Not live-blogging, since I was putting a two-year-old to bed and then doing ward clerk stuff at the church, but thoughts as I read the transcript:
- Introductions to speeches don't have same impact when read silently that they do when heard. If I were reading Nephi with this attitude, I wouldn't be acting the part of a good reader. But, as hopefully much more than half the country would tell me (and I'd agree with them), this isn't scripture we're dealing with here, nor is it close to scripture, nor is it necessary to read/listen by the Spirit in the same way. In fact, being a skeptical listener/reader is probably desirable here.
- Talk of cutting government programs is nice; we'll see how many actually disappear, once Congress goes over the budget. The same goes for talk of reducing spending. Let's see some actual reductions before we get excited. If none happen, it's probably a good sign that there won't be very many for the next four years.
- Increasing Pell grants seems to challenge the spin that has been flying about how updating a 17-year-old formula with more recent information in calculations is obviously those Evil Republicans cutting education funding again, because someone's grant might be reduced, and we can't have that! (If someone is getting more than he should, isn't it fair to reduce his grant and give that money to someone who needs it more?)
- Again, speaking of curtailing "needless regulation" and "irresponsible class-actions" needs to be backed up by action before I'll be very optimistic.
- "Association health plans for small businesses" that actually worked would be nice. I'm sure my parents and in-laws would agree, having dealt with extremely high health insurance costs for their small businesses. How such plans would work, though, has not been explained adequately to me.
- Some would argue that there's no such thing as "safe, clean nuclear energy." If their explanations contradict the principles of physics I learned in my college physics courses and my leisure reading (Hawking, Feynman et al.), I'm not going to listen very hard.
- I've heard claims that the Clear Skies legislation will do the opposite of what its name implies. I have not heard coherent explanations of these claims, but I am interested in hearing such before jumping on any bandwagons. (Edit: Link.)
- A bipartisan panel recommending changes to the tax code won't make it "easy to understand" unless they decrease, not increase, the length of the code. This does not seem likely without drastic overhauls or complete redesigns. (Note: Linkage does not necessarily imply approval or support.)
- I'm not sure what to think on immigration. A policy that "permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists" seems like it might have self-contradictory goals.
- Telling workers 55 and over that the Social Security system will not change in any way for them is a promise that had better not be broken, if the Republican Party wants to continue its recent success.
- I think I agree with the basic principles President Bush outlined for SS reform; again, persuasive reasoning may convince me otherwise.
- Are personal accounts a good idea? Can the government do a better job at administering such a program than they do at administering some other programs? I'm not sure yet, but the guidelines mentioned seem like a good start. Enron seems to get brought up at this point rather often when discussing personal accounts, and what the executives there did was wrong, but this doesn't change the fact that it seems foolish to have your entire retirement account (or any disproportionately large portion thereof) tied to the future of one company. Somehow I think the government wouldn't let you do that with these accounts.
- Government should never undermine the values needed to "bring up responsible, moral children." I agree.
- Talk of how marriage should not be redefined by "activist judges", and nominating those who will "not legislate from the bench". This should make a lot of his supporters happy, if talk translates into action.
- Harsh words for Syria and Iran. Non-harsh words for Saudi Arabia. Interesting.
My overall impression is that a lot of good things were said, and if the hoped-for results actually happen, then I'll be glad. But I'm also pretty sure that we'll be far from a 100% success rate here.
Now I shall go look at others' commentary, and see whether any of my opinions get revised.