STATE OF THE UNION 2004 LIVEBLOGGING….Real-time thoughts on the State of the Union address….

Overall impressions of the Democratic response ? Jeez, that was just horrible. I don’t think they said a single memorable thing, their delivery was stiff (though Daschle was better than Pelosi), they didn’t really offer any kind of competing vision, and I don’t think they drew any blood at all. What a missed opportunity.

7:30 ? Why is it that “response” speeches are always so bad? Is it bad speechwriters? Lack of preparation? Or what?

7:29 ? Uh oh. A nurse in Sioux Falls with cancer….

7:26 ? Come on, guys. Now some tedious arithmetic about job losses? Sheesh.

7:25 ? Ah, something about paying for Bush’s plans with your Social Security money. Good point. Too bad he didn’t follow up on it.

7:23 ? OK, it’s Daschle’s turn. He agrees that the state of our union really is strong.

7:21 ? Some good stuff about increased funding for homeland security and loose nukes. Still badly delivered, but decent points.

7:20 ? This is about the fourth or fifth miscue from Pelosi. Has she never read from a TelePrompter before?

7:17 ? Wow, Pelosi is a really bad speaker, isn’t she? Totally wooden.

7:15 ? Hey there’s more! Now we get to hear from Tom and Nancy! But why aren’t they standing up? It’s awfully hard to give a good speech sitting down.

Overall impressions ? Very light on substance, but also very optimistic and inspirational. And very much aimed at the base, with talk of drugs and marriage and faith-based charities. I have a feeling it’s a speech that won’t go over too well with the punditocracy but probably played pretty well at home.

7:06 ? That’s it? Wow. That was surely one of the shortest and least substantive SOTUs ever. And commenter Frugal Liberal wins a prize: Bush didn’t mention the Mars mission. I thought he would.

7:05 ? On the other hand, I have to admit that he’s able to pull off this kind of heart-tugging stuff pretty well.

7:03 ? Oh no, not a letter from a child from the heartland….

6:59 ? So does he want a marriage amendment or not? It would be nice if he’d give us a straight answer on this one of these days.

6:57 ? Get rid of steroids in professional sports? What the heck is that doing in the SOTU?

6:55 ? Lots of retrospective stuff so far: the war was great, the Medicare bill was great, NCLB was great, etc. etc. But really, not much in the way of new policy proposals.

6:54 ? This is the second time he’s talked about eliminating frivolous lawsuits. But what’s his proposal for doing this?

6:51 ? Any attempt to take away Medicare prescription benefits will “meet…my…veto.” Huh? Who’s proposing that? Especially given that Republicans control both houses of Congress?

6:48 ? We can cut the deficit in half in five years, apparently by limiting the growth in discretionary spending to 4%. This simply defies all reason. That won’t even come close to cutting the deficit in half.

6:45 ? Lots of good words about energy policy. Too bad none of that stuff is actually in the energy bill he’s trying to get through Congress.

6:44 ? A standing O for increased support for community colleges?

6:40 ? The people are spending their tax money better than the government could have? But isn’t the government still spending all that money too?

6:35 ? So far the entire SOTU has just been platitudes about Iraq and the war on terror. That’s fine, but when do we get something concrete?

6:25 ? Did he really have the gall to pretend that the Kay report vindicated all the prewar WMD allegations?

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