Thursday, February 03, 2005
The Democrats' response: Unfortunately, I didn't set my DVR to record the president's State of the Union address. I did, however, get home in time to watch the replay of the Democrats' response.
I'm not usually one to criticize other peoples' appearance, but Rep. Nancy Pelosi scares the bejeezus out of me. Has she had a botox OD or has she just drawn her eyebrows really weird? People say that President Bush is a below-average speaker, Pelosi appears way below average.
You can find a transcript of Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid's remarks here.
Some from-the-hip reactions. Sen. Reid:
And after we worked so hard to eliminate the deficit, his policies have added trillions to the debt -- in effect, a "birth tax" of $36,000 on every child that is born.
You didn't work "so hard" to eliminate the deficit -- it was the tech bubble that made the deficit disappear -- a booming economy. This "birth tax," sounds like you're are opposed to it. Are there any other taxes that Democrats are opposed to or is this the only one?
After World War II, through the Marshall Plan, we rebuilt Europe, and they went from poverty to an economic powerhouse.
You're kidding, right? If the U.S. economy had the same "powerhouse" numbers as Western Europe, John Kerry would've been elected last November. Bad call on a day when Bloomberg reports: "European Economies: German Jobless Rise to Record." For the record, that number is 11.4 percent. France isn't much better off, with 9.7 percent unemployment. Spain is worse off with 12 percent. Sen. Reid, I encourage you to try and sell that plan. I'm sure the American people would like to know that Democrats would like to do to the U.S. economy what socialists have done to many of Europe's economies.
President Eisenhower did that in the 1950s with interstate highways. National investment created the Internet in the 1970s. We need to build the next economy, and we need to start now.
Just out of curiosity, what specifically is the "next economy"? Ball bearings? I'd like to buy some stocks.
You know, today is Groundhog Day. And what we saw and heard tonight was a little like the movie "Groundhog Day" -- the same old ideology that we've heard before, over and over and over again. We can do better.
Yeah, I'm getting sick and tired of it too. Oh, you're talking about the President! I thought you were talking about the Democrat Party. My mistake.
That's why we so strongly disagree with the president's plan to privatize Social Security.
Let me share with you why I believe the president's plan is so dangerous.
There's a lot we can do to improve Americans' retirement security, but it's wrong to replace the guaranteed benefit that Americans have earned with a guaranteed benefit cut of up to 40 percent.
Do-nothing Democrats, on the other hand, are proposing a guaranteed benefit cut of only 30 percent when Social Security goes bankrupt in 2042 or so.
Even after the president's speech, the American people are still asking these questions. You can be sure that Democrats will continue to offer real answers in the months ahead.
Let me guess what the answer's going to be. Will it be "no"?
Then, in a political move so stunning that I had to see it to believe it, Reid passes the baton to his colleague, a Democrat from San Francisco to tackle the war and foreign policy.
We have never heard a clear plan from this administration for ending our presence in Iraq. And we did not hear one tonight.
You didn't hear it because you weren't listening closely -- and frankly haven't been listening closely for years.
From the State of the Union speech:
The new political situation in Iraq opens a new phase of our work in that country. At the recommendation of our commanders on the ground and in consultation with the Iraqi government, we will increasingly focus our efforts on helping prepare more capable Iraqi security forces -- forces with skilled officers and an effective command structure.
As those forces become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role. In the end, Iraqis must be able to defend their own country, and we will help that proud, new nation secure its liberty.
Recently an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter, 'Tell America not to abandon us.'
He and all Iraqis can be certain: While our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come.
We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out.
We are in Iraq to achieve a result: a country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors and able to defend itself.
And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned.
There's your answer. You can print this out and reference it if you're worried you'll forget it again.
Democrats believe a credible plan to bring our troops home and stabilizing Iraq must include three key elements:
First, responsibility for Iraqi security must be transferred to the Iraqis as soon as possible. This action is long overdue.
The top priority for the U.S. military should have been for a long time now training the Iraqi army.
Don't listen to Sen. Joe Biden, he doesn't know what he's talking about. From Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
BAIER: You know, there's a lot of debate on this subject, on the numbers of the Iraqi troops that are ready. I mean, Sen. Biden in Condoleezza Rice's hearings said, "For God's sakes, don't listen to Rumsfeld, he doesn't know what in the hell he's talking about on this." How do you respond to that?
RUMSFELD: Well, I mean, obviously the people who are providing this information provide it every week. We put it on the Web site. It's available to any member of the House or Senate or the public. And the fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped. No matter what he is. That's a fact.
And how do I know that? I know it because Gen. Petraeus counts them. Now, are some getting killed every day? Sure. Are some retiring at various times or injured? Yes, they're gone. Are new ones coming in every day? Yes. Are the numbers adjusting every day? Certainly.
Now, does that mean that because a person is trained and equipped that they're highly skilled or as competent as U.S. forces? Of course not. There isn't a military in the Middle East that's as competent as U.S. forces. But the idea that that number is wrong is just not correct. I mean, the number is right. The number is what Gen. Petraeus is saying it is, and I believe him. And I believe Gen. Casey, and I believe Gen. Abizaid.
Now, the important thing is that that really misses the point. The numbers. What you're looking for is capability. And capability is a function partly of numbers, partly of training, partly of equipment. But it's also a function of leadership, it's a function of experience. And these are not battle-hardened veterans. These are not people who have been in the military or the police or the border patrol or the National Guard for two, four, six, eight years and had deployments and had experience and know the chain of command. The ministries are terribly weak. They didn't exist. So they're being staffed up now. And you need a strong ministry to see that the effectiveness of the forces is there.
Back to Pelosi:
Second, Iraq's economic development must be accelerated. Congress has provided billions of dollars for reconstruction, but little of that money has been spent effectively to put Iraqis to work rebuilding their country.
Just because the mainstream media isn't reporting it, doesn't mean it's not happening.
Third, regional diplomacy must be intensified. Diplomacy can lessen the political problems in Iraq, take pressure off of our troops and deprive the insurgency of the fuel of anti-Americanism on which it thrives.
There it is, the Democrat cure-all. If the United States is nice, then the terrorists won't hate us. Eight years of Bill Clinton-nice got us 9/11. You'll excuse me if I don't take you seriously Rep. Pelosi.
The greatest threat to our homeland security are the tons of biological, chemical and even nuclear materials that are unaccounted for or unguarded.
The president says the right words about the threat, but he has failed to take action commensurate with it.
We can, and we must, keep the world's most gruesome weapons out of the world's most dangerous hands. Nothing is more important to our homeland security and, indeed, to the safety of the world.
Well, every intelligence agency in the world said Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction -- they were all wrong, but I find it curious that you'd claim that he has failed to "take action commensurate" with the threat. You could claim that he's overreacted, but now you're trying to sell the idea that he's underreacted?
We are called to do this and more by our faith and our common humanity, and also because these actions will enhance our national security.
Faith, that sounds like religiosity. That's bad right? Democrats have been saying for the past four years that when President Bush does this, it's bad -- "divisive" is a commonly used term. But it's OK for you guys?
Thank you. Goodnight. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
And this time you used the G-d word! Michael Newdow is so disappointed in you.