Last night, President Bush delivered his State of the Union address. I didn’t watch it on television, so I thought I’d take a peek and read it online after it was over. A quick search on Google for “State of the Union” turned up the speech, and I settled in to read it. I was about halfway through it, chuckling to myself about things like his push to end dependence on foreign oil, increase scientific research programs, and fight the war on terror. At that point I ran across a long discussion of Saddam Hussein, which wasn’t too surprising either– until I noticed that he was talking about how Saddam was defying the United Nations and building weapons of mass destruction and so on… and I felt like I was in some kind of time warp.

Scrolling up the web page, I saw the date: it was three years ago! That’s right– I was reading Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address. I’m not sure why that came up first in the search results, but oh well.

So tonight I found the correct 2006 address, and read it. It’s funny (or perhaps sad) that you could easily interchange the two speeches (minus the Saddam material) and never know the difference. All of his major talking points in 2003 were repeated ad nauseum in 2006. Fully a third of his speech this year centered on the war on terror and how swell it’s all going. I didn’t waste more time reading 2002, 2004, or 2005… but I suspect the similarities remain.

In other words, we hear the same tired diatribe from our president, but no real action is ever really taken. We’re still dependent on foreign oil– perhaps more than ever; we learn about continued oppression of scientific research; we’re still no closer to “winning” the war on terror. What’s changed in three years? Apparently nothing, including the creativity of the presidential speechwriters.

For grins, I counted the number of times Bush used certain words in his speech this year:

  • terror/terrorist : 20
  • free/freedom : 19
  • al Qaeda : 6
  • mass destruction/mass murder : 3
  • September 11 : 2
  • oil : 3
  • “nu-cu-lur” : 3

I, for one, am shocked that he only used “terror” or “terrorist” a mere twenty times in his fifty-minute speech. And surely he could have thrown in a few more “September 11” references. He’s getting rusty.