George W. Bush started off tonight's State of the Union address combative, then turned suddenly toward a whole list of fairly compelling bipartisan ideas.
Bush really believes what he says, and believes that what he wants is best for the world, and he believes the purity of his intentions translates to the purity of his actions. Unfortunately, he makes enormous logical leaps, and he basically said tonight that he won't listen to anyone who suggests he might be wrong. "There is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success and defeatism," he said. So apparently if you tell him you don't think his plan is going to work he just ignores you. That explains far too much. He said that we need to stay in the Iraq war because if we don't keep fighting terrorists, they'll attack again. What's the link between terrorists and Iraq again? We still don't know. (There may be other reasons not to abandon Iraq now, but the terrorism links have led nowhere). He also asked Congress to re-authorize the Patriot Act, and when the Democrats looked skeptical, said that it was needed, because, he reminded us, right after the World Trade Center attacks, we were all upset that no one had connected the dots about the conspiracy. But that wasn't about a lack of information; it was about failing to understand the information we had. Are we making any progress on that side of things? And then he called for tax cuts.
Then all of a sudden he aimed at some common ground. He said that immigration is good. He said that health care should be affordable, though it turned out that what he really meant by that is more people having health savings accounts, which do let you set aside money before taxes to pay for healthcare, but don't lower the doctors' actual bills. He said we need more math and science education and research. And then he said we need more research on alternative fuel sources. George W. Bush actually said we need to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy." Wow. Good idea, and nice to hear it.
The thing is, particularly here in smoggy, traffic-clogged Los Angeles, many people would rather have a car that runs on ethanol than a tax cut. It's just that we don't see how you can have everything at once. Oh, sorry, we're being defea -- logical.