DATE: 1/21/2004 08:34:00 AM
Dem Response - What were the Democrats thinking? Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi? I know these are the Democrat leaders in the Congress, but neither of them is really an effective spokesperson. Someone with...uh...charisma would have been better. Hugh Hewitt says he plans to play excerpts of Pelosi's speech on his show today, as an example of how far disconnected Democrats are from reality. He is especially upset with the following passage:
But even the most powerful nation in history must bring other nations to our side to meet common dangers. The president's policies do not reflect that. He has pursued a go-it-alone foreign policy that leaves us isolated abroad and that steals the resources we need for education and health care here at home. The president led us into the Iraq war on the basis of unproven assertions without evidence; he embraced a radical doctrine of pre-emptive war unprecedented in our history; and he failed to build a true international coalition.After the list of countries Bush included in the SOTU, this section came across as aggressively stupid. This is, after all, supposed to be a response to the speech given by the president. Then there was this nonsensical gem:
America must be a light to the world, not just a missile.Wow. That's, like, deep.
Then came Daschle. He spoke of creating an "opportunity society." It was actually an effective theme to hold his speech together, but would have been more effective if attached to positive rhetoric. Instead, we get slightly unbelievable sections like this one:
When I was driving around South Dakota this summer, I met a nurse in Sioux Falls who has cancer. She told me that she couldn't afford the $1,500 a month her drugs cost. She told me that she was going to die - that she was a lost cause. But, she said, we must solve this problem; don't turn more people into lost causes.Okay, show of hands. Who actually believes there is a dying nurse in South Dakota that provided Tom Daschle with a good soundbite? Anyone? No? Okay. Follow-up question. How many reporters will fact-check this story to see if there really is a nurse? Didn't think so.
To be fair, responses to the State of the Union always lack the grandeur of the main event. Instead of one man speaking to an applauding crowd in a majestic chamber, the response is usually someone blinking (or not, in Pelosi's case) into a lone camera. The contrast this year was jarring not only for the setting, but the tone and demeanor of the speakers. Bush is not the most effective public speaker to grace the SOTU stage, but he looked like Churchill compared to the two who followed.