A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Favorite Parts

Here are some of my favorite parts of tonight's SOTU. There were quite a few, but hopefully I can keep myself from going overboard here. (Emphasis added in bold)

Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal - we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. On September 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's cause.

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122. And we are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government - with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan ... and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink ... and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half - in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran - because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam - the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder - and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder. Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan ... or blow up commuters in London ... or behead a bound captive ... the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
This was a great part. President Bush is always effective and strong when he speaks on the subject of Freedom. He truly believes these things . . . and I do too. It is our duty, as the most liberated people in history, to help others achieve Freedom. We must not be selfish.

If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will - by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself - we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil.
Amen. Amen. Amen. Listen to this, Leftists of the US and the World. There is no honor in retreat, or peace. Pulling our troops out, backing down from the War on Terror, and all the other idiot notions suggested by the Kennedys, Kerrys, Sheehans, Murthas, Chiracs, and Chavezes of the world will not keep the terrorists from attacking, will not keep the United States free, and will not be an option while the Republicans are in charge (pray God).

We are the Nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace.
We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders - and for the others, their day will come.

We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan - where a fine president and national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy.

And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.

Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, that nation has gone from dictatorship, to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces. I am confident in our plan for victory ... I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people ... I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels - but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.
Again, amen.

Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison ... put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country ... and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.

Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices - and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. They know what it is like to fight house to house in a maze of streets ... to wear heavy gear in the desert heat ... to see a comrade killed by a roadside bomb. And those who know the costs also know the stakes. Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: "I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to.... Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting."

Staff Sergeant Dan Clay's wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Our Nation is grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our Nation's uniform - and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America's military families.

Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital - but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.
I'm very glad he reminded the Democrats and the R.I.N.O.s that their acidic criticisms and second-guessings (not to mention supporting before not supporting the War) do not forward the cause of Freedom, but rather drag us down. These defeatists are on the wrong side of history.

Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon - and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions - and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
This is important and I have no doubt that the people of Iran want to be free, like we are. How many will risk to pass copies of this around? It is important to keep hope alive.

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this Nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime - so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
We need more on this. Why it is so important. How about reminders of how many people in Congress voted for it (before they turned against it)?

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack - based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute - I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have - and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it - because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
Did you see Hillary shaking her head with a snotty little smile at this part of the speech? As if her hubby (wait, she was co-president, so we must include her in this) didn't use this same Constitutional authority. Not only that, but Congress (the ones who needed to know) was appraised of this. Only now, when it is politically expedient for them, do they raise objections. Thanks for the help. How many tips and "dots" have we lost because of their new-found protests to listening into al-Qaeda conversations?

I was very glad the President basically chided the Dems here. They are ridiculous. Since 9/11, they have gone around crying that no one "connected the dots!" Now we are attempting to and they set up another wail that we are infringing on people's rights. Al-Qaeda have no rights here. Is it better to allow them to set up another 9/11?

And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left 880 billion dollars in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families - and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.
Yes, please, give me my money back and stop taking so much. I earned it. I should get to spend it. Not Joe Blow down the street who didn't do a thing. Or Joan Blow who has lots of babies and lives on welfare and public assistance. They aren't my responsibility.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away - and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse. So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of Baby Boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include Members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan answers. We need to put aside partisan politics, work together, and get this problem solved.
This was a great part! I loved it when the President responded to the raucous (and, I might add, incredibly classless) noises from the Democrats by pointing his finger at them and addressing them firmly. We want more of that!!! More, more, more. He's too soft on them.

A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench.
---
A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research - human cloning in all its forms ... creating or implanting embryos for experiments ... creating human-animal hybrids ... and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator - and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.
Thank you, Jesus, for a President who stands up for LIFE. This is so very important. There is no justification for any of these "medical researches." None at all. They are immoral.

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward - optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.
Over all, I thought it was a good speech. It didn't rock the boat much. I was hoping for more Conservatism.