Column: Bush speech ooutlines goals, encourages

It's been a week since President George W. Bush's State of the Union address. That being said, most of us had time to think about or at least hear about it through news coverage. Considering what has happened in one year's time, I thought the speech was impressive.

Last year, Bush's approval rating was hovering at 50 percent; but after this year, a leader that has proved himself to the American public holds steady at 80+ percent. I attribute this largely to the way the president has handled the chaos of the last year. Perhaps he wasn't a born leader, but he most certainly has proved himself worthy as Commander in Chief.

The president made bold statements about how we are going to deal with the ongoing threat of terrorism to the rest of the world, not just the United States. He is right, of course, when he states that we still have "tens of thousands of killers, schooled in the methods of murder" plotting ways to terrorize our lives.

During the speech, Bush defined two specific goals in the war against terrorism. Goal one: Shutting down terrorists' camps, disrupting their activities and bringing them to justice. Goal two: Preventing terrorists and regimes "who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world." To achieve these goals, and to increase our nation's security, comes the largest defense spending proposal in 20 years.

The countries Bush pointed out in his address have responded with varying degrees of insult. North Korea said the statements were close to "declaring war." Iran, on the other hand, dismissed the comments saying only that the president was "arrogant."

I was equally impressed by the president's ability to appease Democrats by taking a fairly compromising approach to several issues being debated in Congress.

Bush made compromising suggestions about farm policy, the environment, ensuring broader home ownership and helping charities help others but he also promised with authority that his budget deficits would be "small and short-term, so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in a fiscally responsible manner."

Americans were looking for domestic hints as to Bush's ideas for getting the economy out of recession. Simply stated, the solution is jobs. Bush vowed to "defeat this recession" and provide "economic security for the American people." Americans need to respond with the same vigor in getting the country out of recession as they have into fighting the war against terrorism.

In the coming days, the ongoing war against terrorism and on fighting the recession will be at the forefront for the White House. Distractions regarding Enron, however, may take away from the effort if overzealous Democrats get too carried away in their efforts to bring down the Bush administration.


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