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Flashback: Not Even the Slightest Hint of a “Move to the Center” in George W. Bush’s 2007 State of the Union

by Stijn Vogels

The 2006 midterms were a disaster of biblical proportions for the Bush administration and the Republican Party. They lost the House, the Senate, and a raft of governors’ mansions and state legislatures. It was much worse than the “shellacking” the Democrats took last November.

And how did George W. Bush respond to the American people’s complete rejection of the Republican agenda? He doubled down on it.

Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate — and I congratulate the Democrat [sic] majority. Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities. Each of us is guided by our own convictions — and to these we must stay faithful.

Translation: yeah, you guys won — but, sorry — I’m not budging an inch on my “convictions.” (And note the “Democrat” slur — nice touch, that.)

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy — and that is what we have. We’re now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs — so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise.

Yeah, the economy was on the move — off a cliff. The Great Recession began in 2007, but to W., all was well. And PS, Democrats — your job is to keep gubmint outta the way of business.

First, we must balance the federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes.

Translation: we didn’t need a balanced budget when the Republicans controlled the entire federal government, but since I pissed away the surplus Clinton/Gore by cutting taxes for millionaires while launching two wars, now you’re going to clean up my mess, on my terms. Very bipartisany so far!

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour — when not even C-SPAN is watching.

Now that Democrats are back in power, we’re changing the rules. Fiscal responsibility, bitchez!

And, finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements.

So to review: Bush calls for small government, banning earmarks and entitlement reform. What a nod to the new Democratic majority.

But best of all — he announces a surge in Iraq.

We’re carrying out a new strategy in Iraq — a plan that demands more from Iraq’s elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we’re deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq.

Remember: the Republicans lost the 2006 midterms because of the public’s overwhelming disapproval on Iraq, and here Bush basically says, “So?”

This would be like Obama announcing a new, even larger stimulus, adding a public option to the Affordable [sic] Care Act, and reestablishing ACORN — while grabbing his crotch and telling the GOP they had to shut up and take it.

Probably not going to happen that way tonight, I’m guessing.

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