State of the Union

My thoughts on President Bush’s State of the Union Address:

War/Foreign Policy: As usual, this was the strongest part of the president’s address. Once again, the enemy was identified as practicioners of radical Islam — a point that needs to be driven home to those ambivalent regarding the war.

The most telling moment of the entire speech came during the president’s defense of his terrorist surveillance program:

If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it — because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

As the Republicans applauded, one side of the aisle remained — quite noticeably — sitting back.

Domestic/Economic: The whole “hopeful society” bit seemed a bit cliched to me. I did like his focus on competitiveness and his continuing stance on tax relief. It’s hard for me to see how the Democrats don’t find their refusal to applaud tax relief embarrassing, but alas, I’m a conservative, and I don’t understand a lot of what makes the Dems tick.

Regarding education, I liked the proposal to “bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms.” I’d like to see a lot more of this. People who actually work in the field are often much more enthusiastic about their subjects than teachers who only had a course or two in their university education programs.

The most thought-provoking statement in the speech for me was this:

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation — a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies such as welfare reform, drug education, and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country. And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, has a right to be proud of this record.

Is there truly a revolution of conscience at work in America? I’m skeptical, but I hope it is true. Whether this transformation is taking place or not remains to be seen, but it is a noble goal for our society.

All in all, SOTU 2006 was a good speech, maybe not as rousing as 2002 or 2003, but it did draw a line in the sand for the Democrats, who seemed awfully comfortable in their seats.

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