War and debtObservers suggest that President Bush's State of the Union Address was the launch of his re-election campaign. Where have they been? Our president has been the candidate-in-chief for the past year.

The most tangible accomplishment of the Bush administration is to raise more than $175 million for the president's re-election campaign. This money has been raised through a series of shakedowns from coast to coast. The payoff to those campaign contributors has been a series of revisions and rollbacks of regulatory and environmental policies that makes America less healthy for common people.

The Oregonian was on target Wednesday, noting that, "Tuesday's speech may have been a good sendoff for the Bush re-election campaign. It's harder to say where it will lead the nation."

It is not hard to see where Mr. Bush is leading us. The answer is probably two words: War and debt.

The most troubling aspect of the American economy is jobs attrition. It is the bleakest situation since Herbert Hoover's presidency. Ack-nowledging that reality, President Bush offered retraining programs, which is a good thing. But the much larger and essential need is new jobs. There is no simple answer to that need. But the track record of the past year gives Americans little hope that this president and his advisers have the ability to fashion a strategy.

The good news of this week is that Democrats are moving toward finding a challenger to Mr. Bush.


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