State of the Union (as George sees it)
Transcription by the Associated Press; annotations by way Too Much Sense.
Text of Resident Bush's State of the Union address, as delivered:
Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished
guests, fellow citizens:
As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is
in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented
dangers. Yet the state of our union has never been stronger.
Of course, Congress has yet to declare war, but I'm just
splitting hairs. If the definition of "war" is that we've
called up a few Reservists, dropped a few bombs, and have
troops stationed in harm's way, we've been "at war" since
at least 1940.
We last met in an hour of shock and suffering. In four short
months, our nation has comforted the victims; begun to rebuild
New York and the Pentagon; rallied a great coalition; captured,
arrested and rid the world of thousands of terrorists; destroyed
Afghanistan's terrorist training camps; saved a people from
starvation; and freed a country from brutal oppression.
Actually, that hour of shock and suffering was several
days before the Resident addressed Congress. It takes that
long for Shrub's handlers to put together an appropriate speech.
Teddy Roosevelt would have stood at Ground Zero that afternoon
and given a better speech with notes scrawled on a paper napkin.
The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul. Terrorists
who once occupied Afghanistan now occupy cells at Guantanamo
Bay. And terrorist leaders who urged followers to sacrifice
their lives are running for their own.
America and Afghanistan are now allies against terror. We
will be partners in rebuilding that country, and this evening
we welcome the distinguished interim leader of a liberated
Afghanistan: Chairman Hamid Karzai.
Really? We're going to help rebuild Afghanistan? That's
nice, but that's not what Mr. Bush and his people have been
saying. I guess it depends on what group he's addressing.
The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters
of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden
from working or going to school. Today women are free, and
are part of Afghanistan's new government, and we welcome the
new Minister of Women's Affairs, Dr. Sima Samar.
Our progress is a tribute to the spirit of the Afghan people,
to the resolve of our coalition and to the might of the United
States military. When I called our troops into action, I did
so with complete confidence in their courage and skill. And
tonight, thanks to them, we are winning the war on terror.
The men and women of our armed forces have delivered a message
now clear to every enemy of the United States: Even 7,000
miles away, across oceans and continents, on mountaintops
and in caves, you will not escape the justice of this nation.
I remind readers that this is the same military force that
Shrub said was woefully inadequate to the task of defending
the nation back in 2000, and it was all due to deliberate
action on the part of now-former President Clinton. Now they're
the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen, and on
Clinton's budget, too.
For many Americans, these four months have brought sorrow
and pain that will never completely go away. Every day a retired
firefighter returns to Ground Zero, to feel closer to his
two sons who died there. At a memorial in New York, a little
boy left his football with a note for his lost father: ``Dear
Daddy, Please take this to Heaven. I don't want to play football
until I can play with you again someday.'' Last month, at
the grave of her husband, Micheal, a CIA
officer and Marine who died in Mazar-e-Sharif, Shannon Spann,
said these words of farewell: ``Semper fi, my love.'' Shannon
is with us tonight.
Shannon, I assure you and all who have lost a loved one that
our cause is just, and our country will never forget the debt
we owe Micheal and all who gave their lives for freedom.
Our cause is just, and it continues. Our discoveries in Afghanistan
confirmed our worst fears and showed us the true scope of
the task ahead. We have seen the depth of our enemies' hatred
in videos where they laugh about the loss of innocent life.
And the depth of their hatred is equaled by the madness of
the destruction they design. We have found diagrams of American
nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed
instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps
of American cities and thorough descriptions of landmarks
in America and throughout the world.
What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that - far from
ending there - our war against terror is only beginning. Most
of the 19 men who hijacked planes on Sept. 11 were trained
in Afghanistan's camps, and so were tens of thousands of others.
Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of
murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread
throughout the world like ticking time bombs set to go off
If we were to wind down the "war" on terrorism prematurely,
it might have a detrimental effect on Mr. Bush's approval
rating and chances for (God forbid) reelection. Therefore,
we must carry on this "war" in perpetuity, wagging the dog
at appropriate intervals, in order to keep the American people
from actually thinking about what the Bush administration
is doing to screw American workers, relieve the rich from
their just responsibilities to support the government that
supports them so well, weaken environmental protections, infuse
religion into our public schools, overturn Roe v. Wade, put
the kabosh on campaign finance reform, etc.
Thanks to the work of our law enforcement officials and coalition
partners, hundreds of terrorists have been arrested, yet tens
of thousands of trained terrorists are still at large. These
enemies view the entire world as the battlefield, and we must
pursue them wherever they are. So long as training camps operate,
so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk and
America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it.
