The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bush eloquent, Webb pointless

President George W. Bush delivered an impressive and politically specific State of the Union address last Tuesday night, talking about issues and his vision to make America a better place. Jim Webb's Democratic response was pointless.

Bush began his State of the Union address with a mark of civility, expressing pride in calling Nancy Pelosi "Madame Speaker." He hit straight on the economy and demonstrated ability to look toward the future. Bush noted that our strong economy is in its 41st straight month of job growth, a sign that his tax cut policies continue to work. With all this, Bush urged Congress to work with him on three economic initiatives \0xAD balancing the federal budget and eliminating the deficit within five years, cutting earmarks (which cost our government $18 billion) and challenging entitlement programs. Bush knows that with a growing deficit, America's economy could grow out of control and create another depression. This is why he proposed eliminating the deficit and balancing the budget. Eliminating earmarks would make that job a whole lot easier while leaving alone the growing problem of entitlement programs would make it much harder. Bush is not dumb.

On health care, Bush touched on the fact that many Americans can't afford a health insurance plan. He proposed reforming the tax code for families and individuals so that a health plan is within their reach. He also wants to see medical liability reforms, which would reduce the cost of health care by lowering malpractice insurance.

On immigration, Bush proposed a comprehensive plan to protect our nation's sovereignty and borders "without animosity and without amnesty." Doubling the size of the border patrol and providing a temporary worker program that is fair and legal will help to solve the problem of wide-open borders and national security.

Bush also spoke of diversifying our energy supply, introducing new kinds of energy and cutting gasoline consumption 20 percent in the next 10 years. This environmentally friendly initiative is on the verge of some great breakthroughs after six years of work. In these troubling times, "our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen." This is a perfect testament to the Bush administration's policy on the War on Terror and national security, which is why we need to continue taking the fight to the enemy. On Iraq, Bush sat down with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and policy advisers to look at each option and choose the best one. I agree that Iraq is a messy situation, but it is not yet Vietnam and we do not have to make it so. I want our troops out as soon as anyone else, but we have to leave the region with a stable and sovereign government. The troop surge will accomplish the elimination of insurgents and help Iraqi forces gain some field experience so they can fight their own battles after we leave.

Bush is willing to reach out to the new Democratic Congress and to work together for policies and initiatives that this country needs — but Jim Webb's speech was pointless. This might be because his staff told him to behave after snubbing President Bush last month.

Webb said that the middle class of this country is dwindling, as job growth continues to rise for the 41st straight month. If the middle class was dwindling, many people would be losing their jobs and our economy would start looking like the Great Depression. His statements are inconsistent with what our economy looks like with dropping unemployment and inflation and a rise in wages. Webb is playing the overused Democratic card that corporations are sucking America dry. On the contrary, corporations are providing Americans with these jobs and more hope than communist serfdom.

On energy independence, Webb agreed with President Bush and even former Sen. George Allen! Of the issues Allen would always talk about, energy independence was at the top along with promoting the sciences in education so that America can grow its own engineers to keep our competitive edge. Working on energy independence and diversification takes time and research. In time, new energy technologies will be introduced \0xAD— Sen. Webb seems just a wee bit impatient. With Iraq, Webb did not even express his own opinion on the proposed troop surge. He simply spoke of his well-known opposition to the war \0xAD— everyone knows that already. Thing is, what does he want to do to that will bring our boys home in victory?

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