Why Can't Our 2008 Contenders Talk Like Webb?

As far as I can tell, the only significant outcome of the State of the Union was Jim Webb's entrance onto the national scene.  Bush was his usual pathetic and pathologically dishonest self, and is at this point horribly unpleasant window dressing.  But Jim Webb brought a new sense of power and maturity to the table.  Webb's response was powerful because of its simplicity, and there's a lesson to take from it.  Here's the meat of his argument.

There are two areas where our respective parties have largely stood in contradiction, and I want to take a few minutes to address them tonight. The first relates to how we see the health of our economy - how we measure it, and how we ensure that its benefits are properly shared among all Americans. The second regards our foreign policy - how we might bring the war in Iraq to a proper conclusion that will also allow us to continue to fight the war against international terrorism, and to address other strategic concerns that our country faces around the world.

The speech was powerful because Webb acknowledged the national mistake of the war in Iraq and argued for ending it.  He also used a careful phrase, 'largely stood in contradiction' to describe the two parties, which suggests that there are a few Republicans who want to end the war and there are a few Democrats who don't.

The lesson is clear.  If you are a Democrat who isn't upfront about the war in Iraq as a clear mistake, and if you are not for ending the war in Iraq, you are going to sound weak and disingenuous.

UPDATE: I'm not suggesting that Webb run for President. What I'm trying to point out is how desperately weak our field is right now without a real commitment to end the war in Iraq.

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Fresh State of the Union Thread

Before we start, what channel are you watching the address on? Are you watching it online? Listening on the radio?

  • Four thousand troops into Anbar, which is about the size of North Carolina, will not and cannot wipe out all of the violence in the region.
  • Is is just me, or is Dick Cheney's inattentiveness somewhat evocative of the SNL skit in which the actor portraying Dan Quayle stands up at the entirely wrong points in George H.W. Bush's state of the union address?
  • Dikembe Mutombo. What an obscure reference!
  • This is perhaps the least memorable and most underwhelming state of the union addresses in recent memory. A central point to remember: No mention of Katrina. So much for the determination to improve the lives of those affected by the hurricane, let alone the millions facing poverty in the region and around the country.
  • Olbermann, on MSNBC, puts it well (paraphrasing): It was neither a great speech nor a bad speech.

What do you make of the speech?

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SOTU Sneak Peak

Most people don't realize that the State of the Union is pretaped.  Inevitably of course, someone slipped a copy of the SOTU onto youtube.

Here you go.

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State of the Union 2007: Back to Outer Space?

According to The New York Times' Warren E. Leary, space fever is once again hitting Washington.

NASA announced plans on Monday for a permanent base on the Moon, to be started soon after astronauts return there around 2020.

The agency's deputy administrator, Shana Dale, said the United States would develop rockets and spacecraft to get people to the Moon and establish a rudimentary base. There, other countries and commercial enterprises could expand the outpost to develop scientific and other interests, Ms. Dale said.

Ms. Dale and other officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the agency envisioned a base at one of the lunar poles, to take advantage of the near-constant sunlight for solar power generation. It would have an "open architecture" design to which others could add the capabilities they want.

Scott Horowitz, NASA's associate administrator for exploration, said crews of four astronauts would make weeklong missions to the Moon starting around 2020.

As more equipment was set up, human stays would eventually grow to 180 days, and become permanent by 2024. By 2027, officials said, a pressurized roving vehicle on the surface would take people on expeditions far from the base.

As someone reared on Sid Meier's Civilization, in which one way to victory (complete domination over the world, in effect) is to colonize another planet, I must admit that this move sounds exciting -- just as exciting as the last time we heard it, in fact. The problem is, as is the case with many Bush administration efforts, that while the policy at hand sounds intriuging on the surface, when time comes to actually implement it the administration is wholly inept.

If President Bush actually wanted to present a bold vision of moving humanity beyond the Earth, he would have put such a policy at the forefront of his agenda, not only selling it to the American people but also finding the resources to provide for the culmination of his goal. Instead, the President has cynically trotted out space exploration every once and a while as a means of distracting voters at a time of trouble. But as much at the White House might hope that sending men back to the moon might take other concerns, mainly Iraq, off of the minds of Americans, it's just not going to happen -- even if it finally makes it into the State of the Union after being so noticeably absent three years ago.

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media falsely equating sheehan/young at sotu

as we pointed out yesterday, the spinmeisters are working overtime to put a "fair and balanced" patina on the arrest of cindy sheehan compared to mrs. beverly "then you are an idiot, copper" young's polite ejection from the capitol chamber minutes before the snooze of the union speech on tuesday.

we mentioned we heard squeaky abrams on the abrams report mention the two events as if they were both equally ridiculous and obstrusive to the women's freedoms. we now have squeaky's transcript, and it's even worse than we remembered.

more after the jump.

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