You knew he'd say that, and he did.
There's John Roberts, chatting and laughing with Condoleezza Rice. On his other side is Clarence Thomas, then Stephen Breyer, who's looking happy if wizened, and he's next to Samuel Alito, who's looking truly vibrant. He must feel great. He's hanging out with Breyer. We see a close up of Alito, and he seems to be pulling in his smile, as if maybe it's in bad taste to over-beam right now. No Sandra Day O'Connor, unless she's stashed away somewhere else. No Scalia. No Souter. No Stevens. No Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
There's Laura in a pink suit.
Bush's first words are about Coretta Scott King.
He speaks of bipartisanship, and then confidence pursuing American interests, as opposed to timid withdrawal. "The only way to protect our people... is by our leadership." Bipartisanship, but we're not pulling out. "We seek the end of tyranny in our world."
"We will act boldly in freedom's cause... We're writing a new chapter in the history of self-government." Security demands freedom everywhere, including Iran.
Bush decries "radical Islam, the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death."
"The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil." Applause. We see John Kerry giving a very quick standing ovation.
Progress in Iraq. Some grim faces in the audience, but there's Lieberman clapping. Bush looks happy, with a sneaking smile and crinkling eyes. "We are winning."
He accepts "responsible criticism": "Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy." After he says that, there is applause and his face is set, then suddenly his jaw rotates in a truly bizarre way. What was that? What emotion, held in, burst out right there? He's pissed at his opponents! "A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison." The camera fixes on John Kerry, who's looking down, perhaps following the script, perhaps wondering when this part would finally be over. Anything domestic coming up? Because this is getting old.
He processes the disheartening news of the Palestinian election: "The Palestinian people have voted in elections – now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace." He sticks to his beliefs in democracy: "Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity." He speaks to the people of Iran: "Our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."
He defends his surveillance program. After 9/11, there was criticism of failure to "connect the dots." "This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. 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." He says this last part with angry conviction. He is confident in this position, and I think this expression will be convincing to most listeners. There's a rousing standing ovation on one side of the aisle. On the other side, everyone's seated. We see Hillary Clinton, smiling quite brilliantly, but shaking her head in a Bush-is-wrong-as-usual way.
He's against "economic retreat." Being against retreat is the night's rhetorical device. His opponents, we're to think, want retreat.
"Make the tax cuts permanent." To let them end would be retreat, after all.
John McCain has been looking grim all night, but when Bush says "earmark reform" he beats his hands together wildly.
Is every female member of Congress wearing red? Nearly. Condi's in beige.
Social security... borders... health care. The health care topic includes medical malpractice reform.
"America is addicted to oil." Solution: technology.
Crime... welfare.... drugs... abortion. Things are getting better: "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." People need to be ethical, with some help from government, and correspondingly, government needs to be ethical: people are "concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage." Wait! That's a strange linkage! Corrupt elected officials and "activist" courts? Courts finding too many rights aren't being immoral or unethical, though they are disappointing people with a conservative social agenda. These folks want moral elected officials. But those of us who favor strong judicial support for individual rights are also opposed to government corruption. It's a slap in the face to put these things in the same category.
"The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito." We see each justice as he is named. Roberts has a clenched jaw and a downturned mouth that somehow reads as a proud smile. Alito has a similar serious face to start but then he breaks into a nice grin. Bush expresses thanks to Sandra Day O'Connor. But she's not there.
"Human life is a gift from our Creator," so don't mess with embryos. Interesting that this topic follows the part about the Supreme Court, isn't it?
Children... hurricane relief... poverty... bring hope to everyone. HIV/AIDS... end the waiting list for medicine.
Human beings determine the course of history. We have choices to make. "And so we move forward – optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come."
A nice, vigorous speech. Full of optimism and courage. Ack! Now the NBC commentators come on and talk first about the "deep divisions" in the room. The Republicans applauded a lot more than the Democrats. Isn't that disturbing? "We just plain disagree on every fundamental issue that is confronting this country," Tim Russert says in a dire tone. What can Bush get done? Very little! Hey, forget your damned optimism and get depressed fast, people.
Enough for me. I'm switching over the the TiVo'd "American Idol."
January 31, 2006
Posted by Ann Althouse at 8:01 PM
Tags: abortion, activist judges, Alito, American Idol, Breyer, Clarence Thomas, death, drugs, Ginsburg, Hillary, Iraq, Islam, Israel, John Roberts, judicial restraint, Justice Stevens, Kerry, law, marriage, O'Connor, religion, Scalia, Social Security, Souter, Supreme Court, terrorism, Tim Russert