Bush Sets the Foreign Policy Table
Heading into his seventh and final State of the Union address last night, President Bush was certainly in no enviable position for a politician. But, despite his circumstance as an unpopular president defending an unpopular war, while facing a potential recession at the end of two long terms in office, Bush was no less passionate on Iraq, Iran, and the Global War on Terror than he has been in past addresses. These policies form the ideological core of his presidential legacy, and they will set the table for voters in November, with one of the starkest foreign policy choices in recent memory.
For anyone following the Republican presidential race, it should be abundantly clear by now that all of the candidates (except Ron Paul, of course) strongly support President Bush’s worldview on these issues. They may quibble about how the Administration has managed its efforts, but they have offered no public disavowals of the core tenets of Bush foreign policy. In contrast, anyone watching the Democratic presidential contest should realize by now that those candidates seek to dismantle Bush foreign policy. They may argue over how quickly this can be accomplished in Iraq, but there is no disagreement about the ultimate goal.
So, President Bush’s speech last night was really about firmly drawing a bright partisan line in the proverbial policy sand one final time. Now, we must all wait until November, to learn on which side of that line the next president will stand.
You can hear more of my take on last night’s State of the Union address here.
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