Not much new to say about the State of the Union Address because, well, it didn’t say much new. Substance-wise, it was more of the same, rhetorically, it was flat, and as for the delivery – well, no surprises there. Bush is still trying to pull a fast one on the American people with his social security numbers; when he said that FDR could not have imagined today’s economy, it was hard not to wince at the steady rollback of the New Deal of which Bush’s agenda is but the latest example. His allusions to FDR in defending his foreign policy were equally unpersuasive. If Bush expects plaudits for courage for politely suggesting to his allies in Saudi Arabia that their people get more opportunities to express themselves (meaning what? Voting for American Idol?), then we really are defining deviancy down. The moment shared between the Iraqi and American women was indeed poignant. It was, I couldn’t help thinking, an interesting echo of the moment shared between grieving Iraqi and American mothers in Farenheit 9/11. Whether one agrees more with George Bush’s or Michael Moore’s view of the architects and consequences of that war, there’s a great deal of chosen and unchosen sacrifice and suffering that should be sobering for all of us. Bush’s stated commitment to the advancement of liberty, of course, didn’t stop him from once more floating the writing of bigotry into the constitution. Just another reason that Bush’s eager exclamations of liberty fell as flat as his last line about the long and twisting road to freedom, a pale shadow of a truly great American’s promise (more urgent and more seemingly distant than ever) that “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Watching the objection to the Ohio Count:
1:20 Whatever the Times said, Dick Cheney sure doesn’t look happy about this.
1:30 Rep. Tubbs Jones (D-OH): “If they are willing to stand for countless hours in the rain, as many did in Ohio, then I should be willing to stand for them in the halls of Congress.”
1:35 Rep. Pryce (R-OH): Just be nice and take it like John Kerry. The election is like so 2004.
1:38 Rep. Pryce (R-OH) and Sen. DeWine (R-OH) simultaneously: Lots of newspapers agree with us. Why don’t you?
1:42 Rep. Conyers (D-MI): “Not a single election official in Ohio has given us an explanation for the massive and widespread irregularities across the state.”
1:45 Rep. Sanders (I-VT): “What today is about is to demand that the federal government begin to move forward to ensure that every voter is country can be confident that every vote is counted accurately and every voter is treated fairly.”
1:46 Rep. Blunt (R-MO): People who were elected shouldn’t attack elections. And if you attack the election process, you don’t support the electoral troops.
1:49 Sen. Durbin (D-IL): “We can and should do better…I will take [Jackson’s amendment] seriously.”
1:51 Rep. Watt (D-NC): “The eyes of the world will be watching how we handle this – we’ll not treat it as frivolous when people are denied the right to vote…If we pretend that this is frivolous, then we are not moving forward.”
1:55 Sen. Stabenow (D-MI): “In Ohio, the provisional ballot was rendered virtually worthless when Ohio’s Secretary of State ruled that the ballot was legitimate only when the ballot was cast in the precinct.”
1:57 Rep. Ney (R-OH): Your standards are too high. Anyway, Republicans get disenfranchised sometimes too.
2:00 Sen. Wyden (D-OR): Ohio has a lot to learn from Oregon. Why is the GOP more concerned about allegations that one dog got to vote than that hundreds of thousands couldn’t?
2:03 Rep. Pelosi (D-CA): “This is their only opportunity to have this debate while the country is listening, and it is appropriate for them to do so…This is not just about what happens in counting votes, but in all three phases: before, during, and after the election…lines of up to ten hours in some areas. You can deny it all you want, but it is a matter of public record that it happened, and that it is wrong.”
2:10 Rep. Reynolds (R-NY): Come on, we already passed a law about this. You guys are like a Japanese soldier who can’t surrender.
2:13 Sen. Clinton (D-NY): Can’t we at least get a hearing? Why do we get better paper trails on lottery tickets?
2:16 Sen. Reid (D-NV): “While the literacy tests and poll taxes of the past are gone, more insidious practices continue to taint our electoral system.”
