Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 29, 2003
POLITICS/WAR: Fisking Gary Locke

Man, the Democrat who did the response was a weenie. I mean, the response to the State of the Union is always miserable - I've felt sorry in years past for the pitiable responses the Democrats do, and I was incensed during the Clinton years at the weakness of Republican responses. It's not a partisan thing; it's just impossible to compete with the president on his big night. But the Dems picked a small state governor who's in serious political hot water back home. The response itself is an awful mishmosh; let's walk through it, skipping a phrase here and there:

Good evening. I'm Gary Locke, the governor of Washington state. It's an honor to give the response to President Bush on behalf of my family, my state, my fellow Democratic governors and the Democratic Party.

Note who comes last on the list. ("Mr. President, the Locke family has a bone to pick with you!")

My grandfather came to this country from China nearly a century ago and worked as a servant. Now I serve as governor just one mile from where my grandfather worked. It took our family 100 years to travel that mile. It was a voyage we could only make in America.

Yup, still talking about the Locke family.

Many of the young Americans who fought in Afghanistan, and who tonight are still defending our freedom, were trained in Washington state.

If Rick Perry said something like this, it would come off as, "Texas can kick Afghanistan's ass all by itself." Coming from Locke, it adds to the overall impression that the speech is more about "hey look at me, ma!" than anything the rest of the country cares about. Joe Sixpack just got up to get a beer.

But the war against terror is not over. Al Qaida still targets Americans. Osama bin Laden is still at large. As we rise to the many challenges around the globe, let us never lose sight of who attacked our people here at home.

Meaning, presumably, NOT IRAQ. And since when do we know for a fact that bin Laden is at large, as opposed to MIA/KIA? Who knows? GARY LOCKE KNOWS!

We also support the president in working with our allies and the United Nations to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il of North Korea. Make no mistake: Saddam Hussein is a ruthless tyrant, and he must give up his weapons of mass destruction.

Unless the French say we shouldn't do anything about it. Then, we would be making a mistake. But I get ahead of myself.

We support the president in the course he has followed so far: working with Congress, working with the United Nations, insisting on strong and unfettered inspections.

I suppose the "We" is now the Democrats, as opposed to the Locke family, but I could be wrong. Some of them sure didn't sound like they supported the course President Bush followed throughout 2002. But then, "yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone . . . "

Implied here, of course, is that when the going gets tough, "we" won't be so supportive.

We need allies today in 2003, just as much as we needed them in Desert Storm and just as we needed them on D-Day in 1944, when American soldiers, including my father, fought to vanquish the Nazi threat.

Back to the Locke family's need for international cooperation. As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out, the allies were a little more militarily important on D-Day than they are now.

He must convince the world that Saddam Hussein is not America's problem alone; he's the world's problem. And we urge President Bush to stay this course, for we are far stronger when we stand with other nations than when we stand alone.

"He," I guess, is the President (either that, or it's Locke's dad again). More seriously, it's amazing that the Democrats are still speaking in the future tense about this. The case has been made to the point of being a dead horse; granted, the president laid out some new allegations last night that will need to be backed by evidence before the Security Council, but anybody who's not listening by now is never going to. There's the same false dichotomy again between standing "with other nations" and "alone," ignoring the real possibility of standing with many nations but not all of them.

I have no doubt that together, we can meet these global challenges.

Except that we won't be behind you when the crap hits the fan, Georgie Boy. Then, you're on your own. Brave, brave Sir Gary!

Democrats have a positive, specific plan to turn our nation around.

To be fair, this is where I turned the radio off and read the rest this morning. If you read on, you will note that unlike the president's tax plan, the Democrats' is too "specific" to explain the specifics so the average American can understand what they actually plan to do. Just a general commitment to some undefined tax credits.

Some say it's a recovery, but for far too Americans, there's no recovery in our states and cities.

At this point, I get the sneaking suspicion he's talking about state and city governments.

There's no recovery for working Americans and for those searching for jobs to feed and clothe their families.

Ah, those "working Americans" again, as opposed to people who pay taxes on the income they make from . . . doing what?

States and cities now face our worst budget crises since World War II. We're being forced to cut vital services from police to fire to health care, and many are being forced to raise taxes.

Now, we've got the real gripe here, and the real reason they picked a governor. After all, when the Democrats in Congress vote to raise taxes, they can't well say that Bush is "forcing" them to do it. Of course, I assume that none of these states and cities spend money on anything less vital than police, fire and emergency health care.

Our plan provides over $100 billion in tax relief and investments, right now. Tax relief for middle class and working families immediately.

But we think that it's reckless for the president to ask for tax cuts to be accelerated. If the president's plan is too expensive, why boast about the size of your own? Me-too-ism stinks no matter which side of the aisle it comes from.

