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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sherrod Brown Responds to SOTU

Using the excerpts released by the White House and a comment just sent out by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), here's a blow-by-blow critique of tonight's speech.

On what the American people want from their leaders, Bush will say that:
“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. Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and help them to build a future of hope and opportunity – and this is the business before us tonight.”
Brown, on the other hand, says that the people want change:
“Tired of a government that betrayed them, weary from policies that benefited the wealthiest one percent of Americans, and disillusioned by a war of choice with no exit strategy, middle class voters in my home state of Ohio this November sent a loud and clear message for change."
Bush will talk about his education initiative, No Child Left Behind, in glowing terms:
“Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act ... And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap. Now the task is to build on this success, without watering down standards ... without taking control from local communities ... and without backsliding and calling it reform ... And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills.”
Brown has a darker take on this statute, and broadens the discussion to other pressing education issues:
“Six years later, No Child Left Behind remains an unfunded mandate and unfulfilled goal. The only thing teachers want to hear tonight is that they will finally have the resources and tools they need. College tuition has grown out of reach for too many families hoping for a brighter future for the next generation. They want affordable tuition and increased funding for Pell Grants, and they want the president to live up to his promises."
On the topic of health care, Bush will emphasize patient choice:
“[I]n all we do, we must remember that the best healthcare decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors.”
In reply, Brown skewers Bush's pet project (HSA's) and his proposal to jigger the income tax laws regarding health insurance costs:
"Ohio families want real relief from soaring health care costs and that has to start with lowering prescription drug prices. Millions of Americans rejected the president’s risky scheme last year for health savings accounts. Only this president would follow that up by taxing health benefits and expecting applause."
Bush will pay more lip service to energy independence:
“Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America’s economy running and America’s environment clean. For too long our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists – who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments ... raise the price of oil ... and do great harm to our economy. It is in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply – and the way forward is through technology.”
Brown is clear about what Ohioans want in the area of energy policy, and that's alternatives to oil and no more big tax breaks for big oil companies:
"With the opportunity to turn Ohio into the Silicon Valley of alternative energy, Ohioans expect more than new drilling opportunities from the White House. They expect, and deserve, a plan that will invest meaningfully in renewable fuel development from component manufacturing to fuel processing and delivery. New ideas mean little without follow-through. Ohioans expect priorities in Washington this year to focus on job creation and community development, not tax cuts for billionaires and subsidies for oil companies."
Here's Bush on the Iraq mess:
“[O]ur military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq – because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching. The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through.”
Brown is stark in his appraisal of Bush's Iraq strategy:
“Recently, the president chose to ignore voters, his military experts, the Iraq Study Group, and growing bipartisan opposition in Congress to the failed Iraq policy when he suggested a surge in troops. Ohioans are very clear about their demands on this issue. Bring our troops home from the War in Iraq and return our focus to the War on Terror."
Bush will call on legislators to be "bipartisan" by accepting Bush's way of thinking. Brown points out that bipartisanship of a more genuine character is already happening:
“Congress is already working in a bipartisan manner to better the lives of middle class families everywhere. Earlier today I stood with Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham as we called for a new direction in trade that will strengthen our economy instead of unraveling it. We welcome the president to work with this Congress as part of a new era in Washington.”

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At January 24, 2007 2:18 AM , JollyRoger said...

Chimpy had nothing new to offer, nothing even notable to say. Thus it has been for far too long now.

Sherrod is where he is because he understands what is going on in Ohio. Chimpy doesn't even understand what's going on in his own Administration, let alone anything outside it.


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