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Empty Rhetoric from a Vacuous Presidency

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January 31, 2006

It is not that the emperor has no clothes; just that he has no credibility left. It often gets so disheartening to cut through the plethora of misdirection and subterfuge in the speeches of George W. Bush. This State of the Union contained more of the same from Bush that we have heard over the past years. Unfortunately, most of his rhetoric does not match his record. You must understand as citizens that it is time to hold this president to his record, not his word.

The Rule of Law – President Bush tonight looked America in the eye, and lied. There is no other way to state his ridiculous position on the NSA spying scandal. Bush stated that previous presidents had used this power but this is patently false. In the past, president’s have used the authority to wiretap FOREIGN individuals, NOT Americans. He further stated that he had the statutory authority to engage in the wiretapping but this is also untrue. He appears to be basing his authority on the Congressional mandate to have him pursue the war on terror. Congresspersons from both sides of the aisle have denounced this notion is absurd. The fact is that Bush was not given any such mandate to bypass congressional oversight and violate the federal law. Lastly, to further justify this illegal activity, the president made the erroneous claim that if this wiretapping had existed prior to 9-11, we would have been able to prevent two of the hijackers and possibly thwarted that horrible day. Playing upon the fear and sadness of a nation, Bush grossly misrepresented the truth on this matter. We knew about these two terrorists prior to 9-11 and it has already been confirmed that it was bureaucratic problems that prevented their detention. Bush himself was also briefed on the al Qaeda’s plans, but went on vacation. The larger issue though on this point as well as all of Bush’s rhetoric in regards to the NSA spy scandal, is that no one is suggesting al Qaeda spying should be shut down, just that Bush should follow the law. Prior to the Bush administration, there were over 19,000 requests to the secret FISA court for wiretaps and only FIVE were denied. This court also allows a president to start a wiretap and seek court approval within 36 hours. No, there is no excuse for why this president chose to violate the federal law and then brag about it to the nation. Faced with the mounting criticism Bush is left with no choice but to wrap up his illegal spying in 9-11 and pray that America falls for it again.

The Economy – Never one to be bothered with facts, the president proceeded to parrot the right-wing talking points about the economy being somehow “robust”. Nonsense. Job growth under Bush remains the lowest since World War II. Bush likes to talk about the tax cuts as being helpful, without addressing the fact that the deficits they create negate any potential gains. Further, they are grossly skewed to the richest Americans, a revival of the failed Reagonomics, or “trickle-down” economics, which Bush’s father once correctly referred to as “voodoo economics.” The fact is that rich people do not become rich by giving their money to the poor. Bush insisted again tonight to make these irresponsible tax cuts permanent, but did not mention that would cost this country 3.4 trillion more dollars over the next ten years. The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center has summed up the effect of making these unfair cuts permanent as such, “If Bush’s tax cuts are made permanent, the top one percent of households will gain an average of $71,420 a year when the tax cuts are fully in effect. By contrast, people in the middle of the income spectrum would secure average tax cuts of just $870.” The Bush folks will scream class warfare when presented with these facts. Nonsense again. These are the numbers period, they do not lie. Real people know this economy is not growing. The jobs touted by the president tonight still are not enough stem the tide of a collapsing economy. The jobs created today are not comparable to those created in administration’s past and the cost of healthcare has risen to unaffordable rates. Faced with these sobering facts, the president chose to face America tonight and tell you that you are mistaken; the economy is doing just fine. This despite the poverty rate increasing each year under Bush with 12.7% of the population living in poverty today.

Corruption – The president tonight spoke tough on corruption. Nice sound bites to placate a public he thinks will continue to buy the snake oil he sells. The facts are that his administration has repeatedly stalled investigations into the Katrina aftermath, has not cooperated with the Plamegate CIA leak scandal, and not been forthcoming about his own involvement with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. There is a culture of corruption in the Republican Party and Bush is the leader of that culture. His regime has seen cronyism at nauseating levels, which directly resulted in the Katrina aftermath and the loss of life that ensued. Again, it is about saying the right things for the camera, and then having Scott McClellan say “no comment” the next day. America is weary of this nonsense.

Education – Only this president would have the hubris to trumpet his commitment to education only three weeks after he sliced 14 billion from Pell Grants and has devastated the federal student loan program. You must realize that when President Bush brags about cutting programs, these are often vital services that the neediest in this country need. There are real people behind the cuts. His No Child Left Behind initiative has been massively under-funded, leading most localities to speak out against it. This president remains a massive failure on education. His fiscal year 2006 budget called for the first reduction in education spending in a decade.

There were so many other issues tonight the president was misleading on. As well as issues not even addressed like the environment and the growing problems with his failed Medicare prescription drug catastrophe. The numbers however, bear out what this president stands for. In dealing with his war and national security President Bush used the word “terror” nineteen times and “democracy” only three times. A telling statistic for the president who sells himself as a champion of democracy, but only sells us fear. What I am left with however to truly capture this administration is what happened before the president walked into the room. Cindy Sheehan was arrested and removed from the gallery in handcuffs. Cindy Sheehan, who gave the life of her son to this country and was an invited guest of her local Congresswoman, was dragged out of the people’s house in chains. Why? Because she had the temerity to wear a tee shirt that read, “2245, How Many More?” The shirt referenced the amount of dead American soldiers in Iraq. When smiling pretty for the cameras, Bush can’t allow the truth to interfere with the rhetoric of a vacuous presidency that no longer has the credibility to sell us the snake oil we are no longer buying. Don’t hold him to his word America, hold him to his actions.
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Anthony Wade, a contributing writer to, is dedicated to educating the populace to the lies and abuses of the government. He is a 53-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple (more...)

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