Once again, it’s time to talk back to Bush. All the remarks below come from George W. Bush’s January 26 press conference–except for the italicized heckling.
Bush: Good morning. With the second term underway and a new Congress at work, we’re moving forward on great goals for our country. In my inaugural address I renewed this nation’s commitment to expanding liberty at home and promoting liberty abroad.
And you raised far more questions than you answered.
Because our own freedom is enhanced by the expansion of freedom in other nations, I set out the long-term goal of ending tyranny in our world. This will require the commitment of generations.
During that address, you also made what seemed to be a short-term promise. You said, “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.” This sure suggested you were fired up and ready today to confront political tyranny wherever it may exist and assist democrats and dissidents currently challenging repressive rulers–say, in Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Now it looks like you’re not truly ready and willing to “stand” with these folks. With this speech, did you write a check you can’t cover?
Next week, I will report to Congress on the state of the union and describe in more detail a legislative agenda to serve the goals I have outlined. I’ll ask the House and Senate to act soon on the issue of Social Security, so that we don’t pass a bankrupt system on to our children and our grandchildren. I’m open to good ideas from members of Congress. I’ll work with both parties to get results. Any solution must confront the problem fully and directly by making the system permanently solvent and providing the option of personal accounts.
Are you finally going to offer a Social Security plan with details? During the 2000 campaign, you said there was a dire need to alter the Social Security system. Yet five years have passed, and you still have not produced a plan for dealing with what you call a “crisis.” Why are you lallygagging? By the way, the system will not be “bankrupt,” as you assert repeatedly. Come 2042–or maybe even 2052–it will be able to pay out about three-quarters of scheduled benefits, according to conservative projections. That’s a problem; it’s not bankruptcy. If you don’t believe me, please check with your old professors at Harvard Business School. I’m sure they will remember you.
We have a full agenda. I’m looking forward to the work ahead. And now I’m looking forward to answering some of your questions.
Q: Mr. President, the insurgents in Iraq are threatening to kill anyone who comes out to vote on Sunday. Do you think they’ll succeed in killing or scaring away enough people so that the elections will be rendered seriously flawed or not credible?