Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Liveblogging the State of the Union!
(Because that's the kind of thoughtful and original content my regular readers have come to expect.)

8:56: Blogger's down. Not a good sign.

8:57: The joint session's been called to order. Goosebumps.

9:01: Mrs. President is wearing red. That's one wrong, and we haven't even started yet.

9:03: The cabinet enters, and Cheney's looking particularly surly. I'll bet he resents all the press that Elaine Chao gets.

9:05: An overhead shot of the crowd reveals one startlingly purple woman. No word yet on who it is, but I hope it's one of the "Crayola Five."

9:07: Blogger is still down. This could be a serious impediment to the whole "liveblogging" thing.

9:09: Finally, we have a president. Joe Lieberman is hiding in a corner somewhere.

9:12: There's a shiny purple girl in the First Lady's box. Last-minute odds on why she's there: lost a family member in Iraq, 3/2; saved a baby, 4/1; saved a baby in Iraq, 6/1.

9:13: And finally, we have a speech.

9:15: Bush "congratulates" the Democratic majority. Crowd shots show Ted Kennedy and Rahm Emmanuel clapping, Steny Hoyer nodding stoically, and James Clyburn not paying the slightest bit of attention.

9:16: Mitch McConnell claps like a stroke victim.

9:16: "Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on, as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when there's work to be done." I humbly dissent.

9:18: The three priorities. Priority 1: Balance the budget (standing ovation 1), without raising taxes (standing ovation 2); the budget request will "eliminate the deficit within 5 years." "Together we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government." Scoff.

9:20: The three priorities. Priority 2: Expose every earmark to "the light of day." (They're often added "when not even C-SPAN is watching." Hey-oh!)

9:20: The startlingly purple woman from 9:05 is revealed! And alas, she is Diana DeGette; not one of the Crayola Five at all.

9:20: The three priorities. Priority 3: "Fix Medicare and Medicaid, and save Social Security." Why not fix all three? Couldn't tell you.

9:21: Thank God for DVR, by the way. I'm about ten minutes behind real-time already.

9:22: "The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children, and I ask Congress to re-authorize this good law." Not even Howdy Doody can generate any enthusiasm for that one.

9:26: "Medical liability reform" gets a standing ovation from the Elephants.

9:30: "It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply."

9:32: This whole energy policy section is somewhat surreal.

9:33: Climate change is a "serious challenge." That brings the whole bloody room to its feet (notably Steny Hoyer, who appeared to be trying to clap as hard as he could).

9:34: First explicit mention of September 11.

9:35: "We must take the fight to the enemy" gets a standing ovation from a bunch of Democats. That was unexpected.

9:40: "Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies." Alright, fine. Then explain Ann Coulter.

9:45: Nothing funny to say, really, but it's been a while, so I thought I should post something.

9:50: "We went into this largely united... and whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure." No kidding.

9:51: The president would like to establish a "Special Advisory Council on the War on Terror." Because ignoring the current crop of advisory councils has become blase.

9:51: He also proposes the establishment of a "Volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps," which will "assemble civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them." Which is funny, because Saturday Night Live proposed that very same thing about a week and a half ago.

9:54: "We will continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur." An awfully liberal use of the phrase "continue to," that.

9:55: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is standing next to a guy a don't really recognize, and I swear to God it looks like they're participating in Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

9:57: Special Guest #1: Dikembe Motombo. (Motombo's sitting next to Laura Bush, and when they're both sitting down, he's at most six inches taller than she is. Seriously, how is that possible? Is he sitting on the floor?)

9:58: Special Guest #2: The Woman Who Founded the Baby Einstein Company. (Huh?) (Incidentally, the shiny purple girl from 9:12 is her daughter.)

9:59: Special Guest #3: That guy from New York who jumped onto the subway tracks to save the guy having the heart attack. Alright, fair enough. But they seem to have made him sit in his own little section.

10:00: Special Guest #4: Some Silver Star winner.

10:01: This is a long damn speech, but...

10:02: The state of our union is strong!

I thought he'd never get there.

Overall, I was more impressed with Bush's delivery than I have been in years past, but I was left completely cold by the rhetoric. Perhaps that's because I was focusing on the blog, but I don't think so; I think it just wasn't a very well-written speech. Which is a shame.

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