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January 23, 2007
State Of The Union: Live Blog

Show going live now -- click the icon below to join!

I'll be live-blogging the State of the Union speech at this link, starting shortly before it commences at 8 PM CT. Be sure to keep checking back here for constant updates during the speech.

Also, don't forget that we will launch my new Blog Talk Radio show with a special 90-minute review of the President's speech. You can click the link below to go directly to the host page of CQ Radio at BTR, where you will find the call-in number and the player. Of course, you can listen to the show using the player on my right sidebar (just above the Blogad strip), and call in to talk at 646-652-4889. After this, we will have a weekly show on Thursday nights at 9 pm CT, and Blog Talk Radio archives all of the shows for those who miss the live presentation.

blog radio

NOTE: Andrew Noyes at Beltway Blogroll will also be live-blogging, at Capitol Hill both during and after the speech.

7:24 pm CT: We'll get started now, as apparently Jim Webb has done. Even in this age of early releases, it's a little strange to get the rebuttal ahead of the speech:

It would not be possible in this short amount of time to actually rebut the President’s message, nor would it be useful. Let me simply say that we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans, and addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans.

I'll peruse it and blog my thoughts momentarily ...

7:28 - It's actually not as snotty as one might think, coming from Webb. Mostly it presents the Democratic positions on the economy and national security as they expressed them at the midterms. However, I had to laugh at this passage:

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. “When comes the end?” asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.

Did he? Does anyone really think the Korean War ever came to an end?

7:34 - Another point about this speech -- I see the Democrats are still selling economic doom and gloom:

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.

Nowhere do we hear that over 7 million jobs have been created in the last four years, and that we have experienced rapid growth in the GDP as well as 14% growth in federal tax revenues.

7:49 - Mary Katherine is also live-blogging SOTU tonight. Allahpundit is short-selling it.

7:57 - Nancy Pelosi brings the session to order, and assigns House leadership to escort the President. Cheney follows suit as president of the Senate. These are the kind of traditions that remind us that we have a centuries-old tradition of etiquette and protocol that underscore the continuity of our republic. Of course, we also have a tradition of predictable and unremarkable SOTU speeches, too ...

8:07 - These are the kind of interminable traditions, etc etc etc. BTW, Dale Franks is also live-blogging at QandO. So's Drumwaster.

8:10 - I saw Michele Bachmann and Keith Ellison from Minnesota's freshman House contingent among the first to greet the President. Michele looked happy to see him. Ellison -- well, he's happy to be there, I'm sure.

8:14 - A nice, comity-filled opening, with Bush congratulating Pelosi on her historic role, and even mentioned her father. It's a nice touch, as was the prayers for Tim Johnson and Charlie Norwood. He also congratulated the Democrats for winning the majority, and they kept their applause blessedly brief.

8:18 - "Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on ..." Not recently they don't, and that's the GOP's fault.

8:19 - Budgets and deficits lead off, and he talks about the "spending appetite of the federal government". Okay, but let's recall that the GOP had the chance to do that themselves -- and had they done so, he wouldn't have had to greet Nancy Pelosi as Madame Speaker tonight.

8:20 - Cut earmarks in half; Tony Snow mentioned that as a goal. It's a good goal. 100% would be better, but I'll take what progress we can get.

8:21 - Entitlements. Is this the seventh year in a row we've talked about this?

8:22 - On the heels of deficit reduction and belt tightening, we get the extension of No Child Left Behind. Now he's going into the health care initiatives. He's leaving the "tax" off of "income tax", but I know you're following along at home.

8:25 - This is really an exciting proposal, but it does have one flaw. Even though it provides tax incentives for people to buy their own coverage, it will be left to the individuals to actually go out and get it. Those who choose to live without health insurance will probably choose to pocket the extra money. At some point, we have to decide whether we allow people to accept responsibility for their choices, or whether we want to create a European-style nanny state where the government eliminates all choice.

