SOTU Reaction

Well, Bush delivered his first State of the Union address last night. I watched it with a group of fellow College Republicans in St. Paul, and the reactions were all positive.

This was not a Bill Clinton speech. This was not an Al Gore speech. This was a speech by a man who knows what he has to do, how he wants to do it, and no force in heaven or hell will get in the way of that goal. This was a Texas speech – full of pride but also humility. A speech which outlines a clear new national purpose, and provides a warning to our enemies.

Sept. 11 marked a new America, and this speech helps illuminate it. As the President said, it’s no longer about the tired old maxims of "if it feels good, do it". It’s "let’s roll" time now. President Bush articulated the new conservatism in that statement – a conservatism that preserves our past heritage by working to build a better future. The President reminded us of the forces that made us great – free markets, free speech, and hard work. Nowhere in that list were government subsidies, taxes, or Tom Daschle. Those are the values which we must defend, and those are the values that President Bush pushed in this speech.

Where the speech started to falter was in the domestic programs. While it’s clear that the President is trying to co-opt the Democrat’s agenda, he risks alienating some conservatives by increasing government spending more and more. I think a lot of us would have preferred for him to illustrate ways in which the private sector can accomplish those goals without the heavy hand of government regulation.

The striking aspect of this speech was the forcefulness and conviction of the President. His brilliant address on Sept. 20 was no fluke. This is a man who has found his purpose in life, who is guided by a deep and abiding faith, and who has a clarity of vision that we need in these times of crisis. It’s time we had a President who believes in something greater than himself, and it’s high time we all followed that example.