Update [2006-1-24 16:41:11 by MLDB]: Before he began his speech Sen. Reid played a video put together by the Center for American Progress. You can look at this 'pre-show' video at Think Progress. Give it a look. It shows how Bush is all platitudes and no action.
Raw Story has an advanced copy of a speech Sen. Harry Reid is giving today at the Center for American Progress. It's kind of a pre-SOTU thing.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."
He then proceeds to assail the Republicans: allusions to DeLay and Libby; direct references to Rove and Safavian leading to Abramoff and the K-Street Project. His thesis?
The Republican abuse of power comes at great cost to our country, and we can see it in the present state of our union. Special interests and the well-connected have grown stronger, while our national security... our economy... our health care... and our government have grown weaker.
First -- Security
Americans have heard tough talk from President Bush over the last five years, but the reality is, his policies have made America less safe.
The President's failed record speaks for itself.
Just over four years ago, Osama Bin Laden attacked America and took 3,000 lives. The President said at the time that he wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive."
But four years later, Bin Laden is still on the loose and continues to threaten America. Meanwhile, the number of terrorist attacks across the world has increased, and we now face the risk that Iraq will become what it was not before the war: a haven and launching pad for international terrorism.
Four years ago, the President declared Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an "axis of evil," whose nuclear threats we needed to preemptively strike.
But four years... 23 hundred American lives... and more than 250 billion dollars later, we have found that Iraq had no nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the problem of Iran has been outsourced to Europeans, and North Korea's nuclear weapons program has likely quadrupled.
Four years ago , the President said in his State of the Union: "America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity" which include the "the rule of law."
But four years later, we've heard that the President has ignored the rule of law in order to spy on Americans. We've also found that the White House given the green light to torture, even though it violated our laws and made our troops less safe.
After reviewing the Republican record, I know why Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove want to play politics with national security in 2006 instead of having an honest debate about who can keep Americans safe. It's because this is a debate Republicans cannot win.
Republicans run good campaigns, but when it comes to actually governing and protecting Americans, they have a record of incompetence.
Democrats know that keeping Americans safe means more than talking tough.
It means providing our troops proper planning and equipment, like body armor.
It means securing our ports, nuclear plants and cargo holds.
It means making 2006 a year of significant transition in Iraq.
And- it means doing everything in our power to protect, not trample, the rights set out in this document.
Tuesday night, the President must unite the nation behind our most important goal - keeping our people and way of life safe. We need to hear honesty and humility from the Commander in Chief, not swagger from the Campaigner in Chief.
And the economy:
President Bush is "passing along" problems to other generations. He's bankrupting our country and placing an enormous tax on our children and grandchildren, simply so he can hand out tax breaks to special interests and the wealthy.
Next month, because of George Bush's reckless spending, America will hit a debt ceiling of 8.2 trillion dollars
In 2005, we had the third-highest budget deficit ever - 319 billion dollars.
Two years earlier, we had the second-highest budget deficit - $378 billion.
And in 2004 - the year President Bush was re-elected - we had the highest budget deficit ever - - $412 billion.
In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. But under the rules of this White House, that fiscal record is a home run for special interests.
George Bush has no one to blame but himself for today's fiscal mess. Not 9/11... Not a weak economy... And certainly not the Democrats.
Democrats want to return to the responsible fiscal policies of the 1990s - led by Bill Clinton - that yielded a budget surplus. We believe in restoring "pay as you go" rules. We've fought the president's irresponsible spending, and we've promoted a pro-growth agenda with tax fairness for hard-working Americans.
We have a proven record. The Republicans do not.
Update [2006-1-24 12:52:42 by MLDB]: Make sure to click through and read the rest of the speech here or here. I've hit the national security and economy angles here, but he's got more to say about Bush's doublespeak (i.e. "Clear Skies), energy, Medicare, 'honest leadership', etc.
Update [2006-1-24 15:30:0 by MLDB]: Some comments have asked about media response. The AP article is up. The second paragraph opens with Reid's Abramoff quote
"In his 2000 campaign, George Bush promised to bring 'dignity' to the White House but we've since found that he brought Jack Abramoff instead."