Tuesday, January 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP”: Activist Cindy Sheehan Arrested at Capitol

Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived.

I suppose there is some political capital to be generated from being arrested, especially in the House chamber right before the SOTU. Still, wouldn’t it have been a far better bang for the buck, so to speak, to stay in the room, get on tv (global tv, mind you) and then be interviewed by the networks after the speech? You know that if she had been in the chamber that she would have been on camera probably several times.

However, she blew her chance. Indeed, if I wasn’t trolling the net for news, I wouldn’t have even known she was there, and I watched part of the MSNBC, Fox News and ABC coverage of the event tonight. She will get coverage for being arrested, but nothing like what she would have gotten had she stayed.

And what is it with peace activists who think that a slogan on a t-shirt has any kind of efficacy vis-a-vis policy? I can see a teenager who thinks that showing up at “The Man’s” place to show him what for with a placard or shirt would be speaking truth to power and all that, but I continue to be amazed at Ms. Sheehan’s puerile, and indeed often juvenile, attempts at scoring political points. Most of what she does looks like either a bad redux of the 60s or simply isn’t smart PR (like going to see Chavez).

None of this is going to effect public policy, even if it will make her cohorts quite happy. But again, thinking that one’s peer group is all that one needs to impress is very adolescent, now isn’t it?

I have been reluctant to comment much on Sheehan, but she has clearly passed into theater of the absurd territory and so it is hard to resist. However, as noted above, what draws me to comment about this story more than anything is the fact that there were smarter ways to have played her cards tonight. She squandered a remarkable amount of free PR–and for what? The chance to be arrested again? Surely once would be enough to know what the experience is like.

Ah well.

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By Steven L. Taylor

The President did address the NSA surveillance issue in tonight’s State Of The Union Address

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So 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.

I continue to have problems with the fact the President has simply asserted this power, rather than obtaining it via Congress, as well as qualms about the lack of adequate checks and balances.

However, setting those things aside, this is a very smart, in political terms, way of re-casting this issue. Not only is the “connect the dots” issue vis-a-vis 9/11 a winner, if one is suggesting one has a way of connecting future dots, but also the semantics are politically smart–by calling this “a terrorist surveillance program” to counteract “domestic spying” is quite smart.

Many suggested when the NSA story first broke that the President could be in serious political trouble. However, it seems that in recent days that this issue is emerging as a political winner for the White House despite the questions that many (again, myself included) have about the program.

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By Steven L. Taylor

I will say this, his presentation of the speech tonight was quite fluid.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Two others watching and blogging:

Ann Althouse

Betsy Newmark

Otherwise, I haven’t seen much else (not that I have looked too far and wide, but a sample of my blogroll only gives me those two).

I would have gotten up by now, but getting up means doing the dishes.

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By Steven L. Taylor

On balance, a fairly pedestrian speech. There have been the expected nods to the military, to the Iraqi people, to the idea of freedom in the world. The notion of American economic competitiveness has been a theme. There has been a warning to Hamas and a warning to Iran. I don’t recall a mention of al Qaeda, come to think of it (Update: yes, he did) .

There has been a series of small proposals about education, energy, health care, etc.

I must confess, the notion that we are going to severe our ties to foreign oil as the result of some vague proposals is rather silly.

Here’s some real Presidential small ball: a proposal to train Advanced Placement teachers. My word. I am all for AP classes, but somehow this isn’t the stuff of the Presidency.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Said Bush:

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million Baby Boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad’s favorite people – me, and President Bill Clinton.

Ok, worth a little chuckle. The camera went to Hillary and she looked as if she didn’t know if she should smile or scowl.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Here’s the full text of the speech as prepared.

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By Steven L. Taylor

That is how President Bush characterized the “state of the Union” tonight.

In looking back over the last several SOTUs, it seems that “strong” is pretty popular, although moreso in the last decade.

1975: “I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good:”

1977: “Militarily, politically, economically, and in spirit, the state of our Union is sound.”
1978: “Tonight, there is every sign that the state of our Union is sound.”
1980: “As we meet tonight, it has never been more clear that the state of our Union depends on the state of the world. And tonight, as throughout our own generation, freedom and peace in the world depend on the state of our Union.”
1981: “The State of the Union is sound.”

1988: “Tonight, then, we’re strong, prosperous, at peace, and we are free. This is the state of our Union.”

Bush (41)
1990: A theme of the speech was “The State of the Government does indeed depend on many of us in this very chamber. But the State of the Union depends on all Americans.” and the closest “state of the Union is” statement was “And let me say, that so long as we remember the American idea, so long as we live up to the American ideal, the State of the Union will remain sound and strong.”
1991: “And the state of our Union is the union of each of us, one to the other: the sum of our friendships, marriages, families and communities.”

: no “state of the Union is” statement

1993: No “the state of the Union is” statement. The closest was “Our nation needs a new direction.”
1994: no “state of the Union is” statement.
1995: no “state of the Union is” statement.
1996: “strong”
1997: “strong”
1998: “strong”
1999: “strong”
2000: “the strongest it has ever been”

Bush (43)
2002: “has never been stronger.”
2003: no “state of the Union is” statement.
2004: “confident and strong”.
2005: “confident and strong”

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By Steven L. Taylor

Two years ago during the SOTU I made an observation about the Speaker of the House and a certain comedian.

This year, I up the ante with a visual comparison:

I report, you decide.

(Toldja I was in a flippant mood).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Here come the Justices–including Alito in his first official appearance as a member of the Court.

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