The State of the Union - A Federalist's Analysis  

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The President gave his State of the Union Address this week. I had an idea earlier today that perhaps I could confront the fact that the President isn't as "conservative" as the Donks would like us to believe by analyzing the speech from that perspective.

On the main points of the speech, I will address whether the President is "conservative" or "liberal" on the issue at hand. The litmus test will be the Constitution, as understood from my Federalist perspective.

Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction.

Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.

Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's cause.

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time.
The President's comments on the war place him clearly in the coservative camp, even if extremists in the Libertarian Party don't agree. Conservative 1, Liberal 0.
Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks.

They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime -- so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
While I feel that certain provisions of the Patriot Act would be better addressed by addressing the real problems we face along our Southern border, the Patriot Act is, generally speaking, a good wartime law. Its requirement to be frequently renewed is currently showing itself as a good check against abuse, though those wishing not to renew it are doing so for the wrong reasons. The security of the Nation is the responsibility of the executive branch, and the Patriot Act will be necessary until someone decides to take on "my cousin Vinny" Farks and his hostile government. However, increasing government intervention in people's lives instead of enforcing Constitutional means of securing the border is a liberal position. Conservative 1, Liberal 1.
It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to Al Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.

So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected Al Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.

Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed.

The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with Al Qaida, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
As commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, the President is obligated to use whatever means necessary to keep those who would harm us from doing so. As long as the surveillance involves the terrorists and those communicating with them, this is perfectly legitimate. There has been no evidence presented to the contrary, and the very legislators who are criticizing the President today have known about it all along. The real crime is the leaking of classified information by the New York Times with regard to this issue, provided no new information comes to light that implicates the Administration of anything illegal. Diligent defense of the country is a conservative position. Conservative 2, Liberal 1.
And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save and invest.

In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families. And they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.

Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years.

If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief.

I urge the Congress to act responsibly and make the tax cuts permanent.
Tax cuts - liberal or conservative? Tax elimination would be better, but since the Left is obsessed with taking everything they can from us, both rich and poor, tax cuts and making the permanent will be listed as conservative. Conservative 3, Liberal 1.
Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars.

Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending. And last year you passed bills that cut this spending.

This year my budget will cut it again and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities.

By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Eliminating and reducing nonsecurity discretionary (read that SOCIALIST) spending - CONSERVATIVE. Conservative 4, Liberal 1.
I am pleased that the members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.
The jury is still out on conservatives, but the only liberal president to have a line-item veto available never used it. Conservative 5, Liberal 1.
The retirement of the baby boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the federal government. By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices: staggering tax increases, immense deficits or deep cuts in every category of spending.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away.

And with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

This commission should include members of Congress of both parties and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.
HAHA ... Like a "bipartisan commission" is going to do the right thing. Cut me a fucking break. Conservative 5, Liberal 2.
Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values and serves the interests of our economy.

Our nation needs orderly and secure borders.

To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection.
YES!! Could it be he finally sees the light??
And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
OK ... and ... ?

Unfortunately, that's all he says on the issue. A liberal trick that I, for one am sick of. Teddy Kennedy said more on the Senate floor when he was feigning a filibuster of Samuel Alito. Conservative 5, Liberal 3.
Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility.
No it doesn't, and it should stop whatever it is doing in "meeting that responsibility". Conservative 5, Liberal 4.
And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice -- leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB/GYN -- I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year.
Good doctors are being run out of the business by high-priced lawyers whose only motivation is to milk them for every penny they can. I'm not sure what the government can constitutionally do about this, but since the libs are the ones in the pockets of the lawyer lobby, we'll call it for the lib side. Conservative 6, Liberal 4.
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
Say what you want about the President being in the pocket of "big oil". This statement, and those that follow, is completely consisitent with his involvement in what SHOULD be called "big energy". People don't understand that these businesses currently dealing in oil are doing so simply because that's how they feel they have the best shot at making money. Many of these companies have already begun to work into some kind of transition into other energy forms. If alcohol or solar power becomes the order of the day, you can bet it will be the same companies selling it to you, with the same rich CEOs at the top, as you have selling you gasoline now. In other words, don't look for Exxon to go out of business just because people aren't using oil products to fuel their vehicles. I'll get off my soapbox and just mention that the government has no constitutional authority to get involved in any company's legal business matters. No honestly conservative analysis of this intervention would call it conservative. Conservative 6, Liberal 5.
Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative to encourage innovation throughout our economy and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science.
Uh oh. Here comes the education program again. Button your back pocket!
First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing and alternative energy sources.
OK ... increase illegal spending to make everyone's life better. While I'd love for everyone's life to be better, the government just isn't the solution. The Constitution doesn't authorize it, and the taxpayers can't afford it. Of course this is a liberal thing all the way. Conservative 6, Liberal 6.
Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit, to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology.
Why not just tax less in the first place? I would think this would open even more people to the opportunity to succeed in this area. Isn't that what America is about anyway? Liberal 7, Conservative 6.
Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country.
NCLB is just one of many infringements of States' rights committed by the federal government. When liberals complain about it, their complaints are more along the lines of the fed not spending enough money. Liberal 8, Conservative 6.
In recent years, America has become a more hopeful nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001.

There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades.

And the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.
All of these things are a direct result of the example set by the President in his overall law-abiding, self-sufficient, pro-life, and pro-marriage example. I'm sure that even the Bush-hating Libertarians would agree that leading by example is a conservative trait. Liberal 8, Conservative 7.
These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation, a revolution of conscience in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment.

Government has played a role.

Wise policies such as welfare reform, and drug education, and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country.
No points to award here, but government has played a role? Get over yourself. Government lessening its role in people's lives is what has played a role. You could try taking some credit for that, Mr. President.
Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture and the health of our most basic institutions.

They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.
All concerns best addressed by getting the government out of the way.
A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law.

The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.
Yeah. Maybe these guys can start reining in big government. Lord knows the legislatures and the executives aren't doing it. Of course, for bringing those who read and respect the Constitution with the intention of implementing it, a point for conservative. Liberal 8, Conservative 8.
Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms; creating or implanting embryos for experiments; creating human-animal hybrids; and buying, selling or patenting human embryos.

Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.
Defending the rights of the unborn, whether you are inclined to put that word in quotes, is a conservative position. Conservative 9, Liberal 8.
Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington.

I support your efforts.

Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility, and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss and never betray.
Both sides are guilty as sin. No points.
So far, the federal government has committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We're providing business loans and housing assistance.

Yet, as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived.
In other words, the government is ripping you off and is looking for more ways to do so as they are discovered. Conservative 9, Liberal 9.
A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented and treated and defeated.

More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African-Americans.

I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act and provide new funding to states so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicines in America.
More would be done to combat AIDS/HIV by simply expecting people to take responsibility for their actions. Remember that almost no one gets AIDS passively. It's contracted through means that are known and easily avoidable. Simply don't do the things that can get you infected, and you eliminate the chances of being infected. Taking it upon yourself to learn the actual risks helps, too. Money cannot bring this about, and nothing in the Constitution allows the government to make such an expenditure anyway. Liberal 10, Conservative 9.

By my calculations, judging substance alone, the President came out 52% liberal and 48% conservative. This is judging exclusively by this speech, and not anything else he has said or done. It's also based on MY interpretation of what is conservative and what is liberal, and primarily from a constitutionalist/federalist perspective.

Still, it is clear that President Bush isn't the "right-wing extremist" the Donks try to make him out to be. Based on this speech, he's just another moderate trying to please everyone. Of course, the fact that he pisses off the libs has to count for SOMETHING.