Fisking the State of the Union, 2006

I watched some of the 2006 State of the Union address on ABC News. I decided to fisk it, so I got the full transcript from C-SPAN, edited it, and interspersed my comments.

I'll also keep a count of certain events in the speech. these things will be counted:

  • applause
  • references to 2001-09-11
  • references to fear

read on—

Thank you all. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

technically, wouldn't 'fellow citizens' cover all of those people?

Every time I'm invited to this rostrum, —

fancy word. makes him seem smart.

— I'm humbled by the privilege, and mindful of the history we've seen together. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement.

and to hear the state of the Union. that more than the other two, I think.

We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history — and it has been my honor to serve with you.

buttering ‘em up, so he gets even more applause.

In a system of two parties,


  • Libertarian Party
  • Green Party
  • American Freedom Party
  • American Independent Party
  • Reform Party

and those other two.

— two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.

it shall be prohibited.

To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of goodwill and respect for one another — and I will do my part.

are you surprised by this statement? what's the alternative?

‘… and I refuse to take part in this. In fact, there are tanks bearing down on the Capitol right now. Good-bye. [dashes away and locks the door behind him]’

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom — or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy — or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity.

<Catfish_Man> "At some point during the speech, the President usually says "The State of our Union is strong" or a very similar phrase (however, in 1975, President Gerald Ford said that the state of the Union was bad)." --wikipedia

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom — or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy — or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity.

and you know something? he can't be wrong! one of those things will happen!

In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting — yet it ends in danger and decline.

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead. (Applause.)

we need to lead so that we can continue to lead?

Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. On September the 11th, 2001,


— we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country.

was that Afghanistan or Iraq?

Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror.

democracies… like Iran!

… In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today, there are 122. …

we should form a lonely-democracies club.

… At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half — in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran — because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom, as well. (Applause.)

so the Axis of Evil admitted a couple new members? I don't remember Burma and Zimbabwe being on that list.

… Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder — and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear.

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

When they murder children at a school in Beslan, —

eh? what does the hostage situation in Beslan have to do with it?

— or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it. (Applause.)

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.

‘no honor in retreat’. little did we know, George W Bush is secretly a Klingon.

… America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, —

or the prisoners therein. the camps themselves were emptied.

— and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire.

which one was that?

… We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory.

what is it?

‘Well, we can't tell you that, or the terrorists would know how to work around it.’

… Fellow citizens, —

but not the Speaker, the Vice President, the members of Congress, the members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, or the distinguished guests?

— we are in this fight to win, and we are winning. (Applause.)

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels — but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

aren't you the Commander-in-Chief?

… Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices — and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear.

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

Our nation is grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. We're grateful to all who volunteer to wear our nation's uniform —

uniforms. there are more than one kind of uniform in the US military.

— and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America's military families. (Applause.)

Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear —

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

— by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East.

huh? broader than what?

I guess he means in addition to Iraq.

The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election — and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. (Applause.)

or else.

The same is true of Iran, a —


— nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon — and that must come to an end. (Applause.) The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

are they illegal or something?

America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, and fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands.

‘To do this, we must first build a giant spreading-knife.’

In recent years, you and I have taken unprecedented action to fight AIDS and malaria, expand the education of girls, —


— and reward developing nations that are moving forward with economic and political reform. For people everywhere, the United States is a partner for a better life.

sounds like a commercial.

‘The United States. A partner, for a better life. Join the United States now! 1-800-JOIN-USA’

… We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack — based on authority given to me by the Constitution —

the Fourth Amendment?

— and by statute — I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, —


— and federal courts have approved the use of that authority.


… If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again. (Applause.)

then get a warrant.

In all these areas — from the disruption of terror networks, to victory in Iraq, to the spread of freedom and hope in troubled regions — we need the support of our friends and allies. To draw that support, we must always be clear in our principles and willing to act. The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world. Yet we also choose to lead because it is a privilege to serve the values that gave us birth. American leaders — from Roosevelt —

which one?

—to Truman to Kennedy to Reagan — rejected isolation and retreat, because they knew that America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.

Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy — a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, —

forecasting the defeat of the Republican candidate, are we?

— who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. …

… In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs — more than Japan and the European Union combined. (Applause.)

where do they get this statistic? and what does the job growth of other countries have to do with it?

The American economy is preeminent, but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors, like China and India, and this creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears.

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

So we're seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy — even though this economy could not function without them. (Applause.)

but this implicitly refers to illegal immigrants, who are here illegally. if our economy is dependent upon these people, then it is thoroughly messed up.

All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction —

to the dark side.

— toward a stagnant and second-rate economy.

Tonight I will set out a better path: an agenda for a nation that competes with confidence; —

we don't want confidence to win out.

— an agenda that will raise standards of living and generate new jobs. Americans should not fear our economic future, —

fear is the path of the dark side.

fear leads to anger.
anger leads to hate.
hate leads to suffering.

— because we intend to shape it.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent. (Applause.)

didn't he say this last year?


I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto. (Applause.)

uh... WHAT?

didn't Clinton get this? and didn't it get struck down in the Supreme Court?

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad's favorite people — me and President Clinton. (Laughter.)

C-SPAN didn't do this, but when Bush said this, ABC News cut to a shot of Senator Clinton in the audience. she had the dirtiest scowl on her face.

Frame-grab of Hillary Clinton's scowl.

(it doesn't look as bad in the frame-grab — it was much worse on TV.)

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security — (applause) —



— yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission …

ah, create a commission. that'll help.

… With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker. (Applause.)

except maybe those people in the Third World who work for a dollar a day. they look pretty good to the American companies looking for cheap labour.

… And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, —


— allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, —

if they seek the jobs legally, why do they need to be temporary?

— and reduces smuggling and crime at the border. (Applause.)

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. (Applause.) Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. (Applause.)

I didn't see any such responsibility named in the Constitution. life, liberty, pursuit of happiness — nothing about health care.

For all Americans — for all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. (Applause.)

pay my insurance!

We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors.

as opposed to non-dangerous medical errors?

We will strengthen health savings accounts — making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. (Applause.) We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. (Applause.) And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice — leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB/GYN —

Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country. —GWB (full transcript of that speech)

— I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year. (Applause.)

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources — and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative —

an initiative! yay.

— a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research — at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

… We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (Applause.)

i.e., ‘after my term’.

By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. (Applause.)

And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people — and we're going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, —

another initiative?


— to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science. (Applause.)

… We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, —



— which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country.

test scores mean nothing. they examine the test as much as the child tested.

In recent years, America has become a more hopeful nation.

war… terrorism… bird flu…

yeah. real hopeful.

Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth —

define 'youth'.

— is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America —

over what time period?

— than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row. (Applause.)

again, over what time period?

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They're concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, —

like snooping?

— and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage.

what? huh? when did marriage enter into this?

They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.

treatable diseases… lead to suffering.

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. …


(presumably, this is some sort of reference to cloning, but taken literally, it doesn't make much sense.)

A hopeful society gives special attention to children who lack direction and love. Through the Helping America's Youth Initiative, —

another initiative?

— we are encouraging caring adults to get involved in the life of a child — and this good work is being led by our First Lady, Laura Bush. (Applause.)


A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans.

why is the African-Americans statistic important?

I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act, and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicines in America. (Applause.) We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African American churches —

why only African-American churches? you don't think all the other churches will help with this?

— and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America. (Applause.)

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage.

by books, you meant ink. or more accurately now, magnetic storage followed by toner.

Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward — optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of the victories to come.

and the counts:

applause: 62.
2001-09-11: 2 — yes, that's right, only two.
fear: 5.


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