The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

The State of Our Union

As I’ve done every year since…hell, 1995?…I took in last night’s State of the Union Address. A few things I took away:

Economic Issues: Don’t hold your breath on that tax break check, cause there’s gonna be a line item that funds a project in Podunk, MS (more on earmarks later). This is Bush establishing his legacy as a (somewhat) fiscal conservative. Though, if one remembers history, his father made the same pledges (“read my lips: no new taxes!”), and ended up raising them anyway. So I’m a little skeptical. But then again, a tax cut is always a good thing-even if it doesn’t affect me personally. And somehow, I bet those “151 wasteful or bloated programs” that are going to be eliminated will piss off blacks, Hispanics, gays, straights…just about everyone. And maybe that’s the real Bush legacy: pissing people off in the best interests of the country.

Earmarks: Cutting pork this drastically should do a lot for the country’s blood pressure. Look, some of these earmarks (funding volunteer fire/EMS departments) are great, and should be continued. And if brought to an open vote, they would most likely pass (few thousand dollar ambulance vs. billion dollar program that may/may not provide meaningful results for years. Which would you take?). But the President’s right: debate it in plain sight. Unfortunately, this may mean that the government spends the rest of this fiscal year and part of next under continuing resolutions…

Education: LOVE how Bush mentioned that minorities are doing much better under NCLB than they were before it, since it’s mostly minorities who don’t like it. I like the Pell Grants for Kids idea as well, though I would be interested to see how many people take advantage of it. My personal is that the feds should take over failing public school systems, but that idea would NEVER pass.

“Matters of life and science”: Compromise is a good thing, to an extent; if we can get adult skin cells to act like stem cells, great. However, does the onus then shift from creating embryos to be slaughtered in the name of research (bad) to adults prostituting themselves at their local research lab (questionable)?

Rebuilding New Orleans: Been there, and my views did change about what happened with Katrina. Fine. But, Mr. President, a lot of people in New Orleans still don’t like you, and probably never will. Why reward them? Besides, the part of New Orleans you’re going to be in isn’t where the devastation is/was, and security is going to be so tight that there’s no way in hell that anyone’s going to let you out of downtown without a Blackwater escort. And, really: isn’t it about time we let the city fend for itself a bit?

Immigration: Legal immigration is good. Have no problem with it. We physically can’t send 12 million illegals packing; don’t like that, but okay. The law says deport, our “highest ideals” say “maybe you can stay.” What’s the compromise here?

Foreign Policy (minus Iraq, Iran, and Israel): Afghanistan gets a surge! Boy, if THAT isn’t validation. Glad that we’re going to stay on the offense against terrorists and radical islamists-at least until January 20 of next year. I wish more people would realize what the president said last night (and what I’ve said before): AMERICA SPREADS THE HOPE OF FREEDOM TO PROTECT OUR OWN. Realize that if Afghanistan wanted a country ruled under sharia, they could’ve chose that. We wouldn’t have liked it, but that’s what makes democracy great…right? And to jump ahead a bit, the president said exactly what he should’ve about Sudan: five words.

Iraq: Since I agree on the overall message (fund the troops, and we’ll start bringing them home when conditions on the ground warrant), a couple of observations. First, is it just me, or did this part of the speech have a twinge of arrogance on it (“I won, when you a—holes said I couldn’t! Ha!)? Second, I will offer a reward (a meager one, I am a government employee!!) for WHOEVER can tell me what Rep. Pelosi said when the president mentioned bringing some of the troops back.

Israel: Maybe Israel and the soon-to-be-created Palestine need a demilitarized zone similar to that in Korea. I’m optimistic about what Bush might be able to get accomplished there (he did appoint a three-star to keep an eye on things), but I’m cautiously optimistic. This is another attempt at making his legacy greater than Iraq, and I hope that it works.

Iran: Not as big of a gauntlet as Bush threw down with Iraq; maybe because we just can’t take them on right now. Maybe because Bush knows that he can’t start this fight so late in his presidency. Here’s how it sounded to me:

To the people of Iran: what happened in Iraq is not going to happen to you. If you want to be free, get yours without our troops. To the leaders of Iran: you can’t have a nuke. Sorry. And if you want to be down, look at what Libya did for an example of what you should do. We’re not going to invade you. But if you keep screwing with our Navy, eventually you’re going to piss us off.

And that’s a message I can live with.

Homeland Security: “Congress, stop arguing, and help me keep the country safe.” Really, that was all that was-and needed to be-said.

Veterans and Military Families: The two most underappreciated groups in America today. Though I would’ve liked to see a push for expansion of the GI Bill altogether. The problem with any sort of military-related legislation-whether it’s for the troops, veterans, or families-is that it always becomes a referendum on whatever military activity is going on at the time. So that’s what we can expect from any sort of veteran/military family-related legislation until Bush leaves. Which, in effect, means that none of it will pass.

Best-and Worst-Lines:

“Let us show [the people] that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time.” Hope so….but I doubt it.

“We believe that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens. And so in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free peoples to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives for their futures.” Empower, yes. Do it for them, no!

“Members of Congress should know: If any bill raises taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it,” and “If you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I’ll send it back to you with my veto.” Good promises, both-and I have no doubt he means them. But refer back to all the withdrawal legislation that Congress passed-and was ultimately vetoed-to show how well they listen.

“We share a common goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer choice, not government control.” Back to empowering your people and not taking care of their responsibilities for them…

“General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in the “disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, al Qaeda-Iraq regaining lost ground, [and] a marked increase in violence.” Members of Congress: Having come so far and achieved so much, we must not allow this to happen.” But will they listen?

“Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them.” One of the worst lines in the speech. Whoever wrote that should be fired. Shouldn’t they be honored EVERY night?

The Democratic Response

A brief examination on some of the remarks:

“In fact, right now, tonight, as political pundits discuss the President’s speech — chances are, they’ll obsess over the reactions of members of Congress.”How many times was the President interrupted by applause? Did Republicans stand? Did Democrats sit?” And the rest of us will roll our eyes and think, “What in the world does any of that have to do with me?” Really, it has a lot to do with us-because the issues that the democrats sat on are some of the most important to this country. So it speaks to the kind of leadership they will provide if/when they win the White House, and how many of the gains we’ve made will be rolled back.

“The new Democratic majority of Congress and the vast majority of Americans are ready — ready to chart a new course. If more Republicans in Congress stand with us this year, we won’t have to wait for a new President to restore America’s role in the world, and fight a more effective war on terror.” Yeah, THAT ain’t happening…at least not before January.

“Thank you for listening. God bless and sleep well. And in the morning, let’s get to work.” Brit Hume from Fox News said it best: “I think we’re all going to work in the morning.”




Written by Coby Dillard

January 29, 2008 at 6:30 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I din’t watch much. I just heard cussing at the tv from the other room.

    I came in said turn the channel of all you are gonna do is swear at the tv. He was cussing at the fact that the Dems will shoot most if not all of it down.

    Then I sat and watched. I thought it was odd that only some were standing and clapping. Then I was told that them not standing were the Dems.

    My fave part was when they panned to the guy that was yawning.

    Why did they feel the need to stand and clap at the end of every sentce or paragraph?

    interested reader

    January 30, 2008 at 5:05 pm

  2. Mostly, it’s for show. Of course the Republicans will stand and applaud when it’s an issue that’s important to them.


    January 30, 2008 at 5:15 pm


    Read this blog and all the comments.

    I am most surprised by what I have read in the comments. It also concerns me very much.

    interested reader

    January 31, 2008 at 9:34 pm

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