Addicted to Rhetoric: Bush's State of the Union

Senate Candidate Calls President Out for Empty Rhetoric

Cincinnati, OH - Paul Hackett, Iraq War veteran and Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, responded this evening to President Bush's State of the Union address.


The President said America is addicted to oil and far too energy dependent.

Paul Hackett said, "A former oil executive telling us we are addicted to oil is like a tobacco company executive complaining that their employees take too many smoke breaks. Exxon made almost $11 billion last quarter, while Americans are paying surging prices to fill their gas tanks and heat their homes. The President should stop blaming Americans and put pressure on his cronies in the oil industry to develop and sell the technology we need to become less energy dependent on foreign AND domestic oil."


The President wants to change the healthcare industry in America.

Paul Hackett said, "The last time this President `fixed' healthcare, senior citizens were left with a confusing Medicare prescription drug plan. Here in Ohio only 11 percent of our seniors that need drug benefits have actually signed up. That is no way to `fix' healthcare."

The President said "we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need."

Paul Hackett said, "How? The 1.3 million Ohioans without insurance would like to know. The hard working men and women of Ohio wanted to hear specific plans to help them, not more meaningless political rhetoric. I believe every single American should have access to the same healthcare offered to members of Congress."


The President said that he would strengthen our economy "by strengthening our economic leadership in the world."

Paul Hackett said, "Well, the 347,000 unemployed Ohioans would disagree with him. You strengthen the economy here in Ohio by keeping plants open, keeping jobs in Ohio instead of sending them to China and Mexico and giving people a living wage, healthcare and educational opportunities so they can provide for their families and improve their lives."


The President said, "If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone."

Paul Hackett said, "One question for the President: Where is Osama bin Laden? And why did you direct American forces to stand down when he was trapped at Tora Bora?"

The President said "to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change."

Paul Hackett said, "Well, Mr. President, you surely don't do that at the business end of an M-16. At this point, we have accomplished all we can militarily and are doing little to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and THAT is how you bring about true political freedom and peaceful change. Our armed forces are painting schools in Iraq - a terrible misuse of American military power. We need to let the military set a timetable to bring our troops home safely."


The President's lack of attention to the culture of corruption on Capitol Hill and in his White House.

Paul Hackett said, "President Bush recycled ideas from State of the Unions past and threw in some empty political rhetoric. He helped spread the crisis of confidence Americans have in their government by ignoring rampant corruption and cronyism on Capitol Hill and the White House. It is unfortunate that the President did not take head on the Republican culture of corruption with a true plan for reform."

Visit our new Hackett for Senate blog

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The Troops Don't Support the Constitution

Some also make the claim that when Congress delegated its power to declare war on Iraq to the president (on the eve of the 2002 congressional elections), that delegation served as an adequate substitute for an actual declaration of war on Iraq.

They are wrong.

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Female Soldiers Died to Avoid Being Raped

In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark. Read the, via Alternet

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Polling Project, Fifth Release

Like the fourth release, the fifth release of the polling project focuses on Iraq. It covers two questions, #14 and #15, which describe two different troop deployment proposals:

Q14. Given events since the invasion, do you support the decision to maintain a U.S. combat force of over 100,000 troops in Iraq for the next few years?

                                    All       Dem      Rep      Ind
Strongly Support        15.6        5.2      29.2     13.7
Support                       38.2      28.2      49.3     38.0
Oppose                       24.0      30.7      16.0     24.6
Strongly Oppose        22.2      35.9        5.6     23.7

Q15. A new troop deployment plan was proposed recently. The plan is to withdraw US troops from Iraq but to keep them close by in neighboring countries like Kuwait to be sent back in if they are needed to maintain civil order. Do you, strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose this new troop deployment plan for Iraq?

                                    All       Dem      Rep      Ind
Strongly Support        11.8        8.8      17.9       9.5
Support                       51.5      50.5      46.8     56.4
Oppose                       22.3      25.1      23.6     18.7
Strongly Oppose        14.4      15.6       11.8     15.4

The second proposal might look familiar to many on the blogosphere. This is because, as I understand it, it is the proposal made by Congressman John Murtha back in November. As you can see from the numbers, it polls higher than the "stay the course indefinitely" proposal that many commentators, especially those who are supportive of the Bush administration, have argued we must follow. Overall, 63% of the country support Murtha's proposal, while 55% of the country supports the "stay the course" proposal.

