28 January 2008

Bush Makes Farewell State of the Union Address

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008, 11:29 pm -- This writer from The Hill newspaper observed something that was missed by the TV audience watching the speech last night -- all eyes in the House of Representatives chamber were on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Everyone was frequently looking over to see how they reacted with each other, and with President Bush's final State of the Union address.

Not boring, not brilliant. But pretty damn good. George W. Bush has always been good on delivery. Except for when he's smirking. Personally, the smirk never bothered me. It was the body language that came out of his confidence. But as a former PR practitioner, I knew it would piss off his opponents, and be used to suggest he was just a cowboy.

Nearly an hour long. Lots of applause -- some genuine, some staged. Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama looking happy. Hillary Clinton looking like she's had a bad day. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's meds must have worn off after about 10 minutes into the speech. Her machine gun fast eye-blinking started up again. Maybe the Associated Press has the answer (I haven't read it all yet).

BTW, here is the full text of his address.

After a brief time talking about domestic issues -- particularly the habit of loading up bills with earmarks (pork projects) -- Bush spent quite a bit of time talking about freedom for oppressed peoples, and strongly tweaked his critics regarding military progress in the Middle East. Supposedly, some of the Code Pink war critics, were going to be seated in the gallery. If they were there, they didn't seem to make a peep.

Bush ignored the gun issue in America and the debate which pits advocates of control over individal safety against those who cherish individual responsibility and the basic human right of self defense. Of concern was the news that one of the people invited to sit in the gallery near First Lady Laura Bush was Kevin Sterne, the student photoraphed being carried out of Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus after the shootings there. The Eagle Scout had fashioned a tourniquet around his leg, and the video and photos were carried worldwide.

Sterne's mother, Suzanne Grimes, has been involved since the incident last year with gun control organizations, particularly the so-called Protest Easy Guns group that failed in an attempt to push through several draconian legislative proposals in the Virginia legislature in just the past two weeks. In the name of safety, lawmakers there rejected the feel-good provisions being pushed by Virginia's governor.

In this, President Bush's final State of the Union address, he pledged to keep America safe by advancing freedom worldwide. I would have settled for him pledging to keep America safe by opposing ridiculous, politically motivated gun control laws. Laws that do nothing but control honest people, and give criminals free rein to terrorize urban neighborhoods and shoot up "victim zones" such as schools, universities and shopping malls.

Safety comes from people looking out for one another, not cowering, waiting for overworked police to arrive. Safety comes from the provisions of our Bill of Rights being safeguarded, and not chipped away.

This time next year, I truly hope the person behind the lecturn isn't slashing and burning their way toward the "change" all the current presidential candidates say is necessary. The only changes necessary are to quit penalizing Americans for being successful, and infringing on our right to protect our lives with the tools of our choice.s

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