Bush sounds good (and right), Webb sounds great (but wrong)...
60 percent of the active duty military view Bush favorably, at least according to the military newspaper Military Times. Freshman Senator Jim Webb, in his rebuttal of president Bush's State of the Union, asserted that a majority of the American people and the military do not support his (W's) strategy on Iraq. (I clarify to emphasize that W is the only person, as of yet to actually offer a strategy for achieving significant progress in a short term, except of course me.) He's a rookie, though there is a theatrical quality their that is at the level of Reagan, so I think its fair to forgive the novelist turned Senator for embellishing. This is not the first time the Senator has been bold when the issue of Iraq and his feelings with the president's policy. About a month ago, before the Senator was sworn in, he was invited to a Christmas party at the White House and when he was mingling with Bush, the president asked him how his 'boy' was doing. With Karl Rove buzzing in your ear, it is likely that Bush was well aware that Webb's son is serving in Iraq currently, so he was asking out of respect and I have no doubt with a heavy heart. I can only imagine the look on Bush's face when Webb had the audacity to respond with a sharp, "My son wants to come home." Aghast, W retorted, "That's not what I asked you." Doesn't it make your stomach churn to imagine someone at the president's Christmas party walking in like a bully with a chip on his shoulder. Respect.
I look forward to the next six years with Jim on the Hill. It is telling that the Democrats put Webb out to rebut, I think it was just last year that recently retired Virginia Governor Mark Warner was rolled out to give the Democratic response. One could argue that this was the turning point for Bush's presidency. I sincerely hope that this night will be the rallying point the White House was looking for, but I have learned not to hold out hope.
Also, I thought it was hilarious was Bush gave his cute little bit to make the new Madam Speaker blush, and he shook her hand at least three times. I didn't notice at first, but I did not see Dick Cheney so much as glance the Speaker's way. He didn't even make the slightest congratulatory gesture, not even when SHE reached over and grabbed his arm after Bush had already started speaking again. I am sure the VP's cold welcome was motivated by nothing less than a personal revulsion. And why not hate, she has after all taken over the government by running all over the country spewing crap about how the president is a liar. She has no class and I hope she was humbled by the way the president honored her big night, but the unspoken tension and hostility on the back bench was obvious. It looks like Cheney has got his game face on and has W's back all the way. Bush kisses ass really well, and Cheney is a great hit guy (remember his "hunting trip"), so I wonder if the Bush in front of the camera was suppressing an inner hostility that was conveyed through his #2? Maybe, but I suspect his ALL CLASS reputation will prevent him from stooping to the level of petty attacks and name calling. I doubt they will soon understand, or rather rediscover, the old fashioned principles of American politics which has finally after 12 years given them some momentum.