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Opinion by Eddie London, editor

 

A recent Washington Post - ABC news poll showed Bush with a 42 percent approval rating, lower than any other post-war president at the start of his sixth year in office except Nixon.

Bush won the 2004 election with a lower approval rating than any other reelected president of the post-World War II era. Over the past two years, even that low approval dropped. He needed to present himself in a way that would please at least a majority of the voting population.

What he did was more of the same: After much self-promotion, a vague description of how he and his administration were going to help America prosper for the next year and in the future, punctuated by standing ovations mostly from both congressional Republicans and Democrats—but never to the same proposals.

Bush’s rhetorical devices were predictable and easily detectable. His borderline metaphorical explanation of how Americans will be freed from the fact that we are “addicted to oil,” used a tactic of stimulating fear in his audience. His determination to continue the war in the Middle East was made clear when he stated, “We will never surrender to evil…we love our freedom and we will fight for it.”

Bush said he wants us to “join the fight against terror,” “end tyranny in our world,” “act boldly in freedom’s cause,” “Stand behind the military in this vital mission,” “Disarm, reject terrorism, and live in peace,” and he assured us that “the road of victory is the road that will lead our troops home.”
This all sounds well and good, but in reality, he declared “mission accomplished” when he landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003, and this speech made it clear that the mission was not accomplished, as we are still fighting a war on terror. The only way to bring the troops home is for the majority of the public and elected officials to demand that this war stop and that our troops are brought home.

As for our addiction to oil, Bush said we need to move beyond a petroleum-based economy and that we will by 2005. He proclaimed that since 2001 more than $10 billion has been spent on alternative, safe forms of energy. Bush presented nuclear power plants, windmills, solar energy, coal plants, “switch grass,” and a new type of ethanol fuel as types of safe forms of energy. Nothing new, in other words. Not a word about Americans conserving oil by driving slower or choosing a more practical car than American-made gas-guzzling SUVs.

Bush made multiple comments during his speech in regards to the re-instatement of the USA Patriot Act and he denied allegations of unconstitutional violations of rights and privacy laws by claiming a nonsequitur: “(Law enforcement agencies) deserve the same tools to fight drug trafficking and organized crime to fight terrorism.” His rationale: it’s okay to wiretap and search and arrest without warrants as long as it is in the name of freedom and ridding the world of terrorism.

Meanwhile AT&T, SPRINT, and MCI have already given up all their phone records of everyone of their clients to the NSA and other federal agencies without seeing a warrant.

Bush made several quick statements about domestic security, such as “America needs stronger border control and protection.” But he proposed no plan to accomplish this.

His statements on domestic policy seemed limited to the proclamation that he wanted to “make the tax cuts permanent.” The tax cuts he is referring to are the much-debated income tax and capital gains dividend breaks that were given the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans when Bush implemented the new tax code in 2004.

Bush said that for America to stay competitive we need to be concerned about the level of education the latest generations are getting. He said more young people should be looking into jobs in nanotechnology and super computers. Bush claims that we will be able to do this regardless of the recent $12 billion cut in federal student aid, and by spending a proposed $440 billion this year on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Overall few people felt any truth in this State of the Union address. I don’t know how Bush can honestly think any of these things he proposed in his imaginary Utopian view of the world are going to take place if he continues to repeat his past mistakes.

Nothing that Bush has proposed— continuing the war, preserving unneeded and inappropriate taxcuts, and exponentially increasing the federal debt by spending more and more money, into the trillions of dollars—is even economically feasible without mortgaging the future of the country.

Bush is treating the public as if we are confused, oblivious, and distracted children. Although some of us may very well fit his perception. Those of us who are interested in a peaceful and prosperous future should be cautious of his deceitful and flimsy rhetorical tricks as well as the lies he asserts as truth.

 

 

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