Bush Outlines Domestic, Foreign Policy in State of the Union Address
Bush started the 50-minute speech by honoring Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco for becoming the first woman Speaker of the House. In an apparent appeal for bipartisanship, Bush went on to suggest that a government divided on party lines could come together on legislative efforts aimed towards the common good.
"Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on," said Bush, "as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done."
The atmosphere of bipartisanship quickly disappeared, however, as Bush began outlining his new domestic agenda. Though certain items such as cutting gasoline consumption by 20 percent over 10 years, increased investment in alternative energy sources, and comprehensive immigration reform earned applause from both sides of the aisle, Democrats demurred when Bush called for medical liability reform and tax deductions to help states provide private health insurance to citizens.
The lingering partisan divisions were most obvious when Bush at first called for a balanced federal budget, a goal cheered by both Republicans and Democrats, but then added that it must be done without raising taxes, a stipulation cheered only by Republicans.
The divisions in audience reaction largely continued once Bush launched into the foreign policy portion of his speech. Though calls to support U.S. troops and intelligence personnel who uncover and stop terrorist activities garnered applause from both sides of the aisle, when the subject turned to Iraq, reactions were more one-sided.
Bush made the case for his new Iraq strategy of deploying 21,500 more troops to Baghdad and Anbar province by appealing to victory and outlining what he called the "consequences of failure."
"Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory," said Bush. The President went on to remind the legislators that regardless of their arguments and votes for or against the war, "you did not vote for failure."
Bush suggested that failure in Iraq could have greater consequences in the region as sectarian violence spreads. He specifically mentioned Iran's influence over Shia extremists as a source of regional instability that would worsen should the United States leave Iraq precipitously.
"If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country--and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict," said Bush.
In the Democratic Response following Bush's address, freshman Senator Jim Webb of Virginia said the President had taken the country to war "recklessly," suggesting that Bush had disregarded the opinions of his advisors and the military prior to the conflict. The Senator went on to cite Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1952 campaign promise to end the Korean War, a pledge he kept once elected president.
"Tonight we are calling on this president to take similar action," said Webb. "If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way."
Related Tags: congress, agenda, speaker, iraq, iran, state, president, union, surge, pelosi, address, webb, bipartisanship
Josh Smith is a telecommunications data analyst and aspiring writer. He is a staff writer for the Saint Leo University Lions' Pride newspaper and is a regular contributor to the political debate on http://www.ThePoliticalCapital.com.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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