Realism Trumps Boldness in Bush Address

Short of time and support, president scales down initiatives
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2008 6:56 AM CST
President Bush waves as he leaves after delivering his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, Monday Jan. 28, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington . (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In his last State of the Union address President Bush dispensed with the grand narratives and far-reaching proposals of previous years, contenting himself to repackaging earlier projects, the Washington Post observes. Gone was the boldness—even defiance—of transforming the Social Security system or overhauling immigration law; instead, last night he prodded Congress to act quickly on the $150 billion economic stimulus package and focused on "small-bore" requests like giving military spouses hiring preferences.

Bush also dredged up ideas that have gotten little traction in the past, such as making his tax cuts permanent and banning cloning. With an unprecedentedly early primary campaign in full swing and with Congress in the opposition's control, Bush's one real outlet remains foreign policy, and his State of the Union address exhibited a conciliatory, even Clintonite approach to North Korea and the Middle East, the Post notes.