SOTU Reactions 2006

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.

VodkaPundit also liveblogged the SOTU, and serves up a healthy dose of snark.

Glenn Reynolds gives it a positive, but hardly glowing review.

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…

9 thoughts on “SOTU Reactions 2006

  1. Nice coverage and analysis tonight Jay! I think I was a little bit more impressed overall then you were, but like so many of the rest of us conservatives, I’d like to see a few more details on what he has in mind for energy, science and education. And wasn’t that display by the Dems at the mention of Social Security reform about as classless as it comes? Of course, they walked right in to the trap…

  2. Walked into the trap? If the last round of polls on the issue were any indication, nearly 75% of Americans were joining the Democrats to give standing ovations to the defeat of Social Security privatization.

  3. I agree that conservation should be our first, second and third goals. The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use. I’m not sure myself what our energy future should be, but I think we’ll have a better shot at getting it right if we understand our energy present first.

    One way to grab some energy knowledge and be entertained at the same time is to take a look at a techno-thriller novel called “Rad Decision” that is available at no cost to readers. This book, written by a longtime nuclear engineer (me), explores the real world of nuclear power as well as other electrical sources. Readers seem to like it, judging from comments on the website’s homepage:

  4. Mark,

    Leadership is about making hard decisions. And reforming and fixing Social Security is a hard decision that, unfortunately, a large of our population has stuck it’s fingers in their collective ears and ignored because of Dem/MSM rhetoric. Just because the public doesn’t support it doesn’t mean SSI doesn’t need to be severely overhauled. Or would you prefer that our economy collaspe as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid reach the point where there is not enough money coming in to pay for them anymore? Ask France, Germany, GM and Ford how well that’s working out for them.

    And for falling into the trap? How about looking totally foolish, petty and obstructionist on national tv without any of their usual filters in place to protect them from themselves.

  5. You stated the following:
    “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.”

    I agree with not falling behind. The South African Pebble Bed Modular Reactor project (with some participation by Westinghouse) is also progressing well.

    In addition, there is at least one small American company that has been working on pebble bed reactor and power systems for more than a dozen years. You can find out about Adams Engines at (I am the founder, so I know a bit about the company.)

  6. Greg, take it up with the American people….PLEASE! The more Bush tried to sell his “let’s SAVE Social Security by taking a trillion dollars out of the trust fund and giving it to my stock broker enablers” scheme, the higher the percentage of people who disapproved of it. At least Bush took the hint and shut his mouth. Thankfully for the Dems, you guys don’t appear to be bright enough to quit while you’re behind as you continue to preach Social Security privatization riffraff.

  7. The Social Security issue will hurt the Dems. The lie that a system that is already being used by federal employees (the Federal Thrift Savings Plan) that has a total overhead of less than 1% is the kind of idiotic argument that the Dems use when they’ve nothing more than lies to fight back with.

    All the Republicans have to do to beat the Democrats is say that in 2017 Social Security starts going into the hole. The Democrats want to let that happen. We don’t, and we are willing to work with the Democrats on a solution, but they don’t want to do that. In politics, having something will always beat having nothing, and the Democrats have nothing.

  8. Jay, by all means, I encourage you Republicans to make Social Security privatization the central theme of Campaign 2006. I want to see just how low public approval for private accounts can go in opinion polls. Could it fall into single-digit levels of support? Perhaps. Considering that every time the GOP hyped the issue support for the plan fell by another 10 points, I wouldn’t be the least surprised. Kind of fun watching a Bush initiative approval rating “limbo contest”.

  9. Mark, By taking it to the American people, I would say fine. Let’s bring it on. But in return, your side doesn’t get to have the media lying through it’s teeth about the proposal to generate false negatives. Everyone I know that was against the plan ended up liking it once it was explained to them what it was really going to do. And once again, you prove the point for Jay and myself. All you have is empty rhetoric and no ideas of your own to present. So come on, what would you do to fix it? And no easy answers like raising taxes. That has been proven time, and time again to not work. Let’s here it. What are the Dems going to do to fix this problem? Certainly something has to be done, since, as Jay said, we only have a few more years before the whole thing goes bankrupt.

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