It amazes me how I still get teary eyed when I hear Bush speak. As I have said many times I didn't start paying attention to politics until Clinton was President :-(. In fact, it makes me sad because all 4 of my children were born while Clinton was President.
All that to say it was so meaningful to me when W became President. I finally got to witness a man of integrity with whom I shared many beliefs and ideals take the oath of office. And W has a charm and a likability about him and he is very presidential. I think some conservatives take him for granted and I think history will look very favorably on him.
He is not perfect. I do not agree with him on Campaign Finance, Immigration and other issues. I think he's too nice to some liberals. But he has done some awesome things and he has been a great president. How often do you get a President who has similar moral beliefs, similar conservative beliefs and is very inspiring in how he deals with people? The last president we had like that was Reagan but who was it before that???? When you look at Nixon, Ford, Dole, Bush Sr., etc. you don't have that. I am going to be intellectually honest when I don't agree with Bush but I think I am witnessing a fascinating time in history. I am concerned about 2008 because no one looks like a Shining Star to me. So I am going to be so thankful for W while he is still in office.
"WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER TO EVIL"
Now to the speech. There were some great lines:
Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122.
But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil.
America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace. We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders – and for the others, their day will come.
Our work in Iraq is difficult because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, the nation has gone from dictatorship to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections.
The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels – but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.
Yet, there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. (Applause.) Hindsight alone is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy. (Applause.)
Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: "I know what honor is. ... It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to.... Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting."
Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.
Tonight, 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.
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 Qaeda 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. The 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 Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again. (Applause.)
Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom.
As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before – and we will do it again. (Applause.)
A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members – new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.) I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench.
Human life is a gift from our Creator – and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.
Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?
Other parts of the speech I liked:
--In the past 2 1/2 years more jobs have been created in the U.S. than Japan & the European Union combined
--Make the tax cuts permanent
--Line Item Veto
I was very happy with what he said directly to the Iranians. Tony Snow mentioned this morning how important it would be for W to do this and he did. I remember hearing stories of how people in East Germany were so inspired when Reagan asked Gorbachev to tear down the wall. It makes a bold statement when the President inspires people in a non-free country that we want them to be free.
I also was so impressed with how bold W was. Instead of walking up there with his tail tucked between his legs (which is how the dems acted like he should) he confidently defied his critics especially when it came to saying he would continue wiretapping to prevent another 9-11. You go W!!!!!!
Things that made me mad:
--The Dems cheering about sabotaging W's Social Security plan
--Hillary's smug, arrogant, condescending smile (I totally wanted to slap her)
People that made me mad:
I agree with Bill Kristol 75% of the times. Sometimes I love his passion and other times he just ticks me off. Tonight was one of those ticked off times. I watched the speech live and was so impressed and then Kristol came on and criticized the speech for being squishy. It was like throwing a bucket of cold water on me. Not happy with him :-(.
The other person that annoys me endlessly is Wesley Clark. For Heaven's sake Bill Clinton fired him. If you get fired by Bill Clinton you are clearly incompetent. He was talking on Hannity and Colmes and I just wanted to scream. He was repeating some rumor and Hannity called him on it and he made some lame excuse. I can't believe he ever thought he had a chance of winning the Dem nomination let alone the presidency.
People that I was proud of:
Rudy Giuliani seemed to be as impressed with the speech as I was. He is such a great guy. I just wish he was more conservative on social issues because he would then be a shining star for '08.
Haley Barbour made an awesome defense when hammered with questions from Colmes. Very impressive.