I thought it was a fine speech. Bush has become much better at delivering these speeches. He seems much more comfortable. I’m sure that the recent successful Iraqi election helped this time.
My over-all response is that Bush continues to impress me. He’s got a lot of guts. He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s willing to get behind many important issues that most politicians avoid.
I really liked his announcement to reduce or eliminate over 150 government programs:
My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely, or not at all.
I know Reagan talked a lot about eliminating programs, and departments, but I don’t think he managed to do much of it. I get the feeling that Bush just might.
I also noticed that part of his energy pitch included a call for “safe, clean nuclear energy”. Good for him.
Lots of other good stuff…Tort Reform, Social Security Reform, Tax Code Reform, expanded use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful convictions, continued focus on the War on Terror, support for continuing the mission in Iraq until it’s done, and warnings to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and more strongly to Syria and Iran to clean up their acts.
On Social Security, I thought he did a good job of explaining the issue, reassuring older people, and encouraging young people that the changes will be good for them. I’m a bit discouraged that the Democrats have circled their wagons against Social Security reforms; but they seem to continually underestimate Bush and I hope this is another instance of that. His strategy of pitching his plans to conservative states with Democratic senators might work well for him.
I usually don’t like the use of guests as political props for these speeches, but I thought the introductions of the Iraqi woman who lost her father to Saddam, and the parents of the killed Marine were very touching and powerful.
I liked his continued focus on “liberty”, and his reduced focus on God (I didn’t really notice much beyond “faith-based” groups, and the formality of “God bless America”).
I didn’t like his calls for increased spending on “education”, health care, ethanol, etc. I didn’t like his call for the protection of embryos. I didn’t like his call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, either, but I understand that there was an ultimatum issued from a major evangelical group that if they didn’t hear such support in this speech, he couldn’t count on their support on other agenda items. It’s also somewhat comforting to know that such an amendment has no real chance of passage, and Bush knows it.
So, overall I was quite pleased with the speech. It made me feel better about things, and I’m usually pretty skeptical about what politicians say.