Well, this speech was pretty decent. Again, it wasn’t great, it wasn’t genius, and it made some bold moves and some less so, but it did the job.
The problem was that President Bush had an opportunity to get truly bold, and he only skirted the edge of these issues. Bush did a good job in the first half on the war and national security, but if we’re going to truly achieve the important goal of becoming a truly 21st Century economy, we need a radical and comprehensive plan to do so. That means a real commitment to nuclear energy. China is working on pebble-bed reactor technology that can provide massive amounts of cheap, clean, and safe nuclear energy. We can’t allow ourselves to fall behind.
Ed Morissey also liveblogged the speech and gave it a positive reaction. He also suffered through Kaine’s speech as well.
I’ll also briefly liveblog Tim Kaine’s Democratic response to the SOTU below. Kaine is widely considered a moderate, and his reactions could be interesting. We’ll see how he does in this most unenviable task.
9:16PM CST: Gov. Kaine is speaking. His tone is just a bit too much like a preacher, and he needs to bring his gestures up. His speaking style is even more atrocious than the President, and he has an odd way of bringing up the tone of his voice at the end of each sentence.
9:18PM CST: The message is decent Democratic red meat, but the speaking style is just horrific. Jerry Kilgore lost to this guy?!
We have learned one thing here. Tim Kaine has no future in national politics. That eyebrow is stuck permanently in the raised position. Kaine’s message is also negative, whiny, and his constant repetition that “there’s a better way” is great – if you actually illustrate what policies constitute “a better way”.
9:22PM CST: And now he’s channeling William Shatner. Really, as horrendous as the President’s oratorical skills are, this is just completely atrocious. If I had taken a drink for each time Kaine says “there’s a better way” I’d be drunker than Ted Kennedy right now. Whoever was the speechwriter for this speech should be fired.
9:24PM CST: Oddly enough, it’s the Democrats who are stronger on enforcing our borders than President Bush was. The Democrats are smart to focus on this issue and try to chip away at Bush’s base – although most people who care about immigration aren’t really going to buy the idea that the Democrats are going to be the party to crack down on illegal imigration.
9:26PM CST: Why can’t the Democrats find a decent speaker? Kaine’s message was fairly decent with a call to come together as Americans, but the presentation was simply atrocious. Granted, this is the toughest job in politics, but Kaine left me feeling underwhelmed.
The Democrats deserve some credit for chosing a Democratic moderate, and while Kaine was horrendous, he wasn’t offensive, which I suppose is a step up.
Powerline gave the speech a good review although they note that Bush’s heart doesn’t seem to be in domestic laundry lists. I did think he rushed the domestic section as well, and his best rhetoric was in the first half dealing with the war and foreign policy.
This garnered a chuckle: “does The Rock know that Kaine stole his trademark facial expression?”
Mark Steyn notes the the intrinsic bizarreness of the concept of an American Competitiveness Initiative. I agree that whole idea is typical SOTU fluff. The last two things that go well together is government and competitiveness. The best way to make America more innovative and competitive is for government to get the hell out of the way. Brian Riedl also criticizes that part of the speech.
Fred Barnes notes Bush’s historic first mention of switchgrass in a State of the Union address on Brit Hume’s show.
The women in the headscarf next to the First Lady was a member of the Afghani government.
It’s off to Family Guy for me – more tomorrow…