Substantial help for cities and states like yours and mine now. Extended unemployment benefits without delay for nearly a million American workers who have already exhausted their benefits.

More relief for governments! And we can't get the economy moving again if we've got a bunch of people around who want to work, can we?

President Bush has a very different plan. We think it's upside down economics; it does too little to stimulate the economy now and does too much to weaken our economic future. It will create huge, permanent deficits that will raise interest rates, stifle growth, hinder home ownership and cut off the avenues of opportunity that have let so many work themselves up from poverty.

Like the "permanent" deficits from the Reagan years, remember them?

We believe every American should get a tax cut.

Well, except that we're against any plans for tax cuts for some of those people, plus we were against the president's last plan to give everyone a tax cut. But other than that.

In 1999, an Al Qaida operative tried to enter my state with a trunk full of explosives. Thankfully, he was caught in time.

If only Gary Locke had been governor of New York, September 11 would never have happened!

Now, a year and a half after September 11th, America is still far too vulnerable. Last year Congress authorized $2.5 billion in vital new resources to protect our citizens: for equipment for firefighters and police, to protect ports, to guard against bioterrorism, to secure nuclear power plants and more. It's hard to believe, but President Bush actually refused to release the money. Republicans now say we can't afford it. The Democrats say: ``If we're serious about protecting our homeland, we can and we must.''

This sounds like a valid criticism, although there's more than this to many of the disputes over the routing of funds. But note that distributing some earmarked appropriations to Governors Like Gary Locke! is absolutely the only deficiency he identifies in our homeland security. Bold new ideas, this party has!

In my state we have raised test scores, cut class sizes, trained teachers, launched innovative reading programs, offered college scholarships, even as the federal government cut its aid to deserving students. Democrats worked with President Bush to pass a law that demands more of our students and invests more in our schools. But his budget fails to give communities the help they need to meet these new, high standards.

Same basic theme here: all would be peaches and cream, if only the president would send Gary Locke more money!

On this issue, the contrast is clear. Democrats insist on a Medicare prescription drug benefit for all seniors. President Bush says he supports a prescription drug benefit, but let's read the fine print. His plan only helps seniors who leave traditional Medicare. Our parents shouldn't be forced to give up their doctor or join an HMO to get the medicine they need. That wouldn't save Medicare; it would privatize it. And it would put too many seniors at too much risk just when they need the security of Medicare.

As usual, no proposal by Democrats to "save" Medicare, just load more freight on a sinking ship.

Environmental protection has been a tremendous bipartisan success story over three decades. Our air and water are cleaner.

Gee, now they tell us. Back in the Reagan years, there was nothing but bipartisan success on this issue! Says the Democratic Response! And they even admit that the sky is not falling!

But the administration is determined to roll back much of this progress.

How?

[I]nstead of opening up Alaska's wilderness to oil drilling, we should be committed to a national policy to reduce our dependence on oil by promoting American technology and sustainability.

I guess he missed the stuff about hydrogen cars; to be fair, I've always hated the fact that the "response" by either party just ignores whatever the president just said. Lawyers have to wing it on some details their closing arguments; can't politicians add a few things off the cuff? Just turn off the teleprompter for 30 seconds and talk turkey?

We will fight to protect a woman's right to choose, and we will fight for affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity in our schools and our workplaces. Above all, we will demand that this government advance our common purpose and not pander to narrow special interests.

Do I even need to point out the contradiction in those two sentences?

This is not an easy time. But I often think about my grandfather, arriving by steamship 100 years ago. He had no family here. He spoke no English. I can only imagine how he must have felt as he looked out at his new country. There are millions of families like mine, people whose ancestors dreamed the American dream and worked hard to make it come true. They transformed adversity into opportunity. Yes, these are challenging times, but the American family, the American dream, has prevailed before. That's the character of our people and the hallmark of our country. The lesson of our legacy is, if we work together and make the right choices, we will become a stronger, more united and more prosperous nation.

Besides finishing the speech back under the shade of the Locke Family Tree, this closing stinks because it contradicts the gloom-and-doom substance of the speech. Locke wasn't selling hope here, he was selling Hard Times. If he was going to be consistent, he could at least mention how the McKinley Administration helped out his grandfather by giving block grants to the governor of Washington . . .

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:46 AM | Politics 2002-03 • | War 2002-03 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think Gray Locke is a great governor who has builded the most successful educational sysytem in the nation. Will you accept An Asian American to be your president? I guess not, because his face is yellow and his name sounds like Chinese or Japanese. Many Americans never treat Asian as American and that's why he mentioned his family history so many times to remind so racists that Asian are Americans too they fought in the world war 2. I strongly believed you are an asshole who doesn't like minorities to represent the democratic party and guess what, go [obscenities deleted by moderator]

Posted by: Paul Lazsek at September 5, 2003 7:42 PM
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