What President Bush says and what he does are rarely within hailing distance, but it was still pretty startling to see the White House press release earlier today about the State of the Union address:
“To keep America competitive in a dynamic economy, the President will set out an agenda focused on the priorities that families are most concerned about. He will talk about the importance of having an educated, skilled workforce, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and making health care more affordable, accessible, and portable.”
Sounds like one of us, right? Don’t show him the secret Democratic handshake. He doesn’t really mean it. And he certainly won’t really do anything about it.
In the SOTU two years ago, he proposed a new $250 million program for job training in community colleges. The next week he released with less fanfare his proposed budget. There was $5 million in the proposed budget for the new $250 million program, and he proposed much bigger cuts in funding for other community college programs.
So if anything he said tonight sounded like real concern for working and middle-class families--like his newfound enthusiasm for math and science education--just wait a week and look at his budget.
You probably got up once or twice during the SOTU to go to the refrigerator or to the bathroom. You may have channel-surfed a little. Maybe you’re wondering if you missed some of what the President talked about tonight. I was stuck right there in the House chamber, forced to listen to every word, so let me help.
What did he say about income inequality? You know, CEO salaries now constitute ten percent of the profits of big corporations, while the wages of the vast majority of Americans haven’t budged. I posted a recent diary at dKos about income inequality and the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center released statistics on income inequality in North Carolina just a few days ago.
No, you didn’t miss it; the President didn’t say a word about income inequality.
When Republicans pushed through a Medicare prescription drug plan two years ago, I wondered if Republicans thought that most Americans hated their own doctor but really trusted their insurance company. If you’re too young for Medicare, talk to your parents or grandparents about their prescription drug plan. The President’s health care proposals tonight are a larger dose of the same medicine.
And as to Iraq, where to begin? The Iraqi people now see our military as a foreign occupying army. In a recent poll, half of Iraqis supported the attacks on our troops, and the vast majority believed we intended to maintain a long-term military presence there. We still haven’t heard a real exit strategy from the President, or any idea of how long our men and women will be there. I’ve said before that it’s high time for an exit strategy, and that we tell the Iraqis that we really intend to go home and let Iraqis decide Iraq’s future.
On the plus side, I don’t think anything the President said tonight will lead to any indictments.