It can’t be said that President Bush is entirely ignorant when it comes to the often-complicated idea of bipartisan politics – if he’s not being genuinely bipartisan, he’s at least paying Democrats lip service.
In the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Bush made his first public recognition of the threat of global warming and the growing necessity to stop American dependence on foreign oil in “environmentally sensitive ways.” He told Congress he would be open to immigration reform that would make most conservatives unhappy – a guest worker program, for instance.
Furthermore, he wants to make health care affordable to all Americans. Not through methods Democrats such as Hillary Clinton surely have in mind when they speak of “universal coverage,” but instead through tax cuts that will save Americans enough money to afford basic health insurance. Throughout the address, Bush took the Democrats’ platform and addressed it using solutions that would almost be indicative of a liberal Republican.
Not on the issue of Iraq, however. Unsurprisingly, he has not changed his mind about sending more than 20,000 additional troops into the region. In order to assure success in Iraq – if such an assurance is possible – Bush also intends to add 92,000 additional soldiers and Marines to the Army and Marine Corps, as well as create a sort of militia for specialized, non-military civilians.
However, through all of his bipartisanship, be it genuine or not, Bush has managed to isolate himself from both sides of the aisle politically. Many of his more liberal policies spark the ire of the more conservative Republicans in Congress, leading them to refute him on important issues in an effort to distance themselves before many face re-election in 2008. The conservative solutions he proposes, such as balancing the budget without raising taxes and limiting the size of the federal government’s purse strings, spark the ire of liberal Democrats.
Bush’s speech sounded good overall and made for several standing ovations from both sides of the aisle. But no matter how good Bush’s speech sounded, the results of the first five State of the Union addresses have surely doomed the sixth, regardless of how bipartisan and well-delivered it was. Quite frankly, America has heard it all before, and the results have led to Bush having the “high privilege and distinct honor” of addressing the first female speaker of the house – who is, by the way,a Democrat.