February 2, 2005

SOTU III: Stuff W. Didn't Discuss

There's a tendency for State of the Union speeches to be long litanies of proposals and policies. The President to some extent resisted the "laundry list" temptation. There are, however, some issues he didn't address, perhaps because there aren't clear solutions, perhaps because he knows there's no consensus, or simply because he had to choose his battles:
  • Immigration -- in particular, getting serious about limiting and reversing illegal immigration, and assimilating those immigrants we allow in

  • The trade deficit and the decline of manufacturing. Bush is a free-trader, and not an advocate of enforced asceticism. So perhaps he had nothing to say about these problems. But they are potentially serious, and may blow up long before social security.

  • Foreign affairs issues outside the Middle East:

    • The collapse of Africa and the rise of failed states, which may require a rethinking of the conventional wisdom about sovereignty

    • Relations with and the future of Europe, with its demographic collapse, Muslim population increase, and hostility to our values.

    • What, if anything, to do about Russia?

    • The rise of India and China as world economic and eventually military powers.

    • The Americas: Of course, Presidents never talk about Latin America. Why start now?

  • The unfair and wasteful agricultural subsidy system (third rail for a Red-State party?)

  • Health care -- it's boring, even more so than Social Security, and there aren't any good solutions -- so W. was probably wise to pass over it, except for a not to AIDS prevention among "African Americans" (yes, he used the Jesse Jackson word). Does this mean federally sponsored ads with James Brown or Magic Johnson saying "Keep it in your pants?"

I'm not suggesting he should have touched on all of this, but these are some of the beasts lurking in the national attic. They aren't going away, and may have to be dealt with soon, whether in or out of the speech.

No comments: