Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The state of Bush's America

I cannot even begin to tell you how angry Bush's SOTU speech made me. It was a blatant attempt at moral grandeur, and no doubt his own kind bought it all, but it was really nothing more than hollow, manipulative rhetoric dressed up to look and sound impressive. (The full transcript of the speech is here.)

He once again linked 9/11 to Iraq, closed off debate where debate could challenge his facile worldview and failed policies, vilified his opponents as somehow unpatriotic, justified unethical and perhaps illegal conduct, reduced complex issues down to a state of black-and-white polarization, glossed over his own and his administration's mismanagement of affairs domestic and foreign, and, as usual, offered nothing in the way of concrete solutions to America's, and the world's, problems.

Once again he divided America, played to that division, and proved to be nothing but a partisan idealist masquerading as the bringer of democracy and freedom, the harbinger of some utopian future.

Some will say -- to borrow one of Bush's own straw-man tactics -- some will say that he was bold, resolute, presidential. Some will say that he said all the right things, pointing America in the right direction, the right leadership in troubled times.

But some, them, are wrong. Look past the superficial. Look at what was really there, what he really said, and what he didn't.

Is America a great country? Yes. My criticism of Bush should never be taken for criticism of America. But what of the state of Bush's America? Is it strong? Where it is strong, it is strong in spite of Bush. But, overall, the State of the Union would be a lot stronger without the leadership, or lack thereof, of this president.

Simply, it is time to move on, past the divisiveness and political mismanagement of the past five years. President Bush may have three years left in office, but America needs new leadership if she is to be truly strong again.

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There will be a lot of reaction in the blogosphere to tonight's SOTU. I encourage you to check out the many great blogs in my blogroll over on the right sidebar. I'll have more reaction of my own tomorrow, once the speech sinks in and I've given it more thought, with a round-up of reaction from around the blogosphere.

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