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Bush: State of Union 2008 « Previous | |Next »
January 29, 2008

Bush's lameduck status can be seen in his 2008 and final State of Union speech. Bush is part of the backdrop of American politics now, eclipsed by the primaries in South Carolina and Florida. If most of the speech was taken up with the economy, then Bush is struggling for airtime even in the foreign policy field.

He has little new to say It's the same tired simplistic narrative about the enemy ( evil men who despise freedom, despise America) still being dangerous, more work remains, the surge is working, Al-Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated. Freedom advances in the Middle East, but the Iranian regime is there to oppose it.

Bush legacy1.jpg Alan Moir

So what did Bush says about peace and freedom in the Gaza Strip, given that the US is seen as supporting and paying for Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories?

The narrative from Bush is this:

In the long run, men and women who are free to determine their own destinies will reject terror and refuse to live in tyranny. That is why the terrorists are fighting to deny this choice to people in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories. And that is why, for the security of America and the peace of the world, we are spreading the hope of freedom.

Didn't the Palestinians determine their destiny by voting for Hamas in democratic elections? For Bush all that matter is that Hamas, along with Hezbollah in Lebanon, is an arm of Iran. So they are terrorists who oppose the march of freedom in the Middle East.

Bush's simplistic narrative about the Middle East--the noble "war on terrorism"-- has turned out to include keeping a million and a half people locked up indefinitely in an open air prison and denying them their freedom. The Washington Post editorial is an eyeopener: it talks in terms of a "humanitarian crisis" in scare quotes, scolded Gazans for "blowing up international borders," and concluded by demanding that they stop making trouble and wait for the "peace process" to go forward.

So the Palestinians have to go back to jail and suffer under a brutal occupation for another few decades. There is more critical thinking happening inside Israel.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:30 PM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

Gary,
this is a good article in the Washington Post. They---Hussein Agha and Robert Malley---argue that so long as each of the three players (Israel, Hamas, Fatah) in what they call the "Middle East triangle" regards a gain by either of the other two as their loss, no progress is possible. But if each of the three players can be made to understand that a gain for one is a gain for them all, then a deal could be possible.

Peter,
the economy was centre stage of Bush's speech, with Iraq pushed to the sidelines. I see that the House overwhelmingly approved Bush's $146 billion shot in the arm--- a stimulus package --for the nation's ailing economy.

What will the Senate do? The stimulus package essentially consists of nothing but tax cuts and gives most of those tax cuts to people in fairly good financial shape. The Bush administration is going to simply let average citizens take the pain of the housing and credit bubbles. That does seem unjust.

the bigger picture is that the economic performance of the US since 2001 has been a shadow of Clinton-era prosperity. China, was mainly a supplier of cheap goods in the 1990s. Today it has become a competitor for increasingly scarce supplies of oil. Imported goods in the US aren’t as cheap as they used to be.There are difficult times ahead for the US.

It was a modest speech filled with modest proposals.
Last night, President Bush gave his final State of the Union address, an address much different than his past seven.
Gone were the references to Iran as the "axis of evil" and our social security system as "headed towards bancruptcy." Instead of strong words, Bush put forward modest proposals.
The already approved $150 billion economic stimulus plan, $300 million in education funding for poor students, and continued support of the war in Iraq topped Bush's agenda.
Modest clapping and standing ovations scattered his 53 minute speech, but alas... Bush was not the center of attention at his own State of the Union speech.
With only a year left in his presidency, the nation has already turned to a new generation of politicans who are running for his seat.
CNN seemed to be more interested in which senator was snubbing another senator than talking about President Bush's speech.
A picture of Senator Barak Obama turning his back on Senator Hillary Clinton shaking Senator Ted Kennedy's hand was blown up and shown again and again. 'Was he doing this on purpose? Is he mad at Hillary?' seemed to be more important than anything the President was saying.
Senator McCain wasn't even in attendance last night, instead choosing to squeeze in some last minute campaigning before Florida's primary today.
With Americans already swept up in the excitement of Super Tuesday and the race to see who the Democrat and Republican front runner will be, President Bush is pushed in the background. His State of the Union was more of a snapshot of his past seven years as President while he struggles to shape what his legacy will be. Meanwhile, the rest of the politicans in the House chambers, and well as the rest of the nation wonders... who the next leader of the free world will be.
More info:
http://emily-carlson.com
http://emilycarlson.org
http://emilycarlson.info
http://www.zimbio.com/Emily+Carlson+Journalist
http://emilyacarlson.wordpress.com/
http://www.zimbio.com/Emily+Carlson's+All+Things+Political

Emily,
your comment:

CNN seemed to be more interested in which senator was snubbing another senator than talking about President Bush's speech.A picture of Senator Barak Obama turning his back on Senator Hillary Clinton shaking Senator Ted Kennedy's hand was blown up and shown again and again. 'Was he doing this on purpose? Is he mad at Hillary?' seemed to be more important than anything the President was saying.

It says it all doesn't it. Power in Washington has shifted.It's Obama whom the media love. Bush is yesterday's hero. It's the Democratic race that's creating most of the excitement.

Where is Fox News in all of this?

Nan,
Fox News is being sidelined just like Bush. Fox News years ago made an obvious decision to appeal almost exclusively to Republican viewers. Fox News succeeded.

But the Republicans have faded in 2008 It's the Democrats who are where the media action is and the Democrats don't much like Fox News They see Fox News was nothing more than a Republican mouthpiece and the Democrats do need not engage with the News Corp. media giant.

Peter,
That sounds suspiciously like the party/media relationship during the Australian federal election.