Wednesday, January 21, 2004
The State of the Union, and the Democrat response: President Bush's State of the Union Address was like most of their ilk -- too dang long. I caught snatches of speech as I was working last night. By the time I got off work and had watched online video of the speech and the Democrat response I was to exhausted to write. Your patience shall be rewarded. Some highlights:
Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us.
And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells and to seize their assets. For years, we have used similar provisions to catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists.
Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year.
The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.
The angst over the Patriot Act among Democrats and others on the loony left isn't really about the law itself -- it's about who is enforcing the law. Janet Reno doesn't scare them; John Ashcroft does. If the Democrats were really serious about the so-called civil liberties issues, then they would also be pushing for legislation repealing the laws that allow the government to use the disputed tactics against organized crime figures.
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands. . . .
. . . Norway, El Salvador and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.
As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support.
There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.
It was a good thing President Bush mentioned this in such a widely disseminated speech. The Democrat presidential hopefuls (and, as you shall see, Democrats in the Congress), especially Sen. John Kerry, have been characterizing the U.S. as going it alone. Kerry's characterization of those 34 countries is that they are a "fraudulent coalition."
Apparently for Democrats, any coalition without France and/or Germany isn't really a coalition at all. Democrat candidates have made a point of saying that they will "repair" the breach Bush has allegedly opened between the U.S. and France (the breach was really opened by France, not the U.S.). But if the Democrat candidate actually wins in November, what effect will his vitriolic attacks on the coalition of the willing have on the relationship between the U.S. and each of those countries? How will British PM Tony Blair react to being part of a "fraud?"
On domestic issues, the speech was just too involved. Professional athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs isn't really fodder for the SOTU speech.
The Democrats' response: Rep. Nancy Pelosi looked she was a hostage. The wide eyes and the unnatural smile were just creepy. I've seen her do press interviews and she doesn't look like that. The media always characterizes these speeches as "responses" though they really aren't a response to the SOTU speech. The "response" is much too important to leave it to a politician to respond on the fly.
Pelosi's portion of the speech -- on foreign policy -- shows how that sort of thing can backfire.
But even the most powerful nation in the history of the world must bring other nations to our side to meet common dangers.
The president's policies do not reflect that. He has pursued a go-it-alone foreign policy that leaves us isolated abroad and that steals resources we need for education and health care here at home.
The president led us into the Iraq war on the basis of unproven assertions without evidence. He embraced a radical doctrine of preemptive war unprecedented in our history, and he failed to build a true international coalition.
President Bush names 17 nations and leaves another 17 unnamed in his speech, and the response says it is a "go-it-alone" foreign policy and he has failed to build a "true" coalition. Oops.
Pelosi also says that we went to war without evidence. This is false. We went to war with faulty intelligence. Pelosi's statement is designed to imply that Bush lied, when the truth is the intelligence was bad -- and Pelosi knows it. She's on the House intelligence committee. Was she, or any other Democrat saying there were no WMDs in Iraq and Saddam was telling the truth before the invasion? Before Bush even took office?
Instead of the diplomatic disengagement that almost destroyed the Middle East peace process and aggravated the danger posed by North Korea, let us seek to forge agreements and coalitions, so that together with others we can address challenges before they threaten the security of the world.
There is no peace process in the Middle East -- and it has nothing to do with the United States. The Palestinians want to push the Jews into the sea. Until that changes, nothing we do matters.
We "aggravated the danger posed by North Korea"? By doing what? Not keeping the rose-colored glasses on when it came to North Korea violating the Agreed Framework? By dealing with the world as it really is and not how liberals wish it might be?
The majority of Americans realize that we're still at war. This "response" demonstrate that Democrats aren't serious about looking at the world as it is -- a dangerous place. Pelosi makes the case that -- the presidential hopefuls aside -- Congress certainly can't be trusted to the Democrats.