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The State of the Union: A Line Item Response

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President Bush's final State of the Union address by Just Say K.B. via Flickr

President George Bush delivered his final State of the Union address this evening. As we mercifully begin the transition out of the Bush era, let us examine the President's speech in typical Washington fashion: taking out a few lines here and there for the most opportune response.

We have faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve answered that call
Technically we have answered the call. Technically, if someone calls me, I pick up and then yell at them for a bit and hang up, I answered the call. Answering the call is different than having a conversation. Maybe that's what he means by "vigorous." In a presidency defined by rancorous campaigning and name calling, Bush has answered that call over and over.

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And let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time.
Gee, that sounds great. I hope Ohio’s former Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell doesn't show up and "deliver the election" as he did in 2004. Rigging an election isn't very cooperative.

America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace.
Slower pace. Hmmm, is that political speak for not at all? Last week, the federal government announced that just as 18,000 new jobs were created last month, the overall unemployment rate shot up to 5 percent, the largest spike in joblessness since Sept. 11. Hey, I hear there might be an opening for a brush clearing assistant in Crawford in 2009.

Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.
Zinger! Did you see the look on Hillary's face? I bet that was the same look she gave Bill after he walked in late every night from 1992 to 2000.

Next week, I will send you a budget that terminates or substantially reduces 151 wasteful or bloated programs totaling more than $18 billion.
I bet that doesn't include the nearly $500 trillion the war is costing us, including the millions in Iraqi Parliamentarian graft and no-bid contracts? Nah, probably just things like education programs, as he did in 2006. After all, children can't very well bring "Democracy" to Iraq, now can they?

American families have to balance their budgets, and so should their Government.
Wait, a fiscally conservative Bush? This can't be the same Bush that has overseen the biggest spending in the White House since the mid-60's? That's hilarious if it wasn't so sad. Discretionary spending went up in Bush's first term by 48.5 percent, not adjusted for inflation, more than twice as much as Bill Clinton did (21.6 percent) in two full terms. How's that for small government?

The people's trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks.
You know, President Bush, people's trust is also undermined when you spy on them. And when you lie to them. And when you send their sons and daughters off to war. And...ah, fuck it. How much time do we have left?

--Side note: Dick Cheney looks especially happy tonight. That curl on his right lip is almost transforming into a smile on both sides of his mouth. In fact, he looks like he has gas.--

We share a common goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.
Cut to Hillary, cut to Hillary, cut to...oooh yeah, there she is, stewing. I think I just saw her brain say, That's what I've been saying for like 15, freakin' years.

The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer choice, not government control.
First shot of Obama during the speech. He is going for the two finger over mouth with elbow on chair approach. Apparently, the Golden Rule still applies during the State of the Union.

[W]e will help ensure that decisions about your medical care are made in the privacy of your doctor's office -- not in the halls of Congress.
Except if you decide to have an abortion, which will be decided in the halls of the Supreme Court.

Six years ago, we came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results.
No they can't. Especially if you take into account its lack of evidence for change strategies, stringent focus on narrow curriculum, inadequate funding, top down mandates and cooked test scores.

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[Trade agreements] give us better access to nearly 100 million customers. And they will support good jobs for the finest workers in the world: those whose products say "Made in the USA."
I hope by 'finest workers' he's talking about the Chinese. If NAFTA is any indication of future trade agreements, jobs might be scarce. A study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that NAFTA is directly responsible for the loss of 1,673,454 U.S. jobs.

Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a new day in the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Katrina was, what, Labor Day of 2005? It is now winter 2008!

--I think Congressman John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan is sleeping. Awesome.--

Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power.
Nucular! Drink!

Last year, the Congress passed legislation supporting the American Competitiveness Initiative, but never followed through with the funding. This funding is essential to keeping our scientific edge.
That might be, but the fact that grade schools continually lag behind other developing nations in math and science might have something to do with it too. Just a guess.

Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace.
And when given guns will choose civil war.

[O]n a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder:
Sept. 11, 2001?! It is 2008! Stop trying to scare us and move on!

When we met last year, militia extremists -- some armed and trained by Iran -- were wreaking havoc in large areas of Iraq.
First mention of Iran! Drink!

When we met last year, our troop levels were on the rise.
Did you hear that? I think someone just yelled hoorah? Speaker Pelosi does not look happy. Cheney smiled. Or passed more gas.

And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our Nation.

Standing ovation on both sides of the aisle.

And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.
Tepid applause on both sides of the aisle.

Our [foreign policy] objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our strategy.
Attacking Iran.

America opposes genocide in Sudan.
The prepared text reads, "America is opposing genocide in Sudan." Should we read anything into the changed tense?

And so long as we continue to trust the people, our Nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the State of our Union will remain strong.
Or as strong as a nation that is about to enter into a recession, continues to endure an endless war and feels the tight squeeze of a crumbling housing market. Fuck it. Drink!