Each and every year, the president of the United States takes a little ride down Pennsylvania Avenue and gives a long, boring speech that’s supposed to encompass everything that’s going on in the country to a Congress that seemingly uses it as a chance to get autographs from the Leader of the Free World and hone their standing-ovation skills. And so it was that last night President George W. Bush journeyed to Capitol Hill to waste an hour of everyone’s collective time for the last time in his presidency.
And what an absolute waste of time it was!
Bush didn’t announce a new program or policy prescription and didn’t try to make waves with any sort of change in foreign policy. He smirked while he threatened to veto stuff he was always going to veto; recounted his “successes” in the past seven years, like the fact that we haven’t been successfully attacked by terrorists since 9/11; demanded that Senator Reid not slow up the recession-preventing bill that might not prevent the recession; and kept praising the nation’s armed forces because then everyone would have to stand and applaud him. In fact, much of his speech focused on the happy-cheery War on Terror™ instead of the more depressing war in Iraq, but, hopelessly convinced the surge is working, Bush won’t be pushed into an early withdrawal of our troops—who, by the way, are doing great! Did we mention the troops? They’re cool, really.
Other than that, he basically recited the same tired crap: Tort reform is good; making his tax cuts permanent is better; veterans are a-okay with him; association health plans should happen because the lobbyists keep lobbying about it; No Child Left Behind works super-well; did he mention the troops are awesome?; and something ought to be done about immigration. Not really clear why it took him 53 minutes to recite all the bits of his agenda that haven’t gotten done in the past seven years, but it’s a good reminder of what you still can’t accomplish even when your party technically controls both chambers of Congress and the Executive branch just before a presidential election.