Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All Right Then!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see either speech last night as I was busy entertaining my house guests. I probably wouldn't have watched the SOTU anyway as I don't think I could have stomached watching GeeDubya for that He just grates on my sensibilities. I am disappointed that I didn't catch Jim Webb's response. I did read the text of the speech and from what I have read around in a few places this morning it was hot and tight. This following quote is from Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and sums up how Jim Webb showed Bush how to give a speech:
For the first time ever, the response to the State of the Union Message overshadowed the president's big speech. Virginia Sen. James Webb, in office only three weeks, managed to convey a muscular liberalism—with personal touches—that left President Bush's ordinary address in the dust. In the past, the Democratic response has been anemic—remember Washington Gov. Gary Locke? This time it pointed the way to a revival for national Democrats.

Webb is seen as a moderate or even conservative Democrat, but this was a populist speech that quoted Andrew Jackson, founder of the Democratic Party and champion of the common man. The speech represented a return to the tough-minded liberalism of Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey, but by quoting Republicans Teddy Roosevelt (on "improper corporate influence") and Dwight D. Eisenhower (on ending the Korean War), he reinforced the argument that President Bush had taken the GOP away from its roots.
I really like the reference to Teddy Roosevelt...
Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.
This is the way I like to see it done and it is mighty encouraging.

No comments: