Well, we've now got the AP's analysis on the President's State Of The Union address tonight, and it is nothing if not predictable. Frankly, one wonders whether Ron Fournier even bothered to wait until the speech had started, never mind ended, before producing this news analysis.
The state of the union is fretful. President Bush acknowledged the public's agitated state Tuesday night when he gave voice to growing concerns about the course of the nation he has led for five years.
His credibility no longer the asset it once was, the president begged Americans' indulgence for another chance to fix things.
That's the lead. It's incredibly biased.
And it's wrong.
There was no moment tonight in that speech that could by any reasonable analysis be considered as "begging American's indulgence." None. The President was, as usual, forceful and optimistic. Whether one agrees with his policy proposals or not is irrelevant. But it's nonsense to start a piece the way that Fournier started this one. It is just not true.
In his fifth State of the Union address, Bush sought to balance his usual optimistic message with an odd-fitting acknowledgment that many Americans are suffering beneath a crush of change.
"Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite," Bush said. "We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning a wide arc, toward an unknown shore."
Unknown and uneasy.
The problem for Bush is that few of these troubles are new. He's had four years to ease people's pain.
What a failure! He's had four years in office and things aren't perfect in the world. You all remember that everything was perfect after four years of Bill Clinton's administration, right?
But at least we get the laundry list of what, exactly, the "people's pain" consists of.
Nearly 46 million Americans have no health insurance, up nearly a million in the last year. Health care costs are increasing three or four times the rate of inflation...
parents still wonder about the quality of education in their schools. For the first time in generations, American children could face poorer prospects than their parents and grandparents did.
Calling for less dependency on foreign oil is a State of the Union evergreen. Bush has done so in every address.
The president who promised to be a uniter, not a divider, has presided over the hyper-polarization of Washington.
Osama bin Laden has not been caught.
Weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq.
Victory in that war seems elusive, with more than 2,240 American troops killed — and counting.
Victory in that war may seem elusive to Ron Fournier, but perhaps he's missed the news that the Hussein regime fell in 3 weeks, Saddam was captured, the presumptive heirs (a significant threat while loose) were killed, and the country has established a government, with free elections three times in the last two years. The Iraqis are approaching the time when they'll have enough troops to support peace in Iraq without many US military troops. To say that "victory...seems elusive," and mean it, you've got to have some very interesting criteria for victory.
All told, it is, as we have come to expect from the Associated Press, a vicious little analysis, one-sided and anything but "fair and balanced."
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