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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union Live Blog

9:00 - While awaiting the arrival of the President, the cameras are panning and tilting around the entire room. One of my favorite parts of the State of the Union is the amount of famous politicians in one place. I’m like Joan Rivers on the Red Carpet (let’s keep that between you and me, mkay?). I mean, look around. Convening in one room are both houses of Congress in full (minus one member from each party from each chamber)…the entire Supreme Court…the Joint Chiefs…the entire cabinet (minus one). It’s just an awesome amount of American power in one place.

9:08 - Out comes President Bush, with the traditional walk through the isle, handshakes all the way. I wonder if an overwhelmingly popular President ever had the idea of running out like an athlete or professional wrestler and slapping everyone's hand. Theme music could be some sort of hip hop Hail to the Chief. I'm thinking "Respek da Chief." Eisenhower should have done it in year five.

9:10 - Speaker Pelosi just shook the hands of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. She then went straight to the Germ-X underneath her seat.

9:13 - Talking with my buddy Saj, whom I share a sports blog with. He just said that Pelosi is "the hottest old woman in America." You know what, he's right. (I hope Barbara Bush isn't reading.)

9:15 - President Bush led with "bipartisan cooperation" (Count: 2) and seguewayed rather unseamlessly into the economy. I can't help but notice how selective he is with the economic numbers. His argument about a surging economy has more holes in it than Alex Rodriguez's swing in a clutch spot.

9:19 - Probably my favorite part of States of the Unions are watching members of Congress trying to decide whether or not to stand up. This is always a much more difficult decision for members of the opposing party. Example: President Bush says we can balance his outrageous deficit without raising taxes. This is damned near impossible, but how do Dems not stand up when he mentions not raising taxes? Nice politicking by our President.

9:21 - Cue healthcare and standing Democrats. Then President Bush said private health care is the best way to meet their needs. Cue applauding Republicans.

9:23 - Obama and Hillary are getting almost as much face time as the President. Is NBC foreshadowing?

9:26 - Healthcare section complete and now he's into immigration. He is so building to the war on terror at the end. The potential energy collects by the minute. This is exciting. (Ted Kennedy is shrewdly finding a way to get some shuteye before the finale.)

9:28 - President Bush just said that we should assimilate cultures into our own. Assimilate? Was that really the word he wanted to use there? Who is he, Locutus of Borg?

9:29 - Theme established. He's mentioned immigration and environment, and he's tied both into terrorism.

9:31 - Quick mention of climate change and immediate topic change to the Supreme Court.

9:33 - September 11th mentioned. I had 9:27 in my office pool.

9:34 - In one minute, he alluded to 'September 11' and said the words 'Democracy,' 'war on terror,' and 'enemy' several times. He tries to instill pride and fear and all in one paragraph!

9:38 - The President just referenced the 19 men who came to kill us and started this war. Um, they weren't Iraqi or under Iraqi orders. Sooooo, why are we there again? Was the goal to create MORE terrorists and MORE hatred towards America. Well then, Mr. President - Mission Accomplished!

9:40 - Saj: "'Terrorists fear human freedom.' Wow. What does that mean?"

9:41 - Someone wake John McCain up. He forgot to take his afternoon nap today. Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States!

9:46 - "Our American military leaders and I have weighed the options." He means the ones he hasn't fired/forced resignations upon for dissenting views.

9:49 - This just in: President Bush wants us to support our troops. Does he know dozens were killed this weekend?

9:50 - Back to bipartisanship talk. Oh, so NOW he wants to work together in the war on terror? All it took was a Democratic majority, eh?

9:51 - He mentioned a civilian reserve? Like minutemen? Come to think of it, Cheney does kind of look like John Adams...

9:53 - Yes! Darfur! Finally!

9:55 - Saj on President Bush mentioning Darfur then Aids: "I think he just channeled Bono."

9:56 - Dikembe Mutombo is in attendence? This is the best State of the Union ever!! You think he hit on Laura?

9:58 - I can't get over a Dikembe Mutombo sighting at the State of the Union. I have so many questions. Did he need permission from the Rockets? Is he comfortable in such a cramped area? Did he wag his finger at the Democrats? Is he more, less, or about as intelligible as the President? I need answers!

9:59 - Isn't "Subway Hero" patented by Jared from Subway?

10:01 - Serious moment. I've said it before and I've said it again. Hats off to everyone in the military. Seriously. These are amazing people.

10:02 - "The state of the Union is strong." Took him long enough. Even my freshmen know your thesis should be introduced near the beginning.

10:02 - Annnnnnnd scene.

Thanks for reading! Now we await the Democratic response. Good night, and I'll see you next week, when I break down the Democratic field for President.

Pre-Game (live updates to come)

When considering what line from the Constitution to use as the subtitle for this blog (ultimately I went with the opening line from Article II, Section 1), one of the runners up was the opening line from Article II, Section 3: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” That quote, of course, refers to the annual State of the Union address that the President gives Congress and the American people, outlining the executive’s legislative plan for the upcoming year. Inevitably, States of the Union also take the time to boast about accomplishments of the administration to that point. This year will be no exception.

Tonight, President Bush will give his seventh and next-to-last State of the Union. He will undoubtedly use this time in front of Congress to speak to the American people and get the country to see his point of view, however narrow many Americans think that point of view is. Rumor has it that he will stress domestic issues such as health care and America’s “addiction to oil.” If he does concentrate on this issue, he’d be ignoring the 900 pound elephant in the room (no, not Dennis Hastert). Iraq is first and foremost on the minds of American people – every poll confirms this via blowout numbers. If you can't stay up for this portion of the speech, I'll just sum it up for you in one sentence: He's going to stress that we need to succeed in Iraq. Maybe this time that will change the minds of the majority of Americans who want out.

After the speech, the Democrats will give the annual oppositional party rebuttal. This year, newly elected Senator from Virginia Jim Webb has been chosen to carry the rebuttal to the American people. I expect Webb’s response to be impressive. The Democrats have lots of issues to take to the people, and for the first time in six years, they seem to have the backing to deliver this message. Webb is a terrific speaker, his son is in Iraq - which fair or not, gives him political cover - and since his party has this newfound political capital, the Democratic response has the potential to be quite stirring.

I’ll close the pre-game talk with this: Be sure to tune in on time tonight. This will be the first time in the history of the country that the U.S. House Sergeant at Arms, when asking the leader of the joint session of Congress for permission for the chief executive to enter the House Chamber, will begin his request by: “Madame Speaker…”

Live Tonight: State of the Union Live Blog!

Check back this evening, when I will be posting live updates throughout President Bush's State of the Union 2007. I have no idea how this will go. (Note: The cause of this gimmick is because I've been extremely busy the last week and I don't have a regular column ready.)
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