[[P L E D G E S]] * With George W. Bush preparing to deliver his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the Associated Press looked back at his previous high-toned SOTUs to see how many of his promises had actually been fulfilled. Tax cuts for the wealthy? No Child Left Behind? A push to take the so-called war on terror beyond the borders of Afghanistan (including into “axis of evil” charter member Iraq)? Medicare prescription-drug benefits? Yeah, he more or less made good on those pledges (although the drug benefit has been something of a disaster so far). But hey, whatever happened to his call for greater fuel-cell research? Or a $15 billion expenditure to “turn the tide against AIDS,” especially in Africa? And the White House doesn’t even want to be reminded of his vows to privatize Social Security and “reform” the federal tax code. Oh, and his repeated admonitions to Congress to extend the post-9/11 USA PATRIOT Act? With Bush’s domestic spying scandal much in the news, and confidence in the prez’s trustworthiness and leadership sharply on the wane, he’s only managed to win an extension of the Act until February 8.
While we’re on the subject of the SOTU, check out this video lampoon of Bush’s vacuous and English-challenged approach to the annual presidential address. It’s enough to make you want to laugh ... and cry at the same time.
MORE PROMISES UNKEPT: One of the few high points for Bush last year might have been the mid-September speech he delivered in a darkened New Orleans, vowing to rebuild that storm-thrashed city in “one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.” But, as The Washington Post reports today, “Nearly five months after Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, President Bush’s lofty promises to rebuild the Gulf Coast have been frustrated by bureaucratic failures and competing priorities ... While the administration can claim some clear progress, Bush’s ringing call from New Orleans’s Jackson Square on Sept. 15 to ‘do what it takes’ to make the city rise from the waters has not been matched by action, critics at multiple levels of government say, resulting in a record that is largely incomplete as Bush heads into next week’s State of the Union address.” Read on.
READ MORE: “State of the State of the Union,” by Marty Kaplan (The Huffington Post).