What is perhaps most stunning about the Murtha proposal is how it is supported almost exactly the same by Democrats (59.3%), Republicans (63.7%) and Independents (65.9%). Considering the size of these sub-samples, those differences are within the margin for error. The non-partisan nature of support for Murtha's plan stands in sharp contrast to the "say the course" plan, which features only 33% support from Democrats, and 79% support from Republicans. The broad support for Murtha's plan also stands in sharp contrast to the November vote on his plan in the House of Representatives, when only 3 members of Congress actually cast a vote in favor.

Looking a little more closely at these numbers, I also notice something else. Murth'a proposal does not have a lot of strong support or strong opposition. I think this indicates both that people are not familiar with his proposal, and that people are very, very interested in hearing new ideas about how to deploy our troops in relation to Iraq. Relating to the latter, the country is divided along partisan lines over Bush's plan, but wants to hear alternatives. Relating to the former, it is particularly interesting that in all the media fury over Murtha suggesting troop withdrawal, that the nation is still so unfamiliar with his plan, yet still very willing to listen to it and support it.

If only this was a debate that the media and the Republican Noise Machine actually waned to have. Instead, they have focused on attacking Murtha's personally, and even on attempts to slander his service record in order to keep a real debate on troop deployment off the table. People want to hear alternatives on Iraq, and they like what Murtha has proposed. Republicans would rather slander a veteran. If only we had an administration in charge of this country that was willing to listen to strong, pragmatic, and popular approaches to policy, rather than one that is hellbent on theory, ideology, and national division. If only we had a Democratic opposition that was willing to support strong, pragmatic, and popular ideas on troop deployment in Iraq when those ideas arise from within their own ranks. Right now, I don't think we have either.

Murth'a troop deployment plan is incredibly popular. That really should be big news.

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Polling Project: Fourth Release

This release covers two questions, #12 and #13. I should say that #13 is probably my favorite question in the poll, and something I have been looking for a polling firm to ask since late 2002. Since none of them ever did, I just had to jump at this chance.

First, question #12: Q12. Turning to the war in Iraq, did you support President Bush's decision to invade that country in March of 2003?

Strongly Support 18.7% Support 28.7% Oppose 21.8% Strongly Oppose 25.0% Not Sure / Don't Know / Refused 5.8%

Nothng revolutionary here. These numbers are pretty much in line with other, similar questions on Iraq. If anything, our results show a more hawkish public than most polls. However, what makes our poll interesting is that we asked people why they support or oppose the war. We did so with our open-ended question 13: "Why is that?"

We grouped the results into categories. Here they are: Support
Sufficient information regarding weapons: 6.2
Remove dictator Saddam Hussein / free Ir: 7.4
Support family / people in armed forces: .9
We are in danger / we have to protect ou: 5.1
Support our President, G. W. Bush / elec: 3.5
We were attacked first at the World Trad: 3.6
Better there than in the USA: 3.5
Inevitable / someone had to do something: 3.3
Should have dealt with Saddam Hussein du: .3
We must fight terrorism: 5.8
It is the right thing to do: 3.0
Support - other: 2.2
Support - don't know / refused: 1.1

No weapons of mass destruction: 7.0
War for oil and money: 2.5
Too many deaths: 3.0
USA should not have gone in alone / join: 1.7
Bush and family's interest / finishing w 204: 3.6
War is not the answer / should handle th: 8.2
No connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda: 5.3
We have no right to invade a sovereign c: 6.1
Not warranted / generally oppose / unspe: 2.2
Lack of information at the time: 2.7
War not necessary / we have more importa: 2.1
Don't support Bush: .3
Oppose - other: 3.3
Oppose - don't know refused: 1.6
Other: .4
Don't know / refused: 4.1 I don't even know where to begin to start parsing this, except to say that there is clearly no national consensus about either why the war was a good or why it was not a good idea. It should be noted, of course, that the Bush administration line of a "free Iraq" only came to mind for 7.4% of the people in the poll. Their message on Iraq does not seem to be working for many people.

I have to run, but I'll more releases from the poll later this afternoon and evening. Stay tuned.


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