ruminations on the state of Bush’s union

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ThinkProgress has the most detail I’ve seen of any post-SOTU commentary. The White House has the official version of Bush’s speech, but for some reason they don’t mention Bush’s t-shirt phobia.

The San Francisco Chronicle has information about Cindy Sheehan’s arrest before the SOTU for wearing an anti-war t-shirt. The offensive message was "2,245 and how many more?'' (Thanks to NewsHounds for the tip.) Sheehan’s own article about what happened is here at CommonDreams.

Sheehan wasn’t the only ejectee. Kos talks about the wife of a GOP congressman being removed from the chamber for wearing a shirt that read: "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom," which is apparently a verboten sentiment in Republican-held territory. As Kos summarizes:

This is no longer a partisan affair. Bush will restrict the free speech rights of anyone that might upstage his carefully constructed propaganda efforts.

Glenn Greenwald’s “Learning from Dear Leader” post, quoted by Kos, is well worth reading.

I was struck by several things while watching Bush read from the TelePrompTer:

His opening encomium to Coretta Scott King was brief, but beautiful:

Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.

I wonder, however, how Bush squares his disdain for gay civil rights with King’s support for them. Bush’s obligatory slap-in-the-face comments later in the speech about judges who “legislate from the bench” and “redefine marriage” are quite a contrast to CS King’s thoughts on the same subject. Here are her comments from the “Creating Change” conference (organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) on 9 November 2000:

Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination. […] Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.

(Courtesy of Anthony Bradley. Thanks to Pandagon for the tip.)

Here is a passage from her remarks at Richard Stockton College (Pomona NJ) on 23 March 2004:

Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.

(I wouldn’t ordinarily quote WingNutDaily, especially for something like this, but they had the goods. Of course, they think civil rights are evil; in wingnut land, they call civil equality “sodomy acceptance.”)

HateCrime.org has more anti-bigotry quotes from the late Mrs. King here. (Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the tip.)

There was also Bush’s comment about “ending the stigma of AIDS.” How does that complement his desire to rebuild and reinforce the stigma of homosexuality? (I do appreciate, however, that some progress has been made since the dark days of Reagan. At least Bush: isn’t afraid to mention AIDS, realizes that it is a significant problem, and doesn’t stoop to using right-wing rhetoric such as “deathstyle.” Bush’s bigotry, although couched in more neutral terms, is still dangerous.)

One of my favorite moments was when Bush was whining about “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,” and the Democratic side of the chamber erupted into applause. He wagged his finger at them, but the mistake could not be undone.

The straw man of “isolationism” and “protectionism” was a lame attempt at defending of his capital-uber-alles economic fundamentalism philosophy, his negative comment about us being “addicted to oil” was quite out of character for him, as was his stated support for the line-item veto. Was he trying to signal that there was pork that he would have vetoed? Or will he just use it to continue cutting funding for social programs?

What did Dubya think he was talking about when he mentioned “human/animal hybrids?” Has he confused some trashy science-fiction book with reality again, or is this an issue that his base is seriously concerned about?

I look forward to the day when I don’t cringe repeatedly while listening to a presidential speech.


SOTU update (2/2 at 8:46am):

FackCheck.org’s “Misstatement of the Union” notes that Bush utilized “selective facts and strategic omissions” in his speech, and their staff did a good job in checking his facts.


SOTU update 2 (2/2 at 11:44am):

Andrew Bacevich (a conservative author who writes on the subjects of militarism and imperialism) has an article in the LA Times about Bush’s straw man argument from the SOTU: isolationists.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 1, 2006 3:43 PM.

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