The first half of the speech sounded good for the most part. Conservation, hydrogen cars and a clean air program sound good. But, I don’t believe he means it. I guess I’m cynical, but I don’t believe him. Without the details of the plan, I have no idea if the “Clean Air” program is really a “Funnel more money to people who gave me money and have them make token changes so we can make it look like we’re doing something” program. Couching the Dividend tax cut as double-taxation is hilarious. Ummm, we’re double-taxed all the time!! There are payroll taxes my employer pays. I then pay income taxes on that same money (or what’s left of it). I get taxed on the same income by the state I live in. Double taxation is The American Way™. If you want to remove one instance of tax double-dipping for the top 2% (or whatever it is, it’s close to 2%), then you should remove all double taxation and then I might go along with it. Right now, it’s just showing middle class folks like me that you really don’t care about us.
The Terrorism/Iraq stuff was better, well, at least it sounded better. The line about terrorists being “otherwise dealt with” was delivered too smug. It sounded like he got off on having them “whacked” and their lives were worthless. They may have been, and may have deserved to die, but none of the executed were given a trial, and that bothers me. It bothers me that the President admitted as much in front of the world. We all know dirty things happen that we’ll never know about. There’s something about a country admitting them that bothers me to no end. The talk about Iraq was solid. The list of things Saddam hasn’t divulged was illuminating, and it went a long way to convincing me that going into Iraq and forcefully removing Saddam is the right thing to do. While the list he gave was a great first step, and it’s what I think I needed to make an informed decision, I still want the supporting evidence. The good news is that we’ll probably get that evidence on the fifth when Colin Powell addresses the Security Council. If good evidence is presented there, then I’m on the bandwagon and support action. If not, well, I’m still on the fence. I support the folks in uniform no matter where our Government sends them. I grew up an Air Force brat and watched my dad ship off to all kinds of crazy places and know what it feels like to wonder if he’d come back (my brother and I never made our toy planes crash when we were little). Supporting the Government who sends them out is a different story, and the two can be mutually exclusive.
On the domestic and economy front, I think the President was in a no-win situation. There was nothing he could say that would overshadow the things he had to say about Iraq, no matter how much people are worried about the economy. That part of the speech fell flat for me as all I really wanted to hear was whether or not we’re going to war. The last half of the speech was much better and more powerful. He sounded resolute, and left no doubt where he stands, which may or may not be a good thing. We’ll have to see on the fifth.
The Democratic response was solid. In the time given, they didn’t really have time to go into details, but it left a good impression on me even if I can’t remember the details. The choice of a governor faced with a deficit partly caused by federally mandated but unfunded mandates was a good one. Using his grandfather as an example of the American Dream™© was masterful, and a great way to subtly show the Democratic opposition to the Republican views on Affirmative Action. Ok, I remember more than I thought…
In completely (and I mean completely) unrelated news, I have cheekbones!! I had NO idea they were under all that face-pudge. They started peeking through yesterday, and today, I can really see them. Jen says I should take a picture to show my progress and I think I’ll do that tonight if I’m not too tired after my eleven hour workday today.