Counterpoint The state of the union is wrong

And President Bush will work to make it, uh, wronger

On January 31, President George W. Bush began his State of the Union Address by honoring Coretta Scott King, the late wife of slain Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.: “Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who ... carried on a noble dream.”

It was only the first of dozens of hypocritical, contradictory, and disingenuous statements Bush made during his 51-minute speech, which was interrupted by applause 65 times.

Dubya invoked the King legacy four months after he twiddled his thumbs as thousands of New Orleans residents — most of them African American — were


from the editor
stranded on rooftops, bridges, and at the Superdome by rising floodwaters. Perhaps Bush forgot that Martin Luther King Jr., the target of FBI surveillance and J. Edgar Hoover’s obsession in the 1960s, would have opposed Bush’s push for a national Panopticon, in which the government is the all-knowing seer and its citizens are the seen.

While the President lauded the liberated women who lined up to vote in Afghanistan, he helped undermine the reproductive rights of American women by nominating pro-life judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Congress approved Bush’s nomination hours before the address.

He encouraged “responsible criticism” of the Administration, yet failed to note a recent New York Times report stating that NASA had silenced a government scientist who defied the Administration by voicing his concerns about global warming.

And as Bush beat the patriotism drum — “Let us never forget the sacrifices of America’s military families” — he didn’t mention that his Administration had tried to stop photographers from taking pictures of flag-draped coffins containing soldiers killed in the Iraq War.

Bush warned of the imminent moral crisis in human-animal hybrids (puzzlingly, throughout the evening cameras panned to a wounded soldier and her dog) and cheered the possibility of hybrid cars fueled by wood chips, perhaps from the cedar tree that hit him in the head shortly before he visited Brooke Army Medical Center last December. During that appearance with wounded soldiers he commiserated with them, saying he had also been injured — by a cedar tree — and showed the camera a small, pink bump on his forehead.

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care,” he declared, while thousands of low-income nursing-home residents lay in their beds, waiting for essential medicines that have been deleted from their Medicare drug plans.

And despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, Bush is still trying to link Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, mushmouthing that “Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction.” Terrorists like Timothy McVeigh. Resentment and radicalism like that simmering in the U.S. Weapons of mass destruction like America’s huge nuclear arsenal.

In an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer two days before the address, Bush commented that he’d “recommend this job to anybody.” Well, Mr. President, there are a lot of takers, such as the 30,000 workers who will be laid off at Ford. Or the thousands who lost their jobs, 401K plans, and investments at Enron. They would accept the president’s annual salary — $400,000. They would accept the 67 weeks’ of vacation he has taken since 2001 — that’s more than one of his five years as president.

As the address wound down, Bush said that “every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.” It’s too late to un-elect Bush, but Americans have a choice in the next presidential race, and it can’t be another vacant, power-mongering theocrat.

By Lisa Sorg