Our nation will continue to be steadfast, and patient, and
persistent in the pursuit of two great objectives. First,
we will shut down terrorist camps, disrupt terrorist plans,
and bring terrorists to justice. And second, we must prevent
the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the
Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan
out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen
countries. A terrorist underworld - including groups like
Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Jaish-i-Mohammed - operates
in remote jungles and deserts and hides in the centers of
While the most visible military action is in Afghanistan,
America is acting elsewhere. We now have troops in the Philippines
helping to train that country's armed forces to go after terrorist
cells that have executed an American and still hold hostages.
Our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized
terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy. Our Navy
is patrolling the coast of Africa to block the shipment of
weapons and the establishment of terrorist camps in Somalia.
My hope is that all nations will heed our call and eliminate
the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our
own. Many nations are acting forcefully. Pakistan is now cracking
down on terror, and I admire the strong leadership of President
Musharraf. But some governments will be timid in the face
of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act,
If this means we will do what we have to do to arrest,
or if necessary, kill actual terrorists, I'm all for it. If
it means we're going in to places like Iraq just because we
have old scores to settle, God help us.
Once we have funded our national security and our homeland
security, the final great priority of my budget is economic
security for the American people. To achieve these great national
objectives - to win the war, protect the homeland and revitalize
our economy - our budget will run a deficit that will be small
and short-term so long as Congress restrains spending and
acts in a fiscally responsible manner. We have clear priorities
and we must act at home with the same purpose and resolve
we have shown overseas: We will prevail in the war, and we
will defeat this recession.
Small and short-term? That's not what you said earlier,
Smirk. You said we'd be running deficits for the remainder
of your (hopefully short) term in office. The LA Times says
the red ink might last a decade. You have some nerve talking
about fiscal responsibility, what with your so-called "economic
stimulus" that does no such thing, yet costs the Treasury
tens of billions of dollars. Now it's called "economic security"
instead of merely stimulus. I suppose if you don't get your
way on your tax giveaway for the affluent, the terrorists
Americans who have lost their jobs need our help, and I support
extending unemployment benefits and direct assistance for
health care coverage. Yet American workers want more than
unemployment checks, they want a steady paycheck. When America
works, America prospers; so my economic security plan can
be summed up in one word: jobs.
Until Tom "the obstructionist" Daschle called him on it,
Mr. Bush's idea of economic stimulus didn't include any relief
for the unemployed. We'll see how much he supports extending
unemployment benefits and direct assistance for health care
coverage when the bill reaches your desk, sans most of the
tax giveaways. Bottom line: you can't create jobs by throwing
money at corporations with no strings attached.
Good jobs begin with good schools, and here we've made a fine
start. Republicans and Democrats worked together to achieve
historic education reform so that no child is left behind.
I was proud to work with members of both parties - Chairman
John Boehner and Congressman George Miller, Sen. Judd Gregg
- and I was so proud of our work I even had nice things to
say about my friend Ted Kennedy. I know the folks at the Crawford
coffee shop couldn't believe I'd say such a thing. But our
work on this bill shows what is possible if we set aside posturing
and focus on results.
If it weren't for Smirk's "friend" Sen. Kennedy, the education
bill would have been full of faith-based nonsense designed
to destroy the wall between church and state as defined by
the First Amendment. Note that there isn't anything about
vouchers for parochial schools in the ed bill, and instead
of starving failing schools of money, the final plan more
resembles Al Gore's proposals during the 2000 campaign.
There is more to do. We need to prepare our children to read
and succeed in school with improved Head Start and early childhood
development programs. We must upgrade our teacher colleges
and teacher training and launch a major recruiting drive with
a great goal for America: a quality teacher in every classroom.
This stuff costs money. Is the Resident prepared to spend
some to make this happen?
Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This
Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology,
build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production
at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.
So, in addition to going full bore after fuel cells, which
won't pan out until the next decade (if we're lucky), we're
going to do something about how much energy we waste. Naah.
We're going to drill for oil in ANWR (also no oil for a decade,
and damn little of that when it does become available) and
pursue something oxymoronically called "clean coal". Really
(cough) nifty (gag...choke).
Good jobs depend on expanded trade. Selling into new markets
creates new jobs, so I ask Congress to finally approve Trade
Promotion Authority. On these two key issues - trade and energy
- the House of Representatives has acted to create jobs, and
I urge the Senate to pass this legislation.
