Bush speech praised, criticized by residents | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Bush speech praised, criticized by residents

by Timothy Bowman

Choosing a side about President George W. Bush’s nationally televised address to Congress Tuesday night is like eating asparagus. You either love it or you hate it.

In the wake of the nation’s most controversial election, the Bush administration faces the challenge of dealing with partisan thinking on both sides of the aisle. Tahoe residents’ opinions on Bush’s speech reflect this sentiment.

“He came across as the kind of guy you would like,” said Former El Dorado County Democratic Party Chairman Pat Frega. “I wouldn’t mind having a beer with him but I don’t want him running my country.”

Some Tahoe residents expressed concern about Bush’s tax cut plan. They said they felt it may be too bold given the economy’s recent downward trend.

“I think he is biting off more than he can chew with the budget,” said Tahoe resident Randy Mundt. “I wish he would stop telling us what bad shape the economy is in. We should be paying down the debt instead of giving the wealthy a disproportionate tax break.”

Many said they felt that the speech showed that Bush is underqualified to be president.

“He was reading the whole thing,” Mundt said. “I think he is a lightweight. I can barely stand to watch (Bush speak). His speaking style is so weak. He is not ready for prime time. He seems like a fairly pleasant individual but he needs all the help he can get.”

Bush supporters said they felt the president came across in a likable way and were happy to see him sticking to the same policies he preached in his campaign. U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., was among those pleased to see Bush staying with his agenda.

“Here’s something that should surprise everybody,” Ensign said. “He introduced the budget that was what he presented in his campaign. I think looking at the (tax cut) numbers, they are very conservative, and I think that a tax cut is the best way to ensure that the economy stays strong. If you don’t cut the taxes, Republicans and Democrats, they will spend the money.”

Some South Shore residents were pleased that Bush not only maintained his policy, but also explained it more thoroughly. They also felt that his demeanor in front of the camera has improved.

“He went into a lot of good detail as to what direction he was going to follow (on his tax initiatives),” said Tahoe resident Mark Hanna. “I liked the way he seemed more at ease with the presidency and he seemed more confident about taking control. There was a sense of humor to it. It seemed serious and focused. It left you feeling light and optimistic.”

Others said they felt that Bush’s idea of a proposed tax cut is misdirected if it is going to help the sagging economy. They said they felt he is aiming the tax breaks too much toward the wealthy and not to those Americans who need it.

“If you wanted to jump start the economy, why not give the 80 percent tax cut to the workers who will purchase durable goods?” Frega asked.

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