I plan to be far, far away from a television set during the SOTU speech tonight. But no matter; Dan Froomkin provides a preview:
President Bush goes before a disaffected nation tonight to reassert his leadership — quite possibly by insisting repeatedly that he’s a leader with an obligation to lead at a time that requires leadership.
“Lead” certainly was the word of the day at the White House yesterday.
After his Cabinet meeting, Bush told reporters : “I can’t tell you how upbeat I am about our future, so long as we’re willing to lead. . . .
“We talked about how to make sure this economy of ours stays the strongest economy in the world, and that we recognize we can’t just sit back and hope for the best, that we’ve got to lead.”
And at the mid-day press briefing , spokesman Scott McClellan was typically unsubtle.
“We are living in historic times and, as the President has said, we have a responsibility to lead. . . . It’s important that we continue leading and acting to spread peace abroad and prosperity at home. The President is optimistic and confident about the path that we are on.”
Didn’t catch that?
The word for the drinking game crowd, boys and girls, is lead.
While you’re at WaPo, check out this story by David Finkel about Randolph, Utah, a town that in 2004 gave Bush “95.6 percent of the vote and support for him continues to be nearly unanimous.”
Randolph is “a place that seems less a part of the modern United States than insulated from it.”
There have been no funerals here from Bush’s war on terrorism. There are no unemployment lines, no homeless people sleeping in doorways, no sick people being turned away from a hospital because of a lack of insurance, no crime to speak of, no security fence needed around the reservoir, no metal detectors at the schools.
Terrorist threats? That’s anywhere but here. Iraq? That’s somewhere over there. Hurricane Katrina? That was somewhere down there. Illegal immigrants? Not here, where everyone is fond of Ramon, who came long ago from Mexico and is married to the Catholic woman, who is the one non-Mormon everyone mentions when the conversation turns to religious diversity. As for racial diversity, everyone says there are three African Americans in the county, including the twins on the high school cheerleading squad, which also includes a Hispanic, according to the superintendent of schools, Dale Lamborn, which means “we’ve probably got the most diverse cheerleading squad in the state.”
Finkel interviewed a number of locals, and boy, do they love President Bush. It’s still September 12, 2001, in Randolph, Utah.
I say slap Randolph, Utah, in a bell jar labeled “George Bush’s America” and put it in a museum, where it belongs.