Wednesday, January 24, 2007
President's Smokescreen Blown Away by Jim Webb
Panic in Bushland. What next for the Decider ? He tried -- again -- to sell continuation of his war and the troop surge by talking about threats. The usual suspects, the tried and tested bogies were mentioned. It worked for him in the past. Last night he failed miserably. Funny in a way when you think of President Bush talking about health care and the need for energy conservation. But he did. Desperate times call for desperate means. He was grasping at straws to bail himself out. Not many were fooled. It was Jim Webb, the Democrtatic Senator from Virginia, whose rebuttal made an impact. Rebuttal to the State of the Union speech often fell flat and soon forgotten. Jim Webb will be remembered for his words and for his delivery.
Michael Shear in the Washington Post
- Sen. James Webb, D-Va., delivered a forceful nine-minute response to President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night, promising an aggressive challenge to Bush's Iraq and economic policies from the newly empowered Democratic majority in Congress.
- Speaking live from a historic Capitol Hill meeting room, Webb displayed the same blunt manner that won over Virginia voters in November and later generated headlines after a face-to-face exchange with Bush at the White House.
- Webb accused the president of taking the country into Iraq "recklessly" and forcing it to endure "a mismanaged war for nearly four years."
The full transcript
From NY Times editorial:
- The White House spin ahead of George W. Bush’s seventh State of the Union address was that the president would make a bipartisan call to revive his domestic agenda with “bold and innovative concepts.” The problem with that was obvious last night — in six years, Mr. Bush has shown no interest in bipartisanship, and his domestic agenda was set years ago, with huge tax cuts for wealthy Americans and crippling debt for the country.
- Combined with the mounting cost of the war in Iraq, that makes boldness and innovation impossible unless Mr. Bush truly changes course. And he gave no hint of that last night. Instead, he offered up a tepid menu of ideas that would change little: a health insurance notion that would make only a tiny dent in a huge problem. More promises about cutting oil consumption with barely a word about global warming. And the same lip service about immigration reform on which he has failed to deliver.
"Speaking into a Void"
We were bluffed and bullied into suporting the war. This time we must not let him get away with it.
Dan Balz in the Post
The State of the President Beleaguered
There were three underlying messages in the president's address. The first was a familiar argument about the terrorist threat and plea for patience on Iraq, a chord struck earlier in the day by Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the expected new commander of U.S. forces there. Although about two in three Americans disagree with the decision to send more troops to Iraq and members of Congress are preparing nonbinding resolutions to declare their opposition, Bush asked for time to show that the strategy can succeed.
He recalled that the country was largely united at the time of the invasion in 2003 and acknowledged the divisions that have emerged since. But he argued that whatever motivated members of Congress at the time of the invasion, there was a consensus that the United States must win the war.
Bush may have been speaking into the void. Over the past six months, there has been a critical turn in public opinion. Long ago, a majority of Americans concluded that the president's decision to go to war was a mistake. The administration tried to shrug that off by focusing attention on the consequences of failure, believing that as long as Americans saw some chance for success they would continue to support the mission.