The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, February 03, 2005

The state of the union is..... delusional.

Some thoughts on last night's speech. The prez surprised me by sticking to his 'end of tyranny' line. This after members of the admin quickly backtracked after criticism of this line during the inaugural. They must be looking at some seriously fluctuating numbers in their focus groups. He stood for the constitutional marriage amendment again, after backing away from it in the last couple of months.

It was great to hear the Democrats actually boo the prez on his Social Security fakery. On the other hand, it was frustrating to hear all the "enforced applause" they had to give lines that contained words like freedom and liberty. Wouldn't want to be accused of being anti-freedom, would they? I would have preferred to see Dems sit stone-faced through the entire spiel, applauding nothing. But the press would be all over them. A lose-lose situation. Other fakery received no notice-- his mention of adding 2.3 million jobs last year, when that isn't enough to cover the number of people newly looking for work. A net job loss. And how about the assertion that home ownership is at an all-time high? As it happens, home ownership has hit a record high every year since they've started counting-- more than forty years. With the skill these guys have of packaging failure as success, I should call them in to retool my resume. Another big switcheroo was his line on Pell grants. The amount has stayed at $4,000 during his presidency, in spite of rising tuition costs. His proposed "increase"? $100. Or the cost of one textbook and a notepad. Meanwhile, the admin has fiddled with the qualifications for receiving a Pell grant-- and about 90,000 families will no longer be eligible. In other words, he's cutting Pell grants.

And speaking of frustration, the carefully stage-managed encounter between the soldier's parents and the Iraqi woman was met with an utter lack of skepticism by the press. Cokie Roberts apparently referred to it as "totally spontaneous." That isn't a phrase that describes anything this admin has done. Has everyone forgotten about the choreographed questions that were the centerpiece of W's campaign appearances? This is the most calculating administration ever. But again, any openly critical Dems would be keelhauled by the media. Another tasteless bit of hackery? The purple finger maneuver. This was predicted by many Dems yesterday, and sure enough...

On to Pelosi and Reid's response. It was dull as dirt, they were stiff and uninspiring. But those of us concerned with substance are in the minority-- it's all about looking "folksy" and sounding positive and chummy. I see ridicule at the hands of the media in their near future. Sigh. One bright spot was Reid's reference to the debt being incurred by the admin-- and the trillions of dollars necessary to privatize Social Security-- as a "birth tax" on all future Americans. Now that's the way to frame the debate.

Yes, W's speech was a crock. It was all sloganeering and jingoism, without a bit of substance. The whole thing sounded like a series of one-liners, with planned pauses for applause. Needless to say, the press will use words like bold, daring, and other barbecue sauce adjectives to describe it. But that's why we're tuning out, right?