Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush's State Of The Union: The Good And The Bad

It's good that President Bush is talking about budget reform. As Rep. Mike Pence urged the President on Sunday, he called on Congress to reform its practice of earmarking appropriations and to pass the line-item veto. He added, "We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements."

It's bad that he doesn't own up to the fact that he created the largest single entitlement enacted by the federal government since the 1960s--the Medicare prescription drug benefit--without providing any feasible means of paying for it--or for that matter any of the other growing federal entitlement programs.

It is good that he calls for an immigration system that "upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy." And yes, we need an "orderly and secure border." The guest worker program he offers is a good start to providing "legal status" to the 12 million undocumented aliens in our country.

It is bad that he wants to offer guest worker status as only a temporary jobs program, rejecting any notion of an amnesty program. Illegals will have no incentive to register for a jobs program which they know will end with their deportation after a short period of time; they will continue to work illegally.

It is good that he raises concerns about the ethical conduct of our public officials and the need to enact reforms to restore confidence. But it is very bad that he would say that in the same sentence he says that people are "discouraged by activist courts that redefine marriage." The two issues are in no way synonomous. It is insulting for him to suggest otherwise. It is also bad that he still employs the unethical Karl Rove, his chief deputy who participated in the outing of a covered CIA agent--more than two years after he did the misdeed. Ethics begins at home Mr. President.

It is good that he ackowledges our "addiction to oil" and accepts that we need to do something about it. But it is very bad that he relies heavily on alternatives that necessarily rely on our traditional energy sources, including oil and coal. Reducing oil imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by the year 2025 is no challenge at all. We don't need more research on hydrogen-fueled cars. The technology works, and it can replace oil. Let's do it. By not, you are confirming what we already knew--you put the interests and profits of the energy companies ahead of the American people.

It is good that he says he believes our courts should offer "equal justice under the law." But it is bad that he believes nominating the likes of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court will serve that end. Yes, Mr. President, they legislate from the bench too. And supporting discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation is not supporting "equal justice under the law."

For the Democrats part, it is insulting that they would choose as their party's spokesperson to deliver the Democratic Response to the President's address Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a man who trumpeted the signing of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages as one of his first official acts in office. And that's all we have to say about what he said.

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