In the President's State of the Union address, there were congratulations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, calls for bi-partisan cooperation ("Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on - as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done"), and discussions ranging from the economic reforms to health care to border security and immigration. President Bush called for energy reform including a reduction in gasoline usage, an increase in the supply of America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and in the supply of alternative fuels. The President also stood to defend his position on the war in Iraq (The Iraqi Civil War, for those NBC viewers that may be reading this blog).
There were some smartly written observations ("Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen.") as well as some rhetoric that may have been intended to be inspirational ("This war is more than a clash of arms - it is a decisive ideological struggle...") but sounds somewhat ridiculous to this blogger.
The President stated well the effect that our military strength will have on the creation of democracy and liberty in the middle east. He commented that the Iraqi government is willing, but not able. He also commented that "...now is the time for their government to act." But, he never explained the benefits or purpose to the American people. He never explained the link between the security of Baghdad and that of New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, or the American communities between.
Senator Webb's response was about as useful. He stated that the Democratic Party hope is that the administration is serious about addressing "domestic priorities". He touted his families' contribution to the military and condemned Bush's stance. However, his only proposal was for "an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy".
It's important to note that the quote above is Senator Webb's proposal in its entirety. There was no more discussion or allusion to anything more than criticism for the current status of the war.
It reminds me of a balloonist that asked a fisherman for directions... but I digress.
My conclusion is that last night neither the President, nor Senator Webb stated anything useful or productive. While the President alluded to new initiatives that may be important policies for the American people and will definitely be challenging resolutions for the American government (and only time will tell whether or not these initiatives are substantial or simply smoke and mirrors); Neither seemed to be concerned with finding options or ideas that would benefit the voters, tax-payers, or American society as a whole.