Point-Counterpoint: Bush’s State of the Union Address

Michael Papincak

Michael Papincak is a member of the College Republicans

This week, I have been asked to give my opinion on the recent State of the Union address given by President George W. Bush. After reading and reviewing this address, I came to the conclusion that I could not comment on every specific section of the speech; there would be too much to say due to its length. However, there are a few points that I would like to isolate and comment on.
Overall, this was a pretty typical State of the Union address on paper – I was not able to watch the speech on TV so I am commenting only on the transcript from the White House Web site. I have read a few of his other State of the Union addresses and they pretty much all have the same formula and topics. However, this one had a theme in the first half that takes his ideas about Iraq in a more intense direction.
The first half of the speech is all about Iraq and foreign affairs. Most of what he is saying is not new; we have heard it before. However, he keeps bringing out isolationism, which is something that we have not quite heard before from the president. We have heard him say that we should not pull out of Iraq or the Middle East efforts for peace and democracy – another main theme of his speech – but we have not heard him refer to this as isolationism. I think that this is a very important statement by the president. If the world was peaceful and everything was perfect, then isolationism would be great. We would only have to worry about ourselves. However, this is not the situation. The world is not perfect and peaceful, especially in the Middle East, and if we pulled out, if we turned our shoulder away from the world, the devastation that would follow would be catastrophic, especially in the Middle East. But Bush is now talking about turning away not only from the Middle East but the world. He is basically saying that we need to continue supporting our friends on this and other continents and to make new allies in newly formed democracies around the world; we must remain a vital and important leader in peace and freedom in the world. This is the main theme of the address and I think it is a very important one for people to follow and accept.
The next important statement the president made was about America’s dependence on oil. This is not only foreign oil, which he does single out, but on oil in general. His now-famous line was “America is addicted to oil.” This is true, as we all know. However, this is nothing new from the president. After reviewing past addresses to Congress, the president has stated this before. This time, however, his statement was bolder and more direct. Since the beginning of our war efforts in the Middle East, President Bush has been calling for this addiction to stop. He has also made many efforts to fund and support new, cleaner technology that will give us energy and take us away from an oil-based economy that relies on the unstable countries of the Middle East. This is just what I want to hear. And I am guessing that you all think I am an oil-loving GOP gas-guzzler but this Republican would love to have less and less to do with the unstable countries of the Middle East. All they do is cause trouble for the United States and the world. The less we depend on them the better.
Overall I think it was a good speech with important things to say. As long as President Bush makes some of the things he said true I don’t see any reason why the rest of his second term should be a success.