Thursday, January 25, 2007

State of the Onion

President George W. Bush greets Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi before delivering his State of the Union Address at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, January 23, 2007. White House photo by Eric Draper, taken from the official White House site (www.whitehouse.gov). No copyright or other informaiton was on the site.

I watched the 2007 State of the Union Address. All of it. I even paid attention to a lot of it. But I have to admit that part of the reason I watched was similar to why I watch the various CSI shows: I kept waiting for the gory bits.

I knew that the Members of the US Congress, despite its new Democratic majority, would never boo Bush, no matter how much he might deserve it or provoke them. Still, I had to watch just in case.

I have to give credit where credit is due: I thought George was gracious in the start of his speech, and cynical ol’ me got a little choked up when he began…

Tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own—as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker.

His going on to congratulate Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the US House was the right touch for an historic moment. His mention of absent Members of Congress was similarly appropriate. But then he goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid:

Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate—and I congratulate the Democrat majority.

The majority party in the US Congress is the Democratic Party; for some reason, Republicans, especially right-wing ones, like to refer to the “Democrat Party,” which they seem to think is some sort of insult. It is, in the sense it’s using the wrong name, a bit like calling George Bush “Jeb” or something.

Right after the speech, all the pundits noticed this and pointed out that the official transcript correctly said “Democratic Party.” Maybe the one handed out in advance did, but the version on the White House web site reflects what he actually said, wrong though it was.

As for the substance of the speech—same old, same old. Some teasers about working on alternative fuels, greater fuel efficiency for cars, some sort of proposal on health care taxes and such—blah, blah, blah. I wasn’t paying all that much attention because as a lame duck president he’s going to have a hard time selling anything to Congress.

And despite the good feelings Bush legitimately created in the first few minutes of his speech, overall it was just repeating the same tired, failed policies, especially in Iraq. There was nothing there to capture my imagination, and certainly nothing—apart from those first few minutes—to make me think any better of him.

Oh, well. In less than two years a new president will be in charge.

Footnote: The "Onion" in the title of this post isn't just a little play on words; for me, "onion" is a metaphor for Bush's America: From the outside, it looks dry, crusty, unfriendly. Underneath that, it stinks, makes you cry and is impossible to swallow.

Addendum 30/01/2007: According to the Washington Post, Bush now claims his saying "Democrat Party" instead of its proper name (Democratic Party) "was an oversight". Also according to the Post, "Brendan Daly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said, 'We certainly take the president at his word.' That'd be a first, surely—and a last, we hope?

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Nice onion metaphor. Makes you cry and is hard to swallow. I couldn't have said it better.