Okay, it’s not entirely impossible to give a somewhat effective SOTU response:
I don’t really think I believe a politics where we don’t “demonize our opponents” is possible, but I liked the part about Iraq and al-Qaeda a great deal.
This is bad. On the other hand, SOTU responses are always bad. On an appropriate curve, I think she’s doing pretty well. But on another level, it’s just an impossible task; I think a sensible person would refuse to do it. In policy terms, I basically agree — S-CHIP good, global warming bad, etc., etc.
UPDATE: As many people are reminding me both in comments and IRL, Jim Webb gave a good response last year. Sebelius is, at any rate, better than such fiascos as Tim Kaine 2006 and Gary Locke 2003.
I stand by my pregame predictions. The thing about patenting human life was odd. I’m concerned that human-animal hybrids using steroids may have taken over Mars already. We need to get that manned mission going, pronto.
A Republican Congressman — who appeared to be Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) — greeted Bush on his way up to the podium and planted a gentle kiss on the President’s cheek. Watch it:
Bush said: “Over the past 7 years, we have increased funding for veterans by more than 95 percent. As we increase funding, we must also reform our veterans system to meet the needs of a new war and a new generation.”
FACT — 1.8 MILLION VETERANS LACK HEALTH INSURANCE: “The new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, estimated that in 2004 nearly 1.8 million veterans were uninsured and unable to get care in veterans’ facilities.” [New York Times, 11/9/07] Read more
Bush said: “And our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is treating 1.4 million people [in Africa]. We can bring healing and hope to many more. So I ask you to maintain the principles that have changed behavior and made this program a success.”
FACT — BUSH’S AIDS POLICIES DIVERT FUNDS TO FAILED ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAMS: Bush’s policy states that one-third of money allocated for HIV prevention overseas go to abstinence-only programs. “In fact, a full two-thirds of the money for the prevention of the sexual spread of HIV goes to abstinence.” [American Prospect, 7/10/07] Read more
Bush said: “We have also changed the way we deliver aid by launching the Millennium Challenge Account. This program strengthens democracy, transparency, and the rule of law in developing nations, and I ask you to fully fund this important initiative.”
FACT — MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE PROGRAM WILL SOON BE BANKRUPT: “President Bush’s signature foreign-assistance program is likely to run out of money this year, leaving in the lurch several poor countries that have labored to meet its strict eligibility standards, according to aid officials. Mr. Bush introduced the Millennium Challenge program in 2002 as a new approach to fix the perceived failures of overseas-development assistance.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/22/07]
FACT — BUSH IGNORED DEMOCRACY DURING TRIP TO SAUDI ARABIA: During his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Bush didn’t meet with “one Saudi dissident or political activist, much less a democrat.” [Newsweek, 1/14/08]
Bush said: ” The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We have had ample time for debate. The time to act is now.”
FACT — IMMUNITY ABSOLVES TELECOM COMPANIES OF VIOLATING THE LAW: Immunity “would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants.” [Washington Post 10/18/07] Read more
Bush said: “One of the most important tools we can give them is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, the Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, the Congress set the legislation to expire on February 1. This means that if you do not act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. The Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted.”
FACT — TEMPORARY EXTENSION WOULD ALLOW NEW WIRETAPS TO BE IMPLEMENTED: A temporary extension would prevent the Protect America Act revisions from expiring on February 1, meaning new authorizations for surveillance would continue be governed by the Protect America Act revisions. If the extension is not passed, the Act’s “transition procedures” would cause all new authorizations to be governed by the FISA statute as it existed prior to the Protect America Act revisions. [Protect America Act]
FACT — GOVERNMENT WILL STILL BE ABLE TO WIRETAP TERRORISTS IF PROTECT AMERICA ACT EXPIRES: “Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, said in an interview that if the August bill was allowed to expire in 10 days, intelligence officials would still be able to continue eavesdropping on already approved targets for another year under the law.” [NY Times 01/23/08]