Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union Address 2011: Poised for Progress


6:05 The state of the Union is... running five minutes behind schedule.

And the question on all of our minds after Tuscon is... how many members of Congress are packing heat tonight?

Gloria Borger just explained that this isn’t like an Orthodox temple, with the men sitting on one side and the women on the other. Thanks for clarifying that, Gloria.

6:11 Is Boehner going to be doing that weird thing with his mouth all evening?

“And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber”. The Human Torch was supposed to come?

BECAUSE NO OTHER NATION HAS DEBATES, OR BELIEFS. “The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.” This is that “exceptionalism” thing Palin’s always going on about, isn’t it?

6:14 “What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.” Fox News now shows that Al Franken is sitting next to Saxby Chambliss. I’m sitting next to my cat, which seems like a better deal. But can Christabel and I work together tomorrow? We shall see.

6:16 “We are poised for progress.” Any... time... now....

OBAMA GIVES A SHOUT-OUT TO DILDO.COM: “Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.”

THAT HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IS ONE OF THE FOUR MAJOR FOOD GROUPS? “[W]e are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea.”

I THINK HE HAS TIME AND SPACE MIXED UP AGAIN: “The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still.”

OUT! “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”

AL GORE, JOHNNY INTERNET SEED: “throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet.”

6:25 Biden keeps nodding. Boehner looks his eyes are entirely unfocused.

JUST LIKE MADONNA: “That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves.”

BECAUSE NOTHING SAYS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY LIKE A MILLION NEW CARS: “we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

Also nuke plants and “clean coal.”

ON YOUR MARKS: “we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

“Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.” This is where it’s helpful to have Democrats sitting next to Republicans, who are now asking their seat-mates, “But isn’t that the nanny’s job?” (Poor John Kerry, by the way, forced by this faux-bipartisanship gesture into being the filling in a McCain-Lieberman sandwich.)

“We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” 6:29 everyone stands up to celebrate the winner of the science fair.

WE WON’T GIVE IT TO YOU, JUST SHOW IT TO YOU: “To all fifty states, we said, ‘If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.’” Also, everyone should respect teachers, and young people should become teachers.

He wants to get rid of the loopholes in corporate taxes. Good luck with that. That’s basically like the mission to Mars / hydrogen car thing that will never happen that shows up like a beautiful unicorn in every SOTU message. Fox cut to Bernie Sanders when Obama said that, because getting rid of corporate loopholes is obviously socialism of the worst kind.

RUMORS: “Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about our new health care law.”

He wants to freeze domestic spending for the next five years.

LAME METAPHOR ALERT: “Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.” So in this scenario you’ve already taken off, then discovered that the plane is overloaded, then somehow removed the engine while the plane was flying?

He wants to “find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.” Way to be specific, Obama. But not to subject it to the “whims of the stock market.” Boehner applauded exactly once, limply.

WHAT WE CAN’T DO: “We can’t win the future with a government of the past.”

WHY IT’S CONFUSING TO BE A SALMON: “Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.” Again, this is where bipartisan seating helps: Lieberman can explain smoked salmon to McCain.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO FAMILY DINNER: “And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.”

7:02 I’d forgotten how boring these speeches are.

WE’RE REALLY BAD AT GEOGRAPHY: “And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia”.

THE MILITARY: NOW TOTALLY GAY FOR THE US OF A: “Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.”

“And with that change [gays in the military], I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.” If we’re leaving divisive battles behind, why do we need military recruiters and ROTCies?

“We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. ... That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.” Will he cry? Will he cry? No, he doesn’t cry, but he sure is blinking a lot.

WITH A DeLOREAN AND A FLUX CAPACITOR? “From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.”

He used the phrase “win the future” six times by my count. It started out meaningless, and did not gain meaning with each repetition.

(Update: Oh yeah, the state of the union is evidently “strong.” Gosh, an anodyne, essentially content-less word choice; how totally out of keeping with the rest of the speech.)

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