That would be cool if we would actually sell stuff overseas.
The reality is, we run ever-increasing trade deficits which
would likely get worse, not better, if Mr. Bush were given
carte blanche on trade.
Good jobs depend on sound tax policy. Last year, some
in this hall thought my tax relief plan was too small, and
some thought it was too big. But when the checks arrived in
the mail most Americans thought tax relief was just about
right. Congress listened to the people and responded by reducing
tax rates, doubling the child credit and ending the death
tax. For the sake of long-term growth and to help Americans
plan for the future, let's make these tax cuts permanent.
I used my tax refund check to pay down my VISA. So did
3/4 of those who got checks. The truth is, the tax structure
was just fine as it was in 2000. To hear people in the 39.5%
tax bracket bitch about paying too much taxes while washing
their Land Rovers makes me want to throw up.
The way out of this recession, the way to create jobs,
is to grow the economy by encouraging investment in factories
and equipment, and by speeding up tax relief so people have
more money to spend. For the sake of American workers, let's
pass a stimulus package.
So the answer to (fill in the blank) is more tax relief
for the affluent, and ASAP. No bothersome debate about which
forms of tax relief are the most effective. Sorry, I don't
trust Smirk's fuzzy math.
Good jobs must be the aim of welfare reform. As we reauthorize
these important reforms, we must always remember the goal
is to reduce dependency on government and offer every American
the dignity of a job.
Welfare reform was all fine and dandy back when the unemployment
rate was under 4%. I'm not so sure now.
Americans know economic security can vanish in an instant
without health security. I ask Congress to join me this year
to enact a Patients' Bill of Rights, to give uninsured workers
credits to help buy health coverage, to approve an historic
increase in the spending for veterans' health, and to give
seniors a sound and modern Medicare system that includes coverage
for prescription drugs.
Democrats in Congress have been trying to get a meaningful
patient's bill of rights passed for the past year now. Unfortunately,
bipartisanship is just a word Republicans throw around while
insisting on their way or the highway. Mr. Bush's version
of the "People's Prescription Plan" was a cruel joke. If that's
what he considers a sound prescription drug plan for people
on Medicare, we're all in deep kimchi
A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask
Congress to enact new safeguards for 401(k) and pension plans.
Employees who have worked hard and saved all their lives should
not have to risk losing everything if their company fails.
Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure
requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable
to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards
Gotta CYA. This is another issue Smirk's predecessor has
been working diligently on for years, only to be thwarted
by Republican morons in Congress. I guess if Clinton proposes
it, it's bad, but when Bush proposes the exact same thing,
Retirement security also depends upon keeping the commitments
of Social Security (news - web sites), and we will. We must
make Social Security financially stable and allow personal
retirement accounts for younger workers who choose them.
What was that Mr. Bush just said about 401K safeguards,
and he still wants to do what with Social Security?
This is making Social Security financially stable? Get real.
Members, you and I will work together in the months ahead
on other issues: productive farm policy, a cleaner environment,
broader home ownership, especially among minorities, and ways
to encourage the good work of charities and faith-based groups.
I ask you to join me on these important domestic issues in
the same spirit of cooperation we've applied to our war against
If Mr. Bush thinks he's getting that "faith-based" bullshit
past Tom Daschle, he's got another think coming.
During these last few months, I have been humbled and privileged
to see the true character of this country in a time of testing.
Our enemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that
we would splinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong
as they are evil.
The American people have responded magnificently, with
courage and compassion, strength and resolve. As I have met
the heroes, hugged the families, and looked into the tired
faces of rescuers, I have stood in awe of the American people.
And I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to one
American for the strength, and calm, and comfort she brings
to our nation in crisis: our first lady, Laura Bush.
God bless our role model for women everywhere, the surrendered
wife, Laura Bush.
None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on Sept.
11, yet after America was attacked it was as if our entire
country looked into a mirror and saw our better selves. We
were reminded that we are citizens, with obligations to each
other, to our country and to history. We began to think less
of the goods we can accumulate, and more about the good we
For too long our culture has said, ``If it feels good,
do it.'' Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed:
``Let's roll.'' In the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood
of firefighters and the bravery and generosity of ordinary
citizens, we have glimpsed what a new culture of responsibility
could look like. We want to be a nation that serves goals
larger than self. We've been offered a unique opportunity
and we must not let this moment pass.
My call tonight is for every American to commit at least
two years - 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime - to
the service of your neighbors and your nation.
Can you say, "thousand points of light?" Sure you can.
