A couple thoughts about the State of the Union Address:
Glad to see so many Democrats clapping when Bush announced that the PATRIOT Act was set to expire next year and before he had called for it to be renewed. Nice to see glimmers of resistance from the Dems – maybe this time they’ll vote against the damn thing.
Have to say I’m not quite sure what Bush meant by “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities” – but I guess that’s the idea. Were the Iraqis hosting academic conferences about WMD?
If Bush believes that alluding to a constitutional marriage denying homosexual couples the right to marriage without explicitly calling for it with mollify both the “religious right” and the “soccer moms,” he’s got another think coming.
Giving gay couples the same legal protections as heterosexual ones? Not, contrary to conservative dogma, “special rights.” Giving religious groups a free pass to ignore anti-discrimination law and still receive federal funding on account of being religious? There are your special rights.
Howard Dean’s primal scream Monday night I think we can agree didn’t make him new friends. But how many people actually found the Daschle-Pelosi fireside chat to be a more effective response to a speech that was a paen to the radical right?
The Center for American Progress offers some line-by-line parshanut (commentary).
The good news: Tom Daschle, proud appeaser and occasional whipping-boy, the man who promised Bush sixteen months ago that “he can depend on us,” and is yet to sustain serious opposition to anything on George’s wishlist – be it corpulent tax cuts for the rich, largesse and reward for oil companies drilling into our future, or the rush for devastating and unjust war – will not be running against him for President. Besides thinning the field and removing the prospect of a Daschle-Bush race, the decision carries with it the possibility – however hazy – of Daschle using his role in the Senate to construct something that could actually be construed as an opposition party. Too soon to tell. But given how little liberals have learned to expect from him, Daschle’s coupling of his decision not to run with a strongly-worded attack on the Bush “stimulus” plan as one that would damage our ability to face our challenges as a nation was, at the very least, progress.
The bad news: Can’t say this one is any kind of surprise, or even news really. But (speaking of appeasers) brace yourself for that bastion of bipartisanship, Joe Lieberman, to announce his candidacy Monday. Our most recent reminder of Lieberman’s political style came when Bill Frist, who, besides having belonged to an all-white club and joked that poor Black kids would stab him with pencils, is connected to the largest government fraud suit in US history, filed against a for-profit hospital firm whose agenda runs directly counter to those of the patients whose interests, as an MD, he’s supposedly uniquely equipped to represent, was named to the Majority Leader post. What did Joe have to offer? Nothing but praise for Frist, excitement to work with him, and concern that “these kinds of positions” often become “more partisan” than necessary. God forbid (we know Joe likes talk about God) party leadership should be partisan. In other words, perhaps Bill Frist would like to follow the model of Tom Daschle.
If anyone were to accuse Lieberman of being partisan, it certainly wouldn’t be of being a partisan Democrat. This is the man who wants the government to monitor rap music for obscenity and academia for dissent, who said that the moral degradation of our society could be measured by the height of the wall between church and state, the darling of the DLC, the poster-child for the jingoism and double-standards which claim the ironic title of “moral clarity,” the man who saw fit to flirt with social security privatization, with tort reform, with ending affirmative action – the list goes on. Much attention surrounded Lieberman in 2000 as the first Jewish candidate on a “major party” ballot. The man also had a shot at “first Jewish Republican on a Democratic ticket,” but that one doesn’t sell quite as well. Were I running the RNC (that’ll be the day), and were Lieberman to run as the Democratic candidate for President in 2004, I might just push, in the spirit of bipartisanship, for my party not to run a candidate.