2:22 Sen. Harkin (D-IA): “Standing in line hours to vote is like throwing acid in the face of democracy…There was an average of 4.9 machines in Bush districts, while there was an average of 3.9 machines in Kerry districts…What we saw was a concerted effort to suppress the right of Americans to cast a vote.”
2:25 Rep. Hayworth (R-AZ): Doesn’t Kerry’s concession speech sound better when you read it with em-pha-sis on every sin-gle sy-lla-ble?
2:27 Rep. Kucinich (D-OH): “They encouraged the use of provisional ballots to make it more difficult for minority voters to vote.”
2:30 Sen. Obama (D-IL): “This is something that we can fix…What we’ve lacked is the political will.”
2:34 Sen. Dodd (D-CT): “The real test will come in the next few days when we have the chance to introduce legislation on this.”
2:36 Sen. Voinovich (R-OH): We know how to count in Ohio. “I am proud of how the election went in Ohio.”
2: 39 Rep. Cummings (D-MD): “What we are addressing is the fundamental right to vote.”
2:40 Rep. McKinney (D-GA): “It is not only our right but our responsibility to demand full democracy at home…This is not about a recount. This is about a blackout.”
2:43 Rep. Dreier (R-CA): Democratic criticism of the functioning of the democratic process in the United States encourages terrorists. Why would anyone want to become a democracy when they see that there can be disputes?
2:47 Rep. Drake (R-VA): Either the President is an idiot, or he’s an evil genius. But not both.
2:50 Rep. Jackson (D-IL): “At present, voting in the United States is a state right, not a citizen’s right…All separate, all unequal…Our voting system is built on the sand of states’ rights…We need to build our democracy on the fundamental individual guarantee in the constitution of the right to vote.”
2:53 Rep. Lewis (D-GA): “Our electoral system is broken, and it must be fixed once for all…How can get over it when people died for the right to vote?”
2:54 Rep. Jindal (R-LA): I am really excited about getting elected, and you guys are ruining it. Next thing you know the Palestinians will sue when they lose elections.
2:57 Rep. Tiberi (R-OH): You’re hurting the feelings of election workers by criticizing things that happened during the election.
3:00 Rep. Woolsey (D-CA): “If we don’t [change], why would any American bother to vote?”
3:02 Rep. Owns (D-NY): “Our mission for democracy in Iraq would be totally shattered if we insisted that that country be split in thirty or fifty divisions, each with its own rules, each with its own standards.”
3:05 Rep. Kingston (R-GA): Dead people voting is a bigger problem than systematic disenfranchisement. If these Democrats loved America as much as my blind father, they wouldn’t mind waiting in lines.
3:07 Rep. Keller (R-FL): Michael Moore has used voodoo on Barbara Boxer.
3:13 Rep. Waters (D-CA): “There is no justification for denying the vote of someone voting in the right county but the wrong precinct. The voter’s intent is clear.”
3:16 Rep. Boehner (R-OH): You’ve disrupted my healing process. “If we really want to have a debate about how elections are run, that debate ought to happen in each of the fifty state legislatures.”
3:25 Rep. Portman (R-OH): If there was a conspiracy to disenfranchise people, I would have known about it.
3:31 Delegate Holmes Norton (D-DC): “If we are the democracy we say we are, we must show it today.”
3:41 Rep. DeLay (R-TX): The Democrats are blowing a great chance to declare support for all of Bush’s plans for the country. Me, I love the New Deal and Civil Rights. I would love to see more like that from them.
Michael Moore defends his description, while endorsing Wesley Clark, of Bush as a deserter. My sense is that technically speaking, Bush was guilty either of desertion or of going AWOL – funny, that one has a pretty negative conotation too. Getting an explanation from Peter Jennings of why he called on Clark to refute Moore’s charge of absurd is about as likely as getting an explanation from Moore of how to reconcile his condemnation of the Kosovo campaign with his praise of the man who led it.