That’s according to WaPo’s E.J. Dionne who rips Bush and chides Dems to seize the moment…….
It comes to pass when an incumbent president signals that the energy is rapidly draining from his political project. The opposition, if it possesses any sense and creativity, has an opening to move the country in a different direction.
President Bush’s State of the Union message on Tuesday was an “Is That All There Is?” speech. The Democrats should be sued by one of their own trial lawyers if they fail to seize their opportunity.
Then there was Bush’s line about how his administration had “reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending.” That’s cutting the budgetary salami mighty thin. A fiscally irresponsible president who sent the deficit through the roof uses a gobbledygook phrase that excludes most of the budget — and then brags merely about reducing spending growth in that little piece of territory. Feel better now?
On some issues, Bush simply went over to the other side. Having once battled for tax giveaways to promote more oil drilling, Bush has decided that “America is addicted to oil.” Next he’ll take out a Sierra Club membership. And that program “to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced placement courses in math and science” sounded like a Bill Clinton idea left at the bottom of some White House drawer.
Oh, yes, and whatever happened to rebuilding New Orleans? A few desultory sentences told us nothing, and everything.
Bush thinks he has a political winner in warrantless wiretapping. Maybe there is one more election for the Republicans in bashing “defeatism,” “isolationism” and “retreat.” But those words didn’t exactly signal the “civil tone” and “spirit of good will” Bush had promised a couple of pages earlier.
The president’s foreign policy rhetoric, like so much else on Tuesday, was predictable and familiar. Bush once dreamed of leading a political realignment. What his speech signaled is an opening for a realignment of ideas. His side is running out of them.