U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, (D-Ohio), launched Jan. 27 a pre-emptive strike on the State of the Union speech by President George W. Bush.
Writing on the Web site Common Dreams.org, Kucinich said: On Tuesday night President Bush will stand before the Congress and the nation, to deliver his annual State of the Union address. We are sure to hear a rosy tale of an economy on the rebound, a blossoming democracy in Iraq, a terror network on the run, and a Gulf Coast region rebuilding better and stronger than ever before. As is most often the case with this administration, the rhetoric does not match reality.
The reality, Kucinich said, is that the U.S. economy is struggling, and tens of millions of Americans are suffering. The National Journal, a non-partisan publication, reported that, since 2001 when Bush first addressed the nation, median income in the country has dropped, the jobless rate has climbed from 3.9 to 4.9 percent, and the number of Americans living in poverty soared from 8.7 to 10.2 percent.
In addition, he said, the trade deficit has doubled, inflation is on the rise, so are personal bankruptcies, consumer debt, college tuition and the price of gasoline. The Bush administration, Kucinich noted, took a $128 billion federal budget surplus and turned it into a deficit of $319 billion. Yes, were down a total of $447 billion under Bush.
Since President Bush took office, more than 45.5 million Americans or 15 percent of the population, have no health care insurance.
Kucinich pointed to several fables that were thrown out in previous State of the Union speeches: Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax, materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent and upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. All of those statements proved false.
He said our troops today are bogged down in an unwinnable struggle that has cost the lives of more than 2,200 U.S. soldiers and consumed at least $250 billion.
In four of these speeches since 9/11, Kucinich said, the President has never once mentioned Osama bin Laden, who is generally credited with planning those attacks, but he mentioned Saddam Hussein 24 times and Iraq 78 times.
Kucinich also cited the sorry performance of the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The searing image of thousands of Americans stranded without food or water dying on American streets will be the lasting legacy of the Department of Homeland Security, not a reorganized government mobilizing against the threats of a new era as the President described in his speech, Kucinich said.
The congressman also was very critical of many of Bushs policies. In 2004, he said, the President touted a Medicare prescription drug bill that will fatten the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry, endangering the future finances of the entire Medicare program, while leaving seniors confused and empty handed as they try to fill their prescriptions under the new plan. In 2005, the President used his address to promote his plan to strip seniors of the guaranteed promise of Social Security and replace it with a risky scheme to gamble their future in the stock market.
Kucinich continued: We do know that President Bush will speak in glowing terms about the state of our union. The truth is the state of our union is in great peril. This administration is conducting a war with no end in Iraq, illegally spying on Americans at home, overseeing an economy that is increasingly leaving more and more Americans behind and abandoning Gulf [Coast residents] in their hour of great need.
If recent history is any precedent, he said, then we should see more of the same old dance around reality that has been the hallmark of President Bushs annual address.
From the Feb. 1-7, 2006, issue