January 31, 2006

State of the Union: Unlimited Power edition

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 31, 2006 12:25 PM

I usually watch the State of the Union address, and have liveblogged it in the past. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it this year, without throwing things at the screen in a fit of rage. If the members of Congress had any respect for their offices, George W. Bush would be in prison, not standing at that podium.

Ok, I realize that I sound like the crazed anti-Clinton ranters of the '90s. But the difference is that Clinton got a blowjob, while Bush has violated the law, the Fourth Amendment, and his oath of office, and has freely admitted to doing so while claiming that the president is above the law. In effect, he is claiming dictatorial powers for himself, which should by itself be reason for impeachment. Didn't we fight a revolution over this?

Instead the Senate has confirmed to the Supreme Court a judge who agrees with Bush's view of unconstrained executive power. I think Bush actually needs a couple more Alitos on the court before he can put on the crown, but in terms of dramatic timing he should totally go for the Emperor Palapatine acceptance speech tonight.

I'm guessing, however, that we'll get really boring rhetoric about Health Savings Accounts, and probably some saber-rattling at Iran. Hence, I am thinking that I should keep my blood pressure down and just spend the hour reading Cute Overload or something. I can catch the highlights on the Daily Show later.

And while writing this I have learned that apparently Bush will try to position himself as pro-science, maybe even while keeping a straight face. Given Daniel Davies' insight about the success of Bush administration policy initiatives, I think we'd prefer that he stay the hell away from science, thanks.

Tags: Bush Administration, George W. Bush, Politics, Senate
Comments

Laura and I just got a great 15 minutes or so on Cute Overload! Thanks for the link. I guess there are some good things about not having any kind of live TV - we can't watch the dumb thing! Of course, we're also missing "The Daily Show", so I guess that's kind of bad.

Posted by: Chris L-S | January 31, 2006 1:00 PM

For those who care about such things, Cute Overload is up for a ton of awards at the Bloggies. Though please vote for the Bad Astronomy Blog in the Best Topical Blog category - Cute Overload gets enough love already in various other categories. :)

Posted by: Justin | January 31, 2006 1:06 PM

Hmmm... I don't know if I can handle overloads of cuteness. The original Mac version of Puyo Puyo was violently cute, and when it was really popular at Tech during my frosh year, I sometimes dreaded picking up the stuff I printed from the Lloyd computer lab. "En garde!" (in the high-pitch Puyo Puyo voice, of course)

What? Bush didn't already declare himself king. He did inherit his position, after all. :) [In our Democracy, we don't have leadership determined by who one's parents are. Oh, wait. Never mind.]

Hmmm... Given that the State of the Union is today, what was the big speech Bush was giving around January 6th (which I thought might be the State of the Union at the time...)? He kept talking about how things were going well [the annoying stuff was actually the more specific aspects of what he was saying here], and my mood was spared only by changing restaurants (actually, the real reason we left was because a group with the same number of people who came after us was seated at a table first, so we decided they didn't want our patronage, but not having to have that monkey staring at me during lunch made my food more digestable as well).

Maybe George II will get cheered just as Palpatine was...

Posted by: Mason | January 31, 2006 2:32 PM

Mason: I had forgotten about the 6 Jan speech, but it seems that was a speech meant to drum up support for more tax cuts by saying that the economy is really great. (Perhaps the logic was, the economy is too good, so we need to slow it down by running unprecedented budget deficits.)

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 31, 2006 2:52 PM

Unprecented budget defecits would be "impressive" given some of the ones we had during the 80s...

Hmm... too much politics for me today. A draft of our new Congress paper landed on my desk today, so my current job is to look through this very carefully.

And now it's dawning on me that my interview is next week and I really need to revised my slides... The lag in work I was having recently seems a long way away now. I better stop avoiding work.

Posted by: Mason | January 31, 2006 5:04 PM

Look at it this way... all those physicists out there brandishing meathooks and declaring our imminent self-destruction would be really, really depressing. But thanks to many of these paragons of politics, Doomsday is actually just funny and kind of a fun day to look forward to.

When did I come to this conclusion? Last night, while watching Penn and Teller's "Bullshit". They were covering "signs from God". It was very good, and showed us scum and villainy that are too despicable for even Mos Eisley.

