tea and a sweet roll" moment I can think of.  He's going to be pining for more billions for his war in a week or so, yet he talks about "responsibility."  He came into office with a budget surplus, and he talks about "reducing the deficit in half by 2009."  This comment gets a huge roar from the GOP in attendance.  What are they cheering for?  Don't they realize that they are part of the most irresponsible spending administration in history?  Don't take my word on it.  Read this. 

I'm not going to spend the next four years listening to Bush try to tell us that he is a fiscal conservative when what he does is sneak around looking for piggy banks that he can smash and grab before he's held accountable.

Moving on...nice to see the President re-light the fire on the amendment for banning gay marriage.  Good idea to pander to your extreme base, W.  Don't worry about putting anything that discriminates into the Constitution.  We'll get over it.  Everyone knows that an amendment like this has no chance of actually making it into the Constitution, but on principle, it's disgusting, pure and simple.

Once the President got away from domestic issues, I didn't find much to fault with (so much Nyquil...hello, little plastic cup!) his speech.  He played to fear well, as he always does, though there's not truth to the rumor that the words on US currency will be changed to "In BOO! We Trust."  In reading what other folks in the blogosphere have had to say about this (and this will be for another entry, but the elite bloggers who opine on politics 100% of the time on the blogs are INSANE!  I'm talking about both sides here) most feel that the moment where the parents of a dead marine embraced a woman who had just voted in Iraq was  "touching." 

Maybe.  But it was definitely politically motivated.  It reminded me of the portion of "Fahrenheit 9/11" when Michael Moore (with the mere mention of his name, billions of conservatives just gasped) documented the trip of a woman who just lost her son in Iraq to Washington to try to find someplace or someone to direct her outrage and grief towards.  My heart breaks for both women, and both are brave to put their private despair on display for separate reasons.  I am almost thankful that this part of the festivities was included tonight so I could see it from both sides.

And upon reading that last line, my sister is now screaming "Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?"  Um, that is, if she ever read this...Hi Sis!

But I also know that for every Texas mom that grieves the loss of her child in this war, there are about 1400 others in all parts of the country going through the same thing, and I'm sure not all of them would be willing to star in either Moore's or Bush's scene.  And based upon what I heard tonight, there will be more to come. 

But back to my snarkiness....about that woman who voted in Iraq, the one sitting next to the First Lady, who dressed her?  Are people aware that Jackie Kennedy's closet has been broken into?  I must not have been paying attention here because I missed whether this woman was flown over from Iraq just for the speech or if she was an Iraqi in this country who voted absentee.  Either way, I want to make a documentary of her going back to Iraq dressed in the same clothes that she wore tonight.  And, if I may go on just a tad longer here, what's with the blue fingers?  Do you vote for a candidate in Iraq by selecting a certain tab of Tidy Bowl or something? 

So why am I less critical of this speech compared to last year?  I think it boils down to the feeling that last year, the President was clearly establishing a "me vs. you" mentality.  He was up for re-election and needed to set that type of tone.  I can't believe I am saying this, but it does appear that on some issues, he seems to understand that he has to be able to work with both sides to get things in his agenda down.  He's not a stupid man.  The clock is ticking on his presidency, his legacy, and he knows that there is no way that he will get everything done that he wishes.  Second term Presidents tend to have problems getting things done, especially in the final two years.  Bush has 24 months to really make his mark in history.  I think he realizes that he is less in control that he normally thinks he is.

I am stunned by that, truly.  He was so arrogant and smug in his first term.  There's no way I am going to let one speech change my opinion of him as a leader.  He has a ton of work to do, and I'll be amazed if he pulls any of it off.  Again ,he has to do something to stop getting American service people killed in Iraq.  I think that the patience of every American is wearing thinly on that.

So we move on.  It will be an interesting month, to see what advances and what falls to gridlock.  But it is time I end this.  Clearly, I am sicker than I thought, as I am starting to hallucinate.

I just saw Sammy Sosa wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey. 

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