I am reminded of the scene in Pay It Forward where Trevor
McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) challenges Mr. Simonett (Kevin
Spacey) with the following question, "what have you
done to change the world?" Mr. Simonett responds, "I get up
early, have a good breakfast, come to class...on time,
and then I pass the buck to you."
Many are already serving, and I thank you. If you aren't
sure how to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain
and extend the best that has emerged in America, I invite
you to join the new USA Freedom Corps. The Freedom Corps will
focus on three areas of need: responding in case of crisis
at home, rebuilding our communities and extending American
compassion throughout the world.
One purpose of the USA Freedom Corps will be homeland security.
America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized
in major emergencies, volunteers to help police and fire departments,
transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting
We already have an organization that performs these functions,
and more. It's called the National Guard. No other organization
in this country is more dedicated to the communities in which
they live. Smirk should know this; he was a member of the
National Guard once...sorta.
Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our
communities. We need mentors to love children, especially
children whose parents are in prison, and we need more talented
teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand
and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps
to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers.
So the faculty talent shortage facing inner-city schools
is to be filled using AmeriCorp volunteers. How about hiring
200,000 actual qualified teachers.
And America needs citizens to extend the compassion of
our country to every part of the world. So we will renew the
promise of the Peace Corps, double its volunteers over the
next five years, and ask it to join a new effort to encourage
development, and education and opportunity in the Islamic
This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity
- a moment we must seize to change our culture. Through the
gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency
and kindness, I know: We can overcome evil with greater good.
Now I know it; Smirk (or one of this speechwriters) saw Pay
It Forward on HBO. Bush 41
could sell that "thousand points of light" crap, but when
Smirk tries it, it comes off as plagiarism.
And we have a great opportunity during this time of war
to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting
peace. All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their
children to be educated and live free from poverty and violence.
No people on Earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude
or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police.
Tell that to your Attorney General.
If anyone doubts this, let them look to Afghanistan, where
the Islamic "street'' greeted the fall of tyranny with
song and celebration. Let the skeptics look to Islam's own
rich history, with its centuries of learning and tolerance
Yep, we liberated Afghanistan from the tyranny of religious
fundamentalism. Let's do the same in the United States of
America will lead by defending liberty and justice, because
they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere.
No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt
from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture, but
America will always stand firm for the nonnegotiable demands
of human dignity: the rule of law, limits on the power of
the state, respect for women, private property, free speech,
equal justice and religious tolerance.
...and we can start by vigorously defending the Constitution
of the United States of America, including the entire
Bill of Rights. I have my ACLU card; where's yours?
America will take the side of brave men and women who
advocate these values around the world, including the Islamic
world, because we have a greater objective than eliminating
threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful
world beyond the war on terror.
In this moment of opportunity, a common danger is erasing
old rivalries. America is working with Russia and China and
India in ways we have never before to achieve peace and prosperity.
In every region, free markets and free trade and free societies
are proving their power to lift lives. Together with friends
and allies from Europe to Asia, and Africa to Latin America,
we will demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop
the momentum of freedom.
The last time I spoke here, I expressed the hope that life
would return to normal. In some ways, it has. In others, it
never will. Those of us who have lived through these challenging
times have been changed by them.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, Democrats
still question the logic of Republican nonsense, and Republicans
still bash Democrats as a bunch of godless Communists for
it. Resident Bush was a doofus before September 11, 2001,
and he's still a doofus today.
We've come to know truths that we will never question:
Evil is real, and it must be opposed. Beyond all differences
of race or creed we are one country, mourning together and
facing danger together. Deep in the American character there
is honor, and it is stronger than cynicism. And many have
discovered again that even in tragedy - especially in tragedy
- God is near.
So while God lifts the "veil of protection" that Jerry
Falwell is always talking about, letting our enemies in to
mess with us, he's really on our side.
In a single instant we realized that this will be a decisive
decade in the history of liberty, that we've been called to
a unique role in human events. Rarely has the world faced
a choice more clear or consequential.
Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide
and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and
a creed. We stand for a different choice, made long ago, on
the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose
freedom and the dignity of every life.
So we're redoubling our efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade,
discourage the use of contraceptives, insist on abstinence-only
sex education in our public schools, etc.
Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have known
freedom's price; we have shown freedom's power, and in this
great conflict, my fellow Americans, we will see freedom's
Thank you, and may God bless.
Why is the editor in chief of the weekly e-zine way Too Much Sense.