Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Pres. Bush’s State of the Union Address

If you never heard the president speak before, you could get a pretty fair picture of what the man stands for from his speech tonight:

He’s a man of his word, a man of the American founding, a man of God, and, yes, a former governor.

Bush was smart to leave the best, the most important, for last: foreign policy, where his sense of duty and honor came through with conviction and purpose. Examples: "Let me put it this way: they’re no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies." And, "They’re learning the meaning of American justice." Can anyone imagine Clinton or Carter saying this of terrorists that no longer walk this earth because of the sinews of American power?

He clearly put forth an American foreign policy that sees prevention, not reaction, as the best means of national defense. Taking a page from Hadley Arkes, he noted that while America will consult with the United Nations--Feb. 5 to be exact--"the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others." This is one tough hombre, a man who takes his oath of office seriously-- to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Peter already stole the best line of the speech(and I quote from memory), that "the gift of liberty that Americans prize is not their gift to the world but the gift of God to humanity." Not a bad rendition of the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Quite refreshing to have a president who thinks the American founding is worth setting one’s sights by.

The president once again reminded the American people that they are a nation under God, which means both His favor and His judgment. In discussing his faith-based initiative, Bush alluded to a Christian hymn with the line about "power, wonder-working power," and he closed the speech with an invitation to place "our confidence in a loving God." It’s no surprise our Republican president spoke of an America he hoped would promote "a culture that values every life," while the Democratic response (via Washington State Gov. Locke) endorsed "the right to choose." Perhaps the governor should brush up on that other Locke to learn aright where rights derive from.

Thankfully, Bush devoted the first (and least memorable) part of the speech to the presidential wish list for Congress. This reminded me that his compassionate conservatism has a lot to do with his experience as a governor. State governments are supposed to administer programs and whatnot, something we should hear less about from a conservative Republican president. Federal dollars for R&D to produce hydrogen-powered automobiles? That said, his promotion of economic growth as the key to higher employment rates and greater tax revenues was a return to standard, conservative fiscal policies.

"Free people will set the course of history." A simply statement of the president. May the United States rise to the challenge and responsibility of this maxim.

Discussions - 3 Comments

The speech was powerful and well defined. It was a refreshing change from the cant of the Clinton years and serves as a clear warning to the axis of appeasement and the enemies of America. It was simply one of the best I have heard since Reagan was president. The camera pans of the Democrats during the tax cuts part clearly demonstrates the Democrats believe your money is the government’s money.

I spent most of the this wonderful speech merely listening, not watching. At one crucial point, I went into the sitting room with my husband as the President announced the push to ban partial birth abortion. I hope everyone who believes in life and voted for a Democrat on that floor saw the reaction of "their" party. Only one or two brave souls (ringers from our side, I joked) stood to applaud this particular initiative. I am just so darn happy a man of principles and integrity, unafraid to voice his faith, (a man who HAS faith) is in the White House right now.

Our President is like a quiet retreat, a healing balm from eight years of high taxes, moral turpitude, and the jangling and clanging bells of the Clinton Administration. The cacophony of sound from THAT administration is still ringing in my ears. Maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but I rarely watched a Clinton speech. He had nothing of substance or truth to hear. I try not to miss W’s sonnets to the citizens of the United States. It was not his best speech - he looked a bit weary but still strong. But it reminded of Reagan’s cadence and tone. Reagan is/was a man of commitment and strength and resolve. We have so needed a man committed to the office of President, not his own contentious and divisive personal agenda. The image of a cowboy - beside the flag, what could be more American?

You will notice that President Bush, in speaking about AIDS in Africa, acknowledged a Ugandan official who has unequivocally promoted abstinence as a solution to the disease there. The Ugandan efforts have been quite successful. A bit of history: you may recall that the president eliminated U.S. funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) last year after confirming that the organization assists China in its forced abortion/forced sterilization policy. Feminist groups and radical Malthusian population control groups decried him for being so "heartless." This was a brilliant response; he is bringing forth the compassionate part of compassionate conservatism, but he is sending an articulate message that it will be done on his terms, not UNFPA’s Three cheers for W.

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