The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, January 31, 2005

PRE-BUTTAL

Ah, a good idea:
The two top Democrats in the U.S. Congress challenged President Bush on Monday to draft an "exit strategy" in Iraq and work with them in his drive to revamp the Social Security retirement program.

With Bush set to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, the Democratic pair made a political preemptive strike or, as they put it, a "pre-buttal," in a joint appearance of their own at the National Press Club.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, hailed as "a milestone" Sunday's Iraqi elections, when millions defied threats and went to the polls.

"But on Wednesday night," Reid said, "the president needs to spell out a real and understandable plan for the unfinished work ahead: defeat the growing insurgency, rebuild Iraq, increase political participation by all parties ... and increase international involvement."

Without offering a timetable, Reid added, "Most of all, we need an exit strategy so that we know what victory is and how we can get there."

House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, focused her remarks on domestic matters, and took aim at the administration's drive to revamp Social Security by allowing workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds.

Many oppose such private accounts, fearing that they could undermine, rather than strengthen, the program.

"We can solve this long-term challenge without dismantling Social Security and without allowing this administration's false declaration of a crisis to justify a privatization plan that is unnecessary, unaffordable and unwise," Pelosi said.

"To be sustainable, any long-term solution must be bipartisan," Pelosi said.
Thank you Nancy, you go girl. And thank you Reuters for not listening to the Bush administration's attempts at Newspeak and saying "private accounts".

The good idea? The pre-buttal. These last to Dubya SotU speeches have been followed by Democratic rebuttals that seem better suited for local-access TV coverage of city council.

2003: Gary Locke, then-Governor of Washington, talked straight into the camera in an empty room. He's a good guy, but it came off very... local. Especially since Dubya had just spent an hour speaking in the gravest voice he could muster, in describing the threat of Saddam Hussein (uranium and aluminum tubes aside, of course).

2004: Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi on couches. Just this side of the Golf Channel, man.

So to have the rebuttal beforehand, on a different day from Bush speech (drawing away the aesthetic comparisons) and at the Nat'l Press Club, all of these are improvements. Thanks, Harry!

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