This past Monday night, President George W. Bush offered his final State of the Union Address, going before the House and the Senate to let Congress and the American People know where, in his speech writers' opinions, this Great Nation stands. Say what you will about George W. Bush, that he is a clueless hack who tends to make one cringe when he speaks off the cuff, or that he's in over his head, or whatever. He does possess the ability to read from a teleprompter.Since I didn't actually watch the speech, or take the time to read the text of the speech on the Internet, or watch any commentary on it, I have no idea what George said. But I'll bet he grinned at inappropriate times, mispronounced "nuclear", and got a smug look of self-satisfaction after accurately reading one particularly intricate passage without any mistakes.

I can be fairly certain that he spoke about Iraq and how the surge has worked and progress is being made. Well, let's hope so. We've been hearing about corners he turned and progress being made ever since the unveiling of the Mission Accomplished banner, even if all evidence showed otherwise. Yet somehow, we are still there, troops are still dying, and the terrorist threat continues to worsen.

I'm sure that even while discussing the failure that has been the war in Iraq, Bush was able to generate a heartfelt applause line, with a quick shot of a veteran in the audience, or General Petreus on hand to punctuate the discussion of The Surge.

Surely the economy came up. For years, Bush has been telling us that the economy is robust, but unless you were a CEO, you probably didn't see it in your wallet, what with the stagnant wages and exponentially rising energy costs. I'd imagine that Bush touted the latest "stimulus package" that would put money back in your pocket.

What I don't get is that conservatives always blast Democrats for just throwing money at a problem and thinking it would make it go away, yet somehow it's OK to say, "We know the economy is in the dumper and, in hindsight, giving mortgages to people who could-n't make payments probably wasn't the best idea. But here's a few hundred bucks. Go buy a TV and everything will be fine."

I'm also leery about the fact that they are calling it a tax rebate again. Is this like last time, when it wasn't so much a rebate as an advance on next year's tax return? Face it, this money, a cool $150-billion, is going to get paid back sometime, whether by us or our kids. Meanwhile, the deficit continues to explode.

Chances are Bush continued to push for the need to spy on American citizens, as though wiretapping without warrants, or having records of reading and spending habits of American citizens is the only thing that has prevented another attack on the level of 9/11 (The use of the trademarked phrase "9/11" used here without the express, written consent of Rudy Guiliani, the Republican party, or any of its subsidiaries, such as Halliburton). Obviously, the fact that Esther O'Brien of DuBuque prefers InTouch magazine to People has made us all safer.

On the bright side, I take comfort in knowing that this is the last such address this guy will be giving. I just hope and pray he can't screw things up any worse than he already has over the next eleven months.

Bill Rudick also thinks that former president Bill Clinton needs to shut his mouth. Rudick's email is brudick55@gmail.com.

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