The State of the Union, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
In about an hour, President Bush will make his final State of the Union address. The economy, Iraq and taxes are expected to dominate. No question this is a tough time for America. Even though Iraq has improved, the war has cost us big in blood and treasure.
I'll submit that most folks still have no idea why the Bush administration invaded Iraq. As "60 Minutes" reported last night, the weapons of mass destruction deal was real. Saddam admitted he falsified WMD data and would have reactivated those programs in a heartbeat. Of course, the "Bush lied" crowd won't believe "60 Minutes" or anything else, but the truth really doesn't matter to them.
And that's another problem in the USA. The rise of the Internet means propaganda and deceit has a permanent mass market home. It's really difficult to get the straight story these days, as media standards have collapsed and the ideologues are running wild.
On the economic front, Americans without education and discipline are getting hammered, and things will get worse for the underclass. Our society is now extremely competitive, and plenty of children will be left behind if their parents are morons or act irresponsibly. And there's nothing any politician can do to stop that.
The high-tech age requires a high degree of skill in something. Gone are the assembly line days when Americans could make a decent leaving just by showing up. Now machines do the mundane work. A person has to be skillful in order to make money.
Unfortunately, many of our leaders are not being honest about the new world. Machines are changing everything from labor to emotions to behavior. This is not your grandfather's country anymore.
And so "Talking Points" will offer some predictions for our union. Iraq will get better. Iran will bargain with us. And Al Qaeda will weaken if, if, we keep the pressure on.
The economy will continue to wobble for a while, but no full-blown disaster will take place. Those who bought homes they could not afford will get hurt. And the people who lent them the money will also get hurt.
China will remain fairly passive until after the Olympics this summer, then will emerge as a problem.
If a Republican's elected president, illegal immigration will be dealt with in an aggressive manner. If a Democrat is elected, there will be an amnesty. Taxes will go up. Government spending will go up. And some kind of government health insurance plan will become law.
Well, there you have it. If I'm still around next year at this time, I'll replay those "Talking Points" and we'll see how perspicacious I am.
And that's "The Memo."