Posted by Brian at 12:34 PM
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.
What exactly was he looking for credit for again? The airy gains made in the housing bubble, that have all vanished in the bursting? How many billions of dollars are financial institutions writing off now, saying that they never really existed? Even the stock market, that unwieldy and mostly inaccurate tool of measuring an economy's strength that right-wingers still like to point to as a barometer of economic growth, has given back most of its ephemeral gains since 2001.
Here's what Bush's "strong economic performance" has given us--more people in poverty than in 2001, more people without health insurance than in 2001, more people in bankruptcy and foreclosure than in 2001, and an economy that is going to, by all indications, last longer and hurt more than any recession since 1979. Somehow I don't think that's the credit Bush wanted.
I'm certain that tonight, he will talk about the economic challenges we (not including him and his real base) will face, and he'll say that we need to make his tax cuts permanent. Assuming the Democratic Senate doesn't cave on telecom amnesty (never a safe assumption), he'll talk about how our Senators are refusing to give the government the tools it needs to win the waronterra (while never mentioning that the telecoms cut off wiretaps because the government didn't pay their phone bills). We'll get some bullshit about how Iraq is going swimmingly, and that we just need to stick it out instead of cutting and running, even though there's no troops to continue the surge, and even though the surge has produced exactly no political reconciliation. There will be some nonsense about Washington being too partisan, even though it was his administration that made it as bad as it is.
There will be this and a whole lot more as Bush tries to cover himself in undeserved glory, and there will be half-hearted clapping and standing ovations instead of the ringing shout of protest that such a speech will unquestionably deserve, because the only speech Bush should be making tonight is one that involves his Vice-President being arrested for war crimes and his resignation from office. That speech I would watch.
This one? I'll pass.
Labels: State of the Union Address