Cheaper Health Care! Cleaner Energy! Just Another Bush SOTU

Bill Scher

The White House has been previewing tonight’s State of the Union address, leaking that Bush will offer plans for affordable health care and energy independence.

Are these bold new initiatives? A change in policy course? A response to the public will?

Not exactly. This is literally old news.

In the last four State of the Union addresses, Bush has promised affordable health care for all Americans.

In 2006: “For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need.”

In 2005: “we must make health care more affordable, and give families greater access to good coverage”

In 2004: “To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising health care costs.”

In 2003: “Our … goal is high quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

Yet what has happened since Bush took office?

8.4 million more uninsured, for a total of 46.6 million. And the amount of money the average worker contributes to family coverage is up 84 percent.

And for six straight years, Bush has pledged to us and the Congress he would move us towards energy independence.

In 2006: “Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil…”

In 2005: “To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy.”

In 2004: “Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run — so I urge you to pass legislation to … make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.”

In 2003: “Our … goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment”

In 2002:: “Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act … so America is less dependent on foreign oil.”

In 2001: “We can promote alternative energy sources and conservation, and we must. America must become more energy-independent, and we will.”

And Bush’s record? Our gas consumption has gone up, from eight million barrels a day to nine million. Gas prices are up too, 82 percent.

We’ve put together a handy guide, “State of the Union — By The Numbers,” so tonight, you can keep track of how Bush’s rhetoric compares to reality — on health care, energy, Iraq or any other issue that Bush may raise.

And after tonight’s speech, you can click here to easily write a letter to your local newspaper and quickly rebut any misinformation, making sure your community gets the full story.

Bush would like to salvage his presidency by reclaiming control of the policy agenda. But voters wrested control away from him and gave it to a new Congress. That’s because he lost the public’s trust with a six-year record of misleading rhetoric and failed results. Let’s not allow him to mislead us one more time.

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

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