The State of the Union is "Oh, Fuck, Am I Still Here?":
For a moment here, put aside the Raging Bill that's in the news right now and exult in a little trip down memory lane, back to President Clinton's final State of the Union speech, back in 2000, when the whole impeachment psychosis just a distant memory. Read it, whatever you thought or think about Billy J, however you disagreed with his policies, on the right or left, and remember, just eight years ago, how one could talk about an America that was such a place and not sound completely delusional:
"We are fortunate to be alive at this moment in history. Never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats. Never before have we had such a blessed opportunity -- and, therefore, such a profound obligation -- to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.
"Eight years ago, it was not so clear to most Americans there would be much to celebrate in the year 2000. Then our nation was gripped by economic distress, social decline, political gridlock. The title of a best-selling book asked: America: What Went Wrong?...
"My fellow Americans, we have crossed the bridge we built to the 21st century. Now, we must shape a 21st century American revolution -- of opportunity, responsibility and community. We must be now, as we were in the beginning, a new nation."
Now here's a little something from last night's State of the Union address, the final one by President George W. Bush: "Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined. We faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it's fair to say we've answered the call."
Well, what the fuck else was he gonna say? That eight years ago, America was prosperous and at peace and, goddamn, how he fucked that up real good?
Here's the world as a reflection of George W. Bush's tenure: "We've watched throngs of mourners in Lebanon and Pakistan carrying the caskets of beloved leaders taken by the assassin's hand. We've seen wedding guests in blood-soaked finery staggering from a hotel in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis blown up in mosques and markets, and trains in London and Madrid ripped apart by bombs. On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant." He views the world through a prism of blood and gore and destruction.
Actually, more accurate examples of the tone of the speech, a pissy little laundry list of "Shit What I Can Do," fall into two categories: The Premature Ejaculation - ideas that seem to have conclusions with no plan behind them, as when he said, "We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals." And then he changed the subject.
Or the No-Foreplay Dry Ass Fuck - a rejection of anything that crosses his arbitrary line in the sand, as when he said to the members of Congress, "[I]f you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I'll send it back to you with my veto." It doesn't even bear saying that earmarks didn't make an appearance in a State of the Union until Democrats took over the Congress.
Mostly, the speech was the rhetorical equivalent of watching a sad old man try to coax his cock into an erection while a particularly obese hooker falls asleep on the threadworn satin sheets of a squeaky heart-shaped bed in a faded red room in a decrepit whorehouse outside of Reno. The elderly john's just standing there naked, pants and shirt carefully folded on the mock art nouveau chair in the corner, fondling himself, cupping his balls, rubbing his dick on the whore's ample tits - she gave up trying to suck him to hardness a long time ago - getting alternately frustrated, sad, and angry, wondering why he paid a c-note up front. Sure, his friends cheered him on when he headed up the stairs with the hooker, but, mostly, you know the old bastard's just going through the motions so he can get home in time to watch reruns of Bonanza he's Tivo'd.
Bush didn't give a shit throughout the whole thing. He was bored, only waking up when he talked about blowing things up or about facing down the Democrats (and, bizarrely, Republicans) in Congress on such lofty goals as ensuring that tax cuts for the wealthy don't expire and that he doesn't have to get surveillance approved by a rubber-stamp secret court. It was forgettable in that one forgot about what he said almost immediately after he said it, and so did he. The speech asked us as Americans to do nothing but think about ourselves as individuals and get out of the way so he could get one or two more things "accomplished" before he's outta here. Basically, even more than last year, motherfucker was done, toast, hasta-la-fuckin'-vista; Laura, start the pick up.
Then you look back on the last Clinton speech. And you remember that a goal of the entire Bush presidency was to undo what Clinton had done. You contemplate how degraded the nation has become in the wane of the Bush years, and you think, "Well, shit, there's one mission Bush actually did accomplish."