My name is Self-Appointed Expert, and this is my blog. It is part memoir, mostly fiction, and above all just trying to be funny. Some of is based on stuff that happened to me, some is based on stuff that happened to people I know, and a good deal is just entirely made up. So, if you find yourself offended, just remember - it's a joke. When you give me that look, it's a joke. Consider it my homage to the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A Million Little Pieces, John Hodgman, and Christopher Guest.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Live Blogging: The Tivo'd State of the Union Edition.

Granted, I'm a few days late, but thanks to the magic of Tivo I'll now share with you my play-by-play analysis of the SOTU. (Which, it should be noted, is a departure from my usual practice in watching the SOTU; namely, playing the State of the Union Drinking Game. But since it's only 3 in the afternoon, and as you'll see it turns into a pretty serious drinking game, I'm just going to play it virtually with you guys. I think you'll catch onto the rules as we go along.)

3:37 pm: Fast-fwded through the hand-shaking and clapping as Bush entered the room. Still managed to catch a glimpse of ole' Alito and the USSC gang. Looking good, as always, in their black mu-mus.

3:38 pm: Bush begins by talking about Corretta Scott King. I like it - way to deflect the traditional opening, "The State of the Union is _____," which might have been a little problematic this year. I'd been wondering how he was going to handle this. The State of the Union is perilous? Sharply divided? Irreparably corrupted? "Corretta Scott King lived an great life" definitely has more of a ring to it than "Holy shit I pissed off the entire Muslim world, and now they have bombs, and we have no money." Good for you, Bushie! (My question is, if Corretta waited a couple more hours before heading up to that deluxe apartment in the sky, who would he have honored in her place? Gerald Ford's pneumonic lungs? The world may never know.)
  • Side note 1: To show the crowd's reaction to the Scott plug, ABC news decided to focus on not one, but two black audience members. Everyone loves to see a little black on black mourning.
  • Side note 2: 2 minutes into the speech, and we're already talking about heaven. Let's hear it for God mention Number 1!
3:45 pm: I like how no one claps for "It has been my honor to serve with you."

3:46 pm: Ahhh, here we go. "The State of the Union is STRONG! And together we will make it STRONGER!" Love it! Although not as gracefully evasive as the Corretta King introduction (I guess I spoke a little too soon on that), it's a nice not-so-subtle jab at the Democrats that still manages to deflect the issue of what the state of the union really is. After all, if you'll notice, Bush waits to brings up the actual state of the union until immediately
after he admonishes people who disagree along party lines for letting their debates over policy "turn into anger." (Whatever that means.) In other words, the state of the union is strong, but it would be a lot stronger if the freaking Democrats would just quit getting so freaking pissed off about me wiretapping them, me killing 2245 of their sons, me abandoning thousands of refugees in New Orleans during the hurricane and never going back for them in the aftermath, etc... For real, Democrats - debate all you want, but let's not get angry about Bush destroying everything America stands for. We at the Bush administration are above that. (Just like we're above the law.)

4:00 p.m.: First 9/11 reference. Everybody drink!

4:01 p.m.: "Democracies replace resentment with hope." Yeah, the Iraqis don't seem to resent us at all. Wait, does murderous rage and disappointment count as resentment?

4:02 p.m.: I'm totally digging this fast-fwding through the applause. Makes the whole experience more palatable. My strategy: Watch the Speaker of the House. When he stops clapping, press play.

4:03 p.m.: "Allowing the violent to inherit the earth." God again! Everybody drink!

4:03 p.m.: "We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it." Hold on a sec - terrorists are trying to take away our freedom? I thought terrorists HATED freedom! The only one I can see who's taking any freedoms away from me is Bush. (And just for tonight, the Capital police.)

4:06 p.m.: "If we leave these vicious attackers alone, they will not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefields to our shores." I'm pretty sure being able to bean a US soldier in Baghdad isn't discouraging anyone in al Qaida from trying to get us over here.

4:08 p.m.: "We will never surrender to evil." Everybody drink!! (See why this is such a fun game?)

4:10 p.m.: I'm seeing a whole hell of a lot of Bush's tongue while he's giving this speech. Way more than I'm comfortable with. [I've got over an hour left on this thing. I'm going to try to space these out a little more. God, all these Senators are ugly.]

4:19 p.m.: I have a real pet peeve about presidents referring to "politicians in D.C." YOU are a POLITICIAN in D.C.! Give me a fucking break.

4:20 p.m.: "Hindsight alone is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy." He has a point. But, hindsight means you didn't see it coming - and I'm pretty sure everyone who voted against the war or knew about the false intelligence it was based on did see all this coming. What's the world for that? Ahh, yes - foresight. Not wisdom per se, but it sure beats blindly falling ass-backwards into quagmires. Also, I would guess that if you're going to make fun of someone for not having a strategy you, the maker of the fun, should have some sort of strategy of your own that you can boast about. Still waiting...

4:25 p.m.: Bush acknowledges the family of the late Staff Sgt Dan Clay, everybody cheers. Drink for referring to an average American who just happens to be sitting in the audience!!

4:29 p.m.: Reference to Iran's nook-u-lar ambitions! Everybody drink!! (Beginning to be thankful I chose the "virtual drinking game" route here. I think my degree of wastedness here might have rivaled the "Access of Evil" speech. Good times.)

4:34 p.m.: Call to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act - Republicans stand and clap, Democrats stand mute. Everybody drinks! [I think I just saw Makuleh Culkin in the audience.]

4:35 p.m.: Ohhhh, wiretapping. That was a strong little diatribe there,and it's basically spot-on. One noteable omission, however: in exercising the power granted to the presidency by the constitution and by statute, and in having that power approved by federal courts and whatnot, in the past every president has done one little thing differently than President Bush is doing now. They did it legally. It's not hard to get a warrant on these things. We have a secret court all set up and ready to go for it. So, harangue all you want about the benefits of your "terrorist surveillance prgram," but it's never going to convince me that you shouldn't write up the memo and spend the 20 minutes it takes to get a freaking warrant.

4:42 p.m.: Do you guys ever get a kick out of President Bush talking about the evils of isolationism? It's like Ozzie Ozbourne telling kids not to use drugs. Sure, he may not do it now, but it certainly wasn't his choice.

4:45 p.m.: We need to "compete with confidence." Nice one. That whole blaming the bad economy on people's confidences really did the trick for Carter. Second time's the charm? Bush says he's only cutting programs that are performing poorly or don't have to do with a policy priority. I guess he's right. Student loans and healthcare for poor kids is pretty far down on my list, too.

4:49 p.m.: I just saw Harold Ford sitting next to Joe Lieberman. Who let him out of the House boxes?? You know what they say: if you sit next to the person with the job you want, odds are he'll have to get up to use the bathroom eventually.

4:52 p.m.: "Congress did not act on my proposal last year to save Social Security..." and the Democrats interrupt with clapping. Cracks me up. Good job, Demos (esp. after the crack at Clinton right before - one of Bush I's two favorite people, my ass). Most uproarious applause of the night.
Love it.

Alright, I give up. I'm only an hour into the speech, and I want to die. If I can summon up the courage in the next few days, I'll try to watch the rest. Next time, though, I'm drinking for real. If there's one thing I've learned about America today, it's that this SOTU shit is terrible dry.


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