Bush's Soon-To-Be-Forgotten SOTU - An Empty Speech For An Empty Administration
Although I didn’t watch the speech itself, I have had the opportunity to see the media coverage of Bush’s SOTU last night. And after analyzing the speech itself and seeing the media coverage all day today and some of tonight’s evening news broadcasts, I have noticed the following things. First, the White House admitted to Fox News that they scheduled the SOTU the day after the Iowa caucuses in an effort to steer the media coverage quickly away from the Democrats and back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This sounds like a typical Rovian maneuver.
But in looking at the coverage on TV and on the Internet today, it seems that Rove’s gambit has failed. Most of the media, including even Fox (where Tony Snow said the speech lacked vision) has swung back to covering New Hampshire. Moreover, NBC’s Nightly News, which is credited as being the most Bush-friendly of the Big Three, actually led off with a short SOTU follow-up story but then quickly jumped into a hard-hitting piece by (Mrs. Alan Greenspan) Andrea Mitchell that reminded viewers of the unfounded WMD claims from last year’s SOTU.
Why has the media seemingly already ditched the SOTU into the dustbin? Because such a SOTU without much substance or new initiatives, demonstrates that Bush has nothing new to say. As the kickoff to his election campaign in 2004, Bush broke no new ground, offered no new ideas for addressing the problems facing the country, and seems content only to repeat over and over the “all terrorism, all the time” mantra as his sole reason for keeping his job next year. Not only that, but ideas that were trotted out last year, or even two weeks ago, have already been ignored in the SOTU, thereby giving credence to the damning indictment by Paul O’Neill of the “politics passes for policy” environment in Bush’s White House. Want some specifics?
References to Osama Bin Laden: 0
References to actual Iraqi WMDs: 0
References to actual size of deficit: 0
References to Africa: 0 (Last Year’s Initiative)
Words dedicated to steroids in sports: 96
Words dedicated to AIDS: 0
References to the space program: 0
Specific ideas or proposals for creating manufacturing jobs, or even any jobs: 0
References to the environment: 0
Words dealing with alternate energy sources: 0
Words dealing with energy of any specificity: 16
Words in false Niger uranium claim last year: 17
Proposals for dealing with the uninsured that don’t involve tax credits for people who can’t afford the premiums in the first place: 0
Requests for Congress to deal with the rapidly rising cost of health care after gutting such measures from the Medicare drug bill: 1
The words, or lack of them, point out that the Bush Administration, now three years in office, has no agenda or vision, and enters the election with no measures to deal with the problems facing the country.