Bush's final State of the Union was just more of the same
By DOUG THOMPSON
The snake-oil salesman tried once again Monday night to sell his illusions to a skeptical audience that stopped listening to him years ago.
George W. Bush's final State of the Union speech marked a sad, pathetic footnote to a failed Presidency: a dismal, clueless exercise in fear-mongering and falsehood; a monument to arrogance and bluster; and a testament to the depths to which this nation's government has sunk.
For the most part, this seventh and last SOTU was pure Bush: a mixture of unreality and unrelenting hyperbole, delivered in the stilted, halting style of a failed orator.
He tried to convince an skeptical Congress to become more of a co-conspirator to his failed polices, urging the House and Senate to make his failed programs permanent as a lasting monument to his corrupt legacy.
Congress must, he said, make his tax cuts permanent -- a move certain to deepen the record deficits that he will leave to the next President.
It must, he demanded, legalize his warrantless wiretapping bill to make government spying on American citizens the alw of the land -- cementing his destruction of the Constitution and destroying what little is left of the freedoms we once thought were bedrocks of the American way of life.
It must continue to send billions off to pay for his failed war in Iraq and support a military presence there that will last well into the next decade if not much, much longer.
But even Congress knows a lame duck when it sees one and, with one eye on the approaching November elections, few -- Democrat or Republican -- are willing to listen to the ravings of George W. Bush.
As Larry Markasak of The Associated Press reports:
A lame duck president called again for immigration reform, an end to lawmakers' pet projects, control of Social Security spending and making tax cuts permanent. Democrats have rejected those Bush initiatives before.
And, in a sign that the dominant political battles will not be in Congress, many in the House chamber kept an eye during the speech on Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton — bitter rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. They sat close to each other, but managed not to shake hands.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who hours earlier had endorsed Obama over Clinton, reached out to shake Sen. Clinton's hand when she came near.
Delivering the televised Democratic response, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urged Bush to work with a Congress controlled by her party.
"The last five years have cost us dearly — in lives lost, in thousands of wounded warriors whose futures may never be the same, in challenges not met here at home because our resources were committed elsewhere," she said. "America's foreign policy has left us with fewer allies and more enemies."
Bush's time has, indeed, passed and many in Congress and among the American public, wish it was a time that had never happened. His legacy will be a failed, corrupt Presidency that drove this nation to the brink of the abyss and could yet plunge America into it. He has, after all, nearly a year left to complete his dismantling of the Constitution and final elimination of what little integrity is left of the office of President.
In usual Bush style, he twisted facts, played the terrorism fear card and claimed credit for successes that don't exist. He claims of success in Iraq came on a day when five American soldiers died -- the bloodiest death toll for our troops in a long time.
He continues to claim America's economy is sound at a time then millions have lost their homes, a record number of Iraq vets are homeless and this country slides deeper into recession.
Yes, the President of the United States gave Congress and America his view of the State of the Union Monday night. As he has six times before, he presented a view obscured by illusion, illogic and incoherence.
America is in a sorry state...and it sailed into those dangerous waters with George W. Bush at the helm of the ship of state. But this captain will not go down with his ship. He will walk away and leave others to try and save the sinking U.S.S. America.