I think that if I had to boil 8 years of George W. Bush down to one essential characteristic it would have to be the doggedness with which he attacks the third or fourth most important cause of any given problem. We as a nation do not have much difficulty identifying problems. It's that next step that leaves half of us stunned and confused. The other half is apparently very easily distracted.

Take tonight's SOTU (ginandtacos tip: read it, which takes 5 minutes, as opposed to 90 minutes of televised torture) for example. Our Leader believes that we're having some problems with our national pocketbook. We all agree, right? The solution: an executive order that will eliminate a small percentage of earmarked discretionary spending. Yes….um….that is clearly the solution. I might, on the contrary, posit that the quarter-billion-dollar-per-day Iraq sideshow is the actual cause of our financial conundrum.

This fits a pattern quite nicely. People can't afford healthcare, so we need tort reform (malpractice insurance apparently comprising 90% of the cost of healthcare). Terrorism is a problem – let's invade Iraq. Precipitous decline in blue-collar employment? Extend the richest 5 percent's tax cut. Foreclosures out the ass? Send everyone a check for $600. It really amounts to little more than an extended exercise in seizing upon available current events as remotely plausible excuses for railroading 30 year-old conservative talking points through Congress. In 2000, I think this man entered office with a chart; on the right side were three solutions ('Cut taxes", "Send everyone a check", and "Invade Iraq") and blanks for the problems.

It's amazing, isn't it? Imagine conducting your own affairs this way. I'm having trouble with my dissertation – better sell my car. My health isn't great, so I've decided to learn how to lay hardwood flooring. Let the wisdom flow. The one benefit of all this is that it will not be hard for future generations of children to be given an example when they ask what "specious" means.

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4 Responses to “HEY! LOOK! OVER THERE!”

  1. Matthew Says:

    One of my coworkers suggested playing the SotU drinking game, but I don't think I could handle watching it even if I was drunk.

    Oddly enough, she is not at work this morning. She may very have gone a little overboard. I know I would have.

    Also, I have sort of a sore throat today. I think I'll buy an X-box 360.

  2. JDryden Says:

    Let's not forget "People are questioning the government's motives/competence–better introduce a Constitutional ban on gay marriage!"

    There's also an odd tendency in Bush to provide the right solution to the wrong problem: New Orleans is devastated, and Iraq is a quagmire. Which one do you pour buttloads of money into, and which one do you declare victory in and clear out? Kind of an easy one, right? But watch this switcheroo!

    This may have been the first SoTU during which a decisive plurality of the national audience spent the entire speech making the jerk-off motion…

  3. jkm Says:

    During my morning drive I had to turn the radio down during the selected SOTU excerpts on NPR. It was weird because that was an involuntary action, sorta like a gag reflex. I didn't even realize I did it until I had done it.

    I suppose it was a prophylactic to keep my mind free of Bush pollution, but you, Ed, have done a great job disinfecting my neurons just to be safe. Preventing is better than curing though.

  4. Rick Says:

    The whole cut-everyone-a-check thing is a pretty well-orchestrated public relations move aimed at bolstering the Average American's (TM) faith in the government. It fosters a "Yay! The government cares about me!" feeling in badly educated people, a lot of whom are coincidentally dirt poor. I work in a welfare neighborhood and people are a'buzzin' at the tobacco shop next door. They're tickled pink, purple, and blue that they're getting a check for $600, and they're impressed that the government is doing it.

    Of course, this plan isn't going to so much as touch the economy. The people I mentioned earlier who are happy about this free money, transplanted from one taxpayer's pocket to another's, are the people who will blow the money on smokes, booze, and lottery tickets. Some people will pay down some bills, which is what I plan on doing, and yet others (read: the well to do) will look at the check and shrug.

    At the very least, I bet Rent-A-Center will pick up some business.