Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And the vice-president smirked on.

[[Some highlights of joshua Holland’s recap of the SOTU address]]

His proposal to increase mileage standards and reduce gas consumption by 20 percent over the next ten years—the Fox News commentators said, “one might wonder if such a thing is even possible”—is certainly a good idea. But this is an administration that is joined at the hip with Big Oil. Bush has opposed raising fuel efficiency standards for his entire political career, most recently last February; does anyone believe that such a proposal won't go the way of his War on Steroids in Baseball or his plan to land a man on Mars—those ghosts of SOTUs past?

It was clear that he wanted to focus on domestic issues; just weeks after proposing an escalation of troops in Iraq that two-thirds of Americans oppose, he all but shouted, “for the love of God, can we please change the subject!” By my rough reckoning, he spent about eight minutes on the “War on Terror” and another six on Iraq, dodging between the two in his usual way.

He said, “We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.” While the Taliban are busy building schools in Afghanistan, he was right about al Qaeda; we drove them out of Afghanistan so they could set up a new safe haven in Pakistan.

The highlight of the evening’s discourse was when Bush said, “Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies.” And there was Dick Cheney, smirking over the president’s shoulder and disproving the claim even as he uttered it.