Bush gave his State of the Union Address last night before a Congress that was made up of a Democratic majority. He started off graciously enough by recognizing that he was the first president to begin the speech with the words, “Madame Speaker” referring to newly minted Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He even mentioned that Pelosi’s father, former Congressman Thomas D’Alesandro Jr.would have been proud to see his daughter ascend to the office.

However he showed how out of touch with the country he was soon after that opening. His plan to overhaul health care in America is laudable but confusing. The proposal for a standard tax deduction for health care would make it more affordable for low-income individuals but would pay for the subsidy by taxing pricier health plans for any amount above $7,500 a year for individuals or $15,000 a year for families.

His energy plan to reduce gasoline consumption is laughable. He fails to understand that his idea to increase the production of ethanol would cause shortfalls in corn exports, feed to chickens and cows, and would not reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are worsening global warming.

On the immigration front, he favors a guest worker plan. Frankly I am of two minds on this plan. On one hand, this would legitimize many of the illegal immigrants that come here for work, but would not address the reported 11 million already here. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are against any form of amnesty which to his credit, Bush is not advocating. However he really has no plan to help Mexico find a reason for their citizens to stay home.

The elephant in the room however, continues to be Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq. He stood at the podium one year ago telling us we are winning. Now he is asking us to commit more American blood to a lost cause. He talks about how we are bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. I hate to tell you Mr. Bush, but the Iraqi people do not want our democracy. What works in America, and in Western Europe simply does not work in a country like Iraq. I understand that there are democracies in the Middle East, well, one perhaps. Israel, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Islamic countries just do not lend themselves to the democratic process. Iraq was a dictatorship for so long, that to expect them to change overnight is completely unrealistic, and that is what is costing us American lives. The country has dissolved into a bloody civil war, and if Bush can’t see that he needs to open his eyes.

All in all, Bush shows that he is completely out of touch with reality, and gives us more of the same. I however didn’t expect anything else. In that I guess I was not disappointed.

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