8:29 - Comprehensive immigration reform gets a lot of bipartisan applause. Tom Tancredo didn't look happy, but it's clear that the President can make bipartisan headway on this issue.

8:30 - We're coming into the new energy policy, emphasizing alternative fuels and improved battery technology. The endorsement of ethanol gets plenty of approbation, probably from the Midwestern caucus.

8:32 - The 20 % reduction in gasoline consumption in 10 years should have gotten more of an emphasis on the national-security aspect of oil imports. He didn't even mention it. He did insist on getting more domestic supply, in eco-friendly ways. He may have eco-friendly ways to pull and transport oil, but they won't be Left-friendly. Good luck on this without a Republican majority.

8:34 - 20 minutes or so into the speech, and no mention of national security ....

8:36 - Okay, had I waited one minute, I wouldn't have written that last note.

8:37 - Bush looks much more confident and at ease tonight than he did for his "surge" speech earlier this month. He's relaxed and seems to be in the moment. Normally he does less well on the domestic policy portion of the SOTU, but this time he seems to be enjoying it more.

8:40 - He's just cruising through the terrorist portion -- this is his ouevre, and he knows how to deliver.

8:41 - "We must" remain engaged in the Middle East. He is ticking off the progresses of democracy in the area, noting the bravery of the people who have demanded their liberty. It was two years ago when we had members of Congress holding up purple fingers in solidarity with the Iraqi voters -- and Janeane Garofalo compared it to Nazi salutes. Ah, memories ...

8:46 - He's getting into the details of the surge, explaining the need while agreeing that the Iraqis have to find their own way to stopping the sectarian violence. "Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended." Well, they do now, and so do the terrorists, but we'll just have to hope the Iraqis can handle them after we leave.

8:49 - Tony Snow was right. Bush has spent almost as much time on this as he did on the domestic policy. Bush made a strong point when he told Congress, "Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure." He's trying bipartisanship by forming an "advisory committee" including members of both parties to help him in the war on terror.

8:52 - A civilian corps? Interesting. It would be like the contractors, I suppose, but under the color of official authority rather than under contract. I'd like to see more details on that proposal.

8:53 - First mention of Iran and nuclear weapons. And, apparently, the last, as he's moved on to Israel and the Palestinians.

8:55 - Africa gets more of a mention than Iran, as he outlines his efforts in combating malaria and HIV/AIDS and arguing for debt relief.

8:57 - Dikembe Mtumbo (sp?) gets a biography in the SOTU. Good Lord, he's twice as tall as Laura Bush.

9:00 - Okay, I may be cynical about all of these biographical sketches of visitors to the SOTU, but I'm completely buying into Wesley Autry.

9:02 - Sgt. Rieman, too. Did you see Bush enjoying that moment?

9:02 - And with that, an abrupt end to the speech, warm greetings from Cheney and Pelosi, and an exit from the chamber.

What do I think? It was an effective speech, probably more so than last year. He gave the Democrats plenty of openings for opportunities for bipartisanship. He stayed within himself, and offered his relaxed and engaging style that he often displays in front of live crowds.

The meat of the speech impresses me less. I'm a little troubled that he only gave Iran and Syria a passing mention. Iran would be one of the issues on which he could demand bipartisanship, since the Democrats spent the last two electoral cycles complaining that he hadn't done enough about Teheran.

What do you think? We'll be starting the show in less than 25 minutes, so be sure to head over to Blog Talk Radio and join us for a 90-minute session on the speech and its rebuttal, as well as other hot topics.

9:10 - Switched to Fox just in time to see Steve Kagan sucking up to Bush as he exited. My, how times have changed.

9:16 - Watching the rebuttal by Webb. He's better than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who tried to tag-team the 2005 SOTU response. He's also better than his Virginia compatriot, Tim Kaine, who delivered last year's rebuttal. It's enough to make one wonder whether Webb may have thoughts of 2012 or 2016.

9:23 - Going to prep for the show. See you there!

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2007 6:59 PM

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