Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On making good things out of boring, predictable things

Okay, so the president's address was, as usual, uninspiring, with the usual promises he can't and/or won't follow through on and the usual denial of reality. He claims to be able to balance the budget without raising taxes, that he can help the health of America's poor through Health Savings Accounts, and that he knows how to bring stability and democracy to Iraq by sending more troops. Big talk from a guy who's had six years to learn to pronounce "nuclear". Demonstrating a stunning lack of self-awareness, he also takes Congress to task for earmarks, rightfully pointing out that items "that are not even part of the bill that arrives on [his] desk. You didn't vote them into law. [He] didn't sign them into law" aren't a great idea while completely ignoring his own multitudinous signing statements and executive orders that are similarly unapproved by the voting public.

But this isn't about the president's lies, because if it were, I'd be even poorer than I am now, and the Wounded Warrior Project could start including a gold brick in each backpack. No, this is about the president's repetition, and that, thankfully, I can afford. Let's take a look:

terrorists: 16
benchmark: 1
enemy: 14
victory: 2
freedom: 3
"nucular": 3
deficit: 3
Osama bin Laden: 1 (but no reference to actually catching or pursuing him)

By far the scariest sentence in the entire SOTU: "The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others." Translation: By the time the shit really hits the fan, my ass is in Crawford and the phones are all unplugged.

Most significant omission: Katrina.

Runners-up: Baker-Hamilton; winning; mistake

Early numbers for the Wounded Warrior Project: $72.50 total, pending official figures on pauses for applause (my count says 64, down one from last year, with 18 standing ovations, down about 25 from last year, but YMMV). Official figures to follow.

Update: Okay, the official ovation stats are in, and it's looking like it's 61 pauses for applause, three fewer than my count, and 24 full or partial standing O's, six more than my count. That leaves the official take for the Wounded Warrior Project at $73.25 and the two-year total for the State of the Union Pledge Extravaganza and Chili Cook-Off at $200.75. Thanks to everyone who made this possible and to George W. Bush's speech writers for being so very, very, very predictable.

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