I don’t know if anyone else pays attention to the president’s weekly radio address, but I do. I don’t care which the party the president is from, to me, the weekly radio address is interesting because it gives a president a forum to talk about what they feel is important , without reporters, pundits, or an audience to deal with. Each week I hope to be able to provide you with a few choice excerpts from the address, and my opinions on what the president had to say. At the end of my remarks, you will also be able to find links to the full transcript, and audio of that week’s address. So, let’s get to it, and see what President Bush had to say today.

 The president started off this week with a show of support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “In recent months, the Justice Department determined that new leadership in several of these positions would better serve the country. I strongly support the Attorney General in this decision. I also appreciate the hard work and service of the U.S. Attorneys who resigned. And I regret that their resignations have turned into a public spectacle. Earlier this week, my Administration presented to Congress a reasonable way forward that balances the constitutional prerogatives of the Presidency with Congress’s interest in learning more facts behind the decision to replace eight of the 93 U.S. Attorneys.”

“Members of Congress now face a choice: whether they will waste time and provoke an unnecessary confrontation, or whether they will join us in working to do the people’s business,” the president said. Bush then went on to blast Republicans who passed an emergency spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also included a provision that would force the president to cut troop levels in Iraq. “To get the votes they needed to pass the bill, the Democrats who control the House also included billions of dollars in domestic and pork barrel spending for local congressional districts. This spending includes things like $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers, and a host of other spending items that have nothing to do with the war. Even with all this extra spending tacked on, the vote in the House was very close. This means that the Democrats do not have enough votes to override my veto,” Bush said.

He also said, “By choosing to make a political statement and passing a bill they know will never become law, the Democrats in Congress have only delayed the delivery of the vital funds and resources our troops need. The clock is running. The Secretary of Defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April 15, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions, and so will their families. April 15 is also about the same time that Congress returns from its Easter vacation. Members of Congress need to put our troops first, not politics. They need to send me a clean bill, without conditions, without restrictions, and without pork.”

I think his argument for supporting and keeping Alberto Gonzales was a pretty weak one. I know that President Bush is a loyal person, but when a cabinet official screws up as badly as Gonzales seems to have done, then it is probably time to let him go. As far as Bush’s argument about the Democrats attaching conditions to the spending bills is concerned, when Republicans were the congressional majority, they were masters at this very act. I think that the president is right on the money, when he states that none of these bills will ever become law, but I feel that he is ignoring the point of the legislation. The point is to both discuss the future of Iraq, and pressure Bush to change his tactics.

Bush is 100% correct on the political pork barrel spending in the war appropriations bill. It should not be there. Take up those kinds of spending matters separately, without bundling them into spending for the war. The Democrats used to complain about Republicans doing the exact same thing in the House that the Democrats did this week. I also believe that the President is still trying to paint the Democrats as uncaring towards the troops because they don’t support the way that this administration is conducting this war. I think that anyone can disagree with the administration, but still support the troops.

If a person really believes that the war is being mismanaged and people are dying because of it, what better way is there to support the troops, then to ask for clearer goals, a more defined mission, and an endgame strategy for the conflict? What I have given you here are my opinions and the highlights. I would strongly encourage anyone who is reading this to take the time, and either read the full transcript, or listen to his remarks each week. You can learn quite a bit, and get to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth too.

3-24 transcript

3-24 audio

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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