Well, I watched the State of the Union address last night with fever2tell, and I guess the big thing to say about the experience is that we didn’t throw anything at the screen.
This is something I’ve enjoyed doing these past seven years, by the way. Never a fan of Mr. Bush, I will usually sit in front of the television on the last Monday of January, wad up some paper into little balls, and, as the evening progresses, proceed to chuck them at his televised head whenever he says something dumb. It’s not as if the President didn’t say anything dumb last night – it’s more that it was hard to care.
We’re talking about a President who is so unloved by his own party that he barely gets mentioned by the GOP candidates. He’s gotta be thinking about his legacy – if he lucks out, he’ll be Harry Truman and everyone will love him after the fact. If he doesn’t, maybe he’ll get to be Nixon and do some neat foreign policy things after he gets out, but still be reviled as the sort of thing that happens when Democracy fails. He doesn’t matter, and he knows it. Last night’s speech, as many others have said, was an attempt to define his legacy as something other than “ass-hat.”
I don’t know. He said some things about immigration I didn’t mind, but they’re the same things he’s been saying about immigration for years. He seems to think the surge is working, he likes the troops, he’s finally listening to military folk and funding veteran’s benefits (a plan cooked up by a wax-like Bob Dole, who was in the crowd last night.)
He still thinks “No Child Left Behind” was a good idea despite fever2tell, an actual inner city teacher, trying to convince him otherwise by shouting at the screen. She shared an anecdote about how some of her kids, who barely spoke English, would learn just enough to parrot back the answers on the State test, and still couldn’t really speak the language, which should tell you something about how ineffective “No Child Left Behind” is, but the President paid her no mind. So much for participatory democracy.
Oh, and he also said he’d veto everything, and that he wanted to fight AIDS in Africa. When he said that, the camera cut to an African woman holding a cute baby, which was nice.
Apparently, they also handed out programs at the speech last night, and several people were reading theirs when the camera cut to them. If you’re a director (and I am), you don’t want people to read their programs during the show, because it means they’re bored. I’m not sure if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, seated right behind the President, was actually making a big show of reading hers all night, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The woman all but had her feet up on the rail. I would normally find this sort of behavior rude, but as the speech was by and large pointless, I’ll give her a pass.
Um… he also pretended he was going to do something about carbon emissions and oil, and he trotted out the same chestnut about how awesome it was that the terrorists didn’t blow up the tallest building in Los Angeles because he was spying on us. The tallest building in Los Angeles is the US Bank building, by the way, but I had to Google that one too. A couple of years ago, he mentioned it in his speech to make it sound like they caught the bad guys because of his new phone-tappin’ powers, but it turns out that the terrorists wanted to bomb it in 2002, before he had the permission to listen to our phone calls. Still, nice try.
He also saber-rattled a little towards Iran, and his voice got all quiet like it did when he was saber-rattling towards Iraq in 2003. However, as a wise man once said, “fool me once shame on… shame on.. we won’t get fooled again.”
The President stopped short of saying “the State of our Union is strong” which is what you’re supposed to say. He also waited until the end of the speech to say anything about “the State of our Union,” which should tell you something. Maybe I’m missing something he said here, but I honestly don’t think so. The only thing you can say about the speech is that it was a lot more interesting than the Democratic response, given by the Governor of Kansas, a woman who should be prescribed as a non-addictive sleep aid.
That’s about it.