January 21, 2004
Zagat Guide, 2004: State of the Union address


In which lines that were spoken and events which transpired during President Bush's January 20, 2004 address to Congress stand in for local restaurants:

Lines which, when spoken, lead Bush to stare directly into the camera
13 instances, i.e. 13 discrete messages conveyed to his supporters, i.e. 13 soundbites created for the news recaps
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"We ended the rule of Saddam Hussein and...the people of Iraq are free"..."The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins"..."America will never seek a permissions slip to defend the security of our country"..."We will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq so those nations can light the way for others and help transform a troubled part of the world"..."We understand our special calling...this great republic will lead the cause of freedom"..."This economy is strong, and growing stronger"..."Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase"..."I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy"..."Any attempt to limit the choices of seniors or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare will meet my veto"..."Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the last two years. 400,000 fewer young people are using drugs than in the year 2001"..."Tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players, to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now"..."Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases"..."Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives...Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."

Lines which, when spoken, lead CNN's cameras to focus on Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and his various scowls
3 instances in which this occurred, conveying liberals' disgust with Bush's statements
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"The bill you passed gave prescription drug benefits to seniors"..."Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day"..."Starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money, tax-free, for their medical expenses in a health savings account."

Lines which, when spoken, invoked the presence of Karl Rove
1 instance in which this occurred, spoken offscreen, as Bush entered the building and picked up and hugged Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s (D) braided-haired, cute, and, most significantly, black three-year-old daughter
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"There's the shot of the night."

Usages of the thematic mantra "Unless you act"
7 instances in which this occurred, reinforcing Bush's attempt to exert legislative pressure in this, his address to Congress
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"Congress has some unfinished business on the issue of taxes. The tax reductions you passed are set to expire, unless you act...unless you act...unless you act...the unfair tax on marriage will go back up. Unless you act, millions of families will be charged $300 more in federal taxes for every child. Unless you act, small business will pay higher taxes. Unless you act, the death tax will eventually come back to life. Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase."

Lines which not-so-cleverly deflected the failure to locate Iraqi WMD's while deceptively linking the War in Iraq with the War on Terror
1 lengthy series of sentences
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations and drawing up more ambitious plans. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got. Some in this chamber and our country did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. We're seeking all the facts. Already the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims, terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men and women and children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place."

Lines in which President Bush unintentionally provided fodder for his critics
2 instances in which this occurred, the first line serving as a possible double entendre in terms of referencing Bush's spending policies and the budget deficit; the second line (by way of a poorly-timed pause in his speech) embarrassingly changing the meaning of Bush's statements
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"These numbers confirm that the American people are using their money far better than government would have, and you were right to return it"..."Key provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire next year..." (This pregnant pause triggers clapping from the Democratic side of the chamber, and, subsequently, some laughter as Bush's intended message has suddenly been co-opted. Bush looks confused for a fleeting second.)

Lines spoken by Bush which indicated that the business of America is business, not people
1 instance in which this occurred, showing that Bush doesn't understand that rather than fault Americans for not being willing to earn sub-minimum wages for janitorial work, perhaps we might consider a "living wage" solution, given the fact that 3 million Americans have lost their jobs since Bush took office
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"Tonight I also ask you to reform our immigration laws, so they reflect our values and benefit our economy. I propose a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform will be good for our economy, because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system."

Lines spoken by Bush which lead CNN's producers to cut to a shot of an administration official who, a few years prior, had done just what the President cautioned against
1 instance in which this occurred, where, after Bush spoke this line, CNN unironically cut to a shot of Rod Paige, the administration's Secretary of Education, who ascended to this job after the supposed success of the Houston public school system over which he presided as superintendent, a success which, a few years later, turned out to be a series of mistruths and inaccuracies regarding encouraging students who were underperforming to "be shuffled", i.e., drop out, rather than continue their troubled education
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"Testing is the only way to identify and help students who are falling behind. This nation will not go back to the days of simply shuffling children along from grade to grade without them learning the basics. I refuse to give up on any child, and the No Child Left Behind act is opening up the door of opportunity to all of America's children."

Lines spoken by Bush which lead CNN's producers to cut to a shot of an elected official who equated homosexuality with bestiality
1 instance in which this occurred, where, after Bush spoke this line, CNN cut to a shot of Sen. Rick Santorum (R), noted critic of homosexuality
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives...Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."

Lines spoken before Bush spilled water on Vice-President Cheney
1 instance, at the close of his address, after which Bush turned to shake Dennis Hastert's hand, then Dick Cheney's, in the process causing water to be spilled all over Cheney's folder and paperwork
0 - 0 - 0 - $$$$

"May God continute to bless America."

Posted in a Grave fashion.

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