Bush Address Contains 'Same Old Ideology,' Democrats Say
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Excerpts of the Democratic Party's response to the State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat:
Mr. Reid: I was born and raised in the high desert of Nevada in a tiny town called Searchlight. My dad was a hard rock miner. My mom took in wash. I grew up around people of strong values - even if they rarely talked about them. They loved their country, worshiped God, never shunned hard work, and never asked for special favors.
A few weeks ago, I joined some friends of mine for a bite to eat at the Nugget - Searchlight's only restaurant. We were sitting down in a booth, when a young boy, about 10 years old, named Devon, walked up to us. Carrying a skateboard under his arm, he said, "Senator Reid, when I grow up I want to be just like you."
Well, the truth is Devon could probably do a lot better. But the point still holds and it is this: No one ever had to tell young Devon to dream big dreams, no one ever had to teach him that America is a place of possibility. ...
In the coming year, I believe we can make sure America lives up to its legacy as a land of opportunity if the president is willing to join hands and build from the center. ...
It's time that America's government lived by the same values as America's families. It's time we invested in America's future and made sure our people have the skills to compete and thrive in a 21st-century economy. That's what Democrats believe. That's where we stand. That's what we'll fight for.
Too many of the president's economic policies have left Americans and American companies struggling. And after we worked so hard to eliminate the deficit, his policies have added trillions to the debt - in effect, a "birth tax" of $36,000 on every child that is born.
'A different vision'
We Democrats have a different vision: spurring research and development in new technologies to help create the jobs of the future. Rolling up our sleeves and fighting for today's jobs by ending the special tax breaks that encourage big corporations to ship jobs overseas. ...
This 21st-century economy holds great promise for our people. But unless we give all Americans the skills they need to succeed, countries like India and China will take good-paying jobs that should be ours. From early- childhood education to better elementary and high schools to making college more affordable to training workers so they can get better jobs, Democrats believe every American should have a world-class education and the skills they need in a worldwide economy. ...
Good, new jobs. World-class education. Affordable health care. These things matter. Unfortunately, much of what the president offered weren't real answers. You know, today is Groundhog Day. And what we saw and heard tonight was a little like that movie, "Groundhog Day." The same old ideology that we've heard before - over and over again. We can do better.
I want you to know that when we believe the president is on the right track, we won't let partisan interests get in the way of what's good for the country. We will be first in line to work with him. But when he gets off track, we will be there to hold him accountable.
And that's why we so strongly disagree with the president's plan to privatize Social Security. Let me share with you why I believe the president's plan is so dangerous. There's a lot we can do to improve Americans' retirement security, but it's wrong to replace the guaranteed benefit that Americans have earned with a guaranteed benefit cut of 40 percent or more. Make no mistake, that's exactly what President Bush is proposing.
The Bush plan would take our already record-high $4.3 trillion national debt and put us another $2 trillion in the red. …