Posted by: Josh | January 31, 2006 5:29 PM

Mason: I think the deficit is larger in absolute units than it was during Reagan/Bush I, but maybe not as a fraction of GDP. However, if it's not yet larger in those terms, it will be soon.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 31, 2006 5:32 PM

Also, I forgot to mention on your comment about Clinton... a lot of times when Clinton comes up in a conversation, a Republican will say "He was one of the worst presidents", and a Democrat would say, "he was one of the best presidents". I'm at least speaking of experience with my friends in the past years.

I'm not sure I would fall into either category on this particular issue, but one piece of evidence that made Clinton at least partially a bad president in my opinion was his uncanny ability to rally Republican opposition against him. Granted, he was the first Democrat I lived through, but it seemed to me that Clinton tried to smarm his way through a lot of stuff and fuck with the people trying to attack him just because he could at the time (The "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is" approach).

That being said, while a $50 million dollar war-chest and the Florida snafoo were both definitely vital to Bush's victory, I wonder if the Dems might have pulled through the election better in 2000 if not for Clinton's ability to create crazed anti-Clinton (and therefore anti-Dem) ranters of the '90s, and the Dem's choice of nominees as someone so useless aside from his proximity to Clinton in the past 8 years before the election.

All that in mind, after the frenzy and novelty of bi-partisan co-operation has worn off in the people's minds, with the government as divided as it is today, I'm wondering if we're not going to see the inevitable bounce-back in 2008. I'd easily see that happening, except if two things happen:

1) McCain got a nomination for 2008. If I were to build a doghouse in the footsteps of our mother, he'd still be in it for me, but I still think he's a strong choice.
2) The Democrats couldn't meet with a strong candidate. Obviously a continuing failure of the Democratic party, and one of the reasons I hated John Kerry as a nomination. This includes, by the way, Hillary Clinton as a potential nominee. Even though she's trying to repair some of the damage her husband did to the Clinton name in terms of division, I think that, to paraphrase Fallout 2, her chances of winning a 2008 election are about as high as a paper dog chasing an asbestos cat through Hell.

Posted by: Josh | February 1, 2006 9:17 AM

Gore also purposely distanced himself from Clinton during his campaign instead of trying to use coattails, which I think was a tactical error even with the (then-)current dispopularity (it maay well still be true now, but the then- is basically for when it was relevant) of Clinton in certain circles.

Posted by: Mason | February 1, 2006 10:27 AM

I'd hardly call Clinton one of the best presidents, though definitely above average. Contrast with W makes him look like Mt. Rushmore material...

Bounce-back in '06 and '08 is quite likely, given the popularity of the present government... :) McCain just isn't that strong anymore. In '00 I voted for him in the primaries since he was a Republican I could tolerate, but since then he's completely sold out to Bush and the fundies. He may still have a reputation as someone honest and independent among people who don't pay attention (which admittedly is most voters), but in reality he's not noticeably different from Brownback or Allen. Allen is currently touted as the front-runner, btw.

I very much hope that a non-Senator, non-VP gets the Democratic nomination. Richardson, Clark, Warner, whatever, just not Hillary, Kerry, or Gore, please.

Mason - if memory serves Clinton was never unpopular overall. Even during impeachment he was around 60%, as I recall. So I think running from the Clinton coattails was definitely an error - the people who disliked Clinton weren't going to vote for Gore regardless. Though I think pulling a Bill Gates and granting himself an 18 Charisma would have helped Gore a hell of a lot more... :)

Posted by: Justin | February 1, 2006 11:43 AM

What annoyed me about the Gore campaign in general is his running away from most everything anybody knew about him, with trying to distance himself from Clinton and changing his image to appear more "manly", most of the stories I ended up reading had more to do with his rather vain (and I mean that in the futile and egotistical sense) attempts to suddenly change his image in the face of the public. I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't the only one turned off by the fact that such a story was so central to his campaign. I would have far more appreciated an Al Gore who just accepted everything that had gotten him to that position he was in and show he was qualified for the job rather than try to prove to the world how much he can change to be qualified for the job.

Posted by: Josh | February 1, 2006 1:14 PM

Heh, the whole 'alpha male' discussion was pretty amusing---especially in light of the complaints against Clinton result from his being an alpha male.

Gore isn't called "Mr. Personality" for nothing! :)

Posted by: Mason | February 1, 2006 1:36 PM
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