I heard someone on the tube last night suggest that the President had become less combative. He was leaving the tough words out of his state of the union speech and reaching across the aisle for bipartisanship. The notion was that the President had lost the faith of the American people and finally understood that he must come back "into the mainstream." The mainstream? What the hell does that mean? Is the mainstream represented by the words and deeds of Al Gore, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean? So what did the President actually say and was it really a "less combative speech?"
Here are some noteworthy quotes from the speech in the order they appeared:
"There is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy."
"The Palestinian people have voted in elections - now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace."
"Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."
"To prevent another attack - based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute - I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have - and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it - because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again ... Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy - a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours."
"I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent."
"By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire Federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices - staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending. Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away - and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse."
Americans "are concerned ... discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. We have proven the pessimists wrong before - and we will do it again. A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench."
"Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite."
My interpretation of these comments goes something like this:
Let's quit all this ridiculous bickering aimed only at political advantage which is causing the people we represent so much angst. Criticism is fine but irresponsible criticism is unacceptable. You guys across the aisle have been engaging in unacceptable criticism and hiding behind a veneer of responsible debate.
Democracy is fine and good but when a country elects terrorists to run their government, the elected parties have a choice to make. They can continue their ways in which case they can expect the rest of us to fight them. Or they can moderate and learn to live in the world as it is.
Iranian people rise up and rebel.
We are doing anything and everything to protect the American people from terrorist attack. If I was a Democrat, I'd be doing the same thing. Before you Democrats go to far in an effort to undermine my security programs, put yourselves in my shoes because one day you may be.
Let's cut the BS about the temporary tax cuts. Make them permanent. They are essential.
It was really fun debating the social security thing with all you guys and gals. The time for fun is over. The system is headed for a cliff. It is time to turn the wheel. Stop the bickering and let's get to work.
The day of liberal activist courts is over. The Supreme Court's day of seeking authority for grey areas of the US Constitution in court cases from foreign lands who have nothing even remotely similar to the Constitution is over. That was folly but it has ended. I will contnue to send conservative judges to you. If you want to filibuster them, go ahead and make my day.
These are important times. If you are not up to the task, get the hell out of the way.
There's nothing in them thar words that is even remotely combative. Wouldn't you agree?