The American Interest

Same Old Song and Dance

President George W. Bush painted a pleasingly simple black-and-white picture of the world in his State of the Union Address on January 28.  It was a choreographed political speech with several statements of strong intent rather than a factual assessment of the nation’s current “state.”  That America is strong and resolute, while Saddam Hussein is the embodiment of evil, was, not surprisingly, Mr. Bush’s main theme.  Unlike last year, there was no Axis of Evil and no mention of Osama bin Laden.  The blanket assurance in the opening paragraph that “every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people” will be resolutely dealt with was intended to indicate that Mr. Bush is mindful of other flashpoints in the world—though they later paled to relative insignificance, as Iraq became the dominant foreign theme.

The first half of the speech was devoted to domestic issues, as the President sought to relaunch himself as a “compassionate conservative.”  As the main accomplishments of his administration’s first two years, he listed education reform, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and tax relief.  All this amounts to “a good start,” Bush asserted, adding that his first goal for the coming year is to have an economy that grows fast enough to offer full employment.  He deftly ascribed America’s present...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here