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carving reality at the joints

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State of the Union

I didn’t realize that Matt Drudge had somehow purloined a copy of the State of the Union address and broken the embargo to publish it 40 minutes before President Bush was due to give it. I don’t read Drudge much any more, anyway. I’m down to loading his site once every day or two, lately.

Once again flouting decades of tradition, Internet maverick Matt Drudge broke the gentleman’s agreement last night between the White House and the Washington press corps by posting the full text of the president’s State of the Union address 40 minutes before it was delivered.

Drudge is in the wrong here. There’s no compelling reason to break this speech 40 minutes early—it’s just a manifestation of the mindless, infantile narcissism of a shameless self-promoter. But I guess he’s bragging about it, like he really accomplished something by passing on pilfered material that he had no right to.

Drudge didn’t respond to requests for comment from ABC News this morning but recently has been heard to boast on his Sunday night radio show, “That’s what we do here at the Drudge Report. We break embargoes.”

His suffocating smugness is overbearing. Good for you Matt Drudge. You’ve really done everyone a huge service. Is it really something to crow about that some jerk emailed you the speech and you slapped it on the web? You’re a real gumshoe.

It strikes me that Drudge’s casual violation is—admittedly, not to the same degree—as detrimental to the civic order as when the news media’s notoriously unreliable election-day early exit polls dishearten voters and affect the outcome of the election. The State of the Union address is a national event. Drudge ruined it for personal acclaim. I just don’t see what public interest exists in spoiling it forty minutes early. Of course, there isn’t one-why am I looking for it in his actions, when Drudge, himself, didn’t weigh it for a moment? The White House offers the press corps advance copies of the speech as a courtesy; I expect that will soon stop—especially if the speech about to be given is in any way exciting. So Drudge may have spoiled it for all of you in the oldline media. I’m not shedding any tears for you, though.

Perhaps I’m making too much of this Drudge thing. It rankled. Onward.

Not that I was watching the State of the Union. Like many Americans, I don’t want to hear what George W Bush has to say any more. He’s talking, but not many are listening. On the other hand, China Confidential was listening, and his take on it buoyed my dragging spirits somewhat. He says:

The good news about President Bush’s State of the Union speech is that he put nuclearizing Islamist Iran and its murderous Shiite Lebansese proxy Hezbollah on the same level as Al Qaeda.

The bad news is that he repeated nonsense about crusading for democracy in Iraq, where, contrary to the President’s assertion, “the people” have proven that they don’t want to live in peace and actually prefer psycho-sectarian bloodshed.

That said, the good news outweighs the bad, in our view. The President signaled that Tehran’s days are numbered: the turbaned tyranny is slated for elimination.

Eager to see whether Confidential Reporter was reading the tea-leaves too optimistically, I read the speech for myself.

In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah — a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon’s legitimately elected government.

In Iraq, […] Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. [ed: hmm, sounds good to me]

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.

6 mentions of Iran in 2006, 2 related to its nuclear ambitions. Only 5 mentions, only one of which related to nuclear ambitions this year. I’m not perceiving a burning urgency to deal with Iran. I am amazed that he mentioned the worse-than-useless “Quartet”, harped on the goal of a “Palestinian state”, and kept calling countries like China and Russia “partners”. I guess I didn’t miss much of importance by missing the speech.

What did you think of it?

Posted by evariste on Jan 25, 2007 6:00 am

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