Leave it to the pros
The bloggers have had their say about last nights speech which, in my mind, has slowly merged into something about a steroid-pumped Ashley Pearson being involved in weapons of mass destruction-related program activities like wallet making and dodgeball but not gay marriage… at least until she turns ten or two, whichever comes first. Here’s the best of what Professional TV Watcher Tom Shales had to say:
We like a confident president, but we don’t like a cocky president, and George W. Bush had too many moments of cockiness last night as he delivered his third State of the Union address to both houses of Congress and the viewing nation. Often the words of the speech were written to sound lofty, but Bush had such a big Christmas-morning grin on his face that they came out sounding like taunts — taunts to the rest of the world or taunts to Democrats in the hall.
Dan Rather of CBS News, who sometimes goes out of his way not to upset the Bush people — since they are all ready to pounce on him for what they perceive (or claim to perceive) as a bias against their exalted glorious potentate — said afterward that Bush’s was “a strong speech, strongly delivered.” It was one of the few times Rather sounded less than astute.
Over on the Fox News Channel, Fred Barnes, sounding as if he had walking pneumonia, allowed as how he’d heard George W. Bush deliver many an important and eloquent speech over the years, “and this was not one of them.” It takes courage to say something like that on the Fox News Channel, normally a Bush cheering section.
And so Bush had, among others in the audience, representatives of U.S. troops plus Adnan Pachachi, president of the Iraqi Governing Council, who got that prime gallery seat right next to Laura Bush, who was looking slightly hypnotized as usual.
One of the bigger surprises of the night was instantly evident, even as Bush made his tedious way down an aisle before delivering the speech. Though he’s favored blue ties (sometimes baby blue) throughout his presidency, Bush wore a red necktie last night. Could this signify a change in terrorism alert status? Or maybe just the fact that Bush is now in full ramming mode, not merely a president but a politician again, up to his collar in the rigors of an election year?
It was obviously the latter, and the fact that Bush appeared to be so happy, so elated, so giddily primed for another political slugfest was a little bit disheartening, and even a little bit scary.