Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The POTUS Gives the SOTU

And other acronyms.

It occurred to me after watching the State of the Union address last night that the thing that motivated me to start a blog was an argument I'd had with my husband over the State of the Union address last year. I had been reading E.J. Dionne's Stand Up Fight Back, and while we both agreed the Dems looked hopeless, I thought Dionne had some good ideas on how they got that way and how they could get out of it. Jim disagreed, and wondered why I bothered reading those people at all.

This wasn't the first time I'd become frustrated with the way conversations about important issues had taken on the tones of WWF Wrestling. I had hoped back in 1992 that with the Cold War over and a centrist Democrat like Clinton at the helm, we'd move beyond the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties unless you're listening to LITE-FM. But some of the Republicans got bored without a Cold War and made mischief, and Clinton was going around the Oval Office with his pants down like Governor William J. LePetomaine, and then the Election Follies of 2000 and a blow from foreign terrorists in 2001 really got the ball rolling.

It also occurred to me last night that I would have been better off Liveblogging the SOTU instead of MST3K'ing it with Jim. You know what they say: The palest pixels are more permanent than the loudest words. Okay, nobody says that. I just made it up. But typing my comments rather than shouting them would have created a permanent record of the conversation, opened the floor to conversation with others, and would have captured exchanges like:

"Human-animal hybrids? Where is he living? The Island of Doctor Sardonicus?"

"That wasn't Sardonicus. Sardonicus was the thing with Vincent Price."

"Okay, what's the one... Moreau. I'm thinking of Doctor Moreau."

"Now I missed what he said."

And so was an opportunity to Liveblog missed.

The Democratic response this year didn't leave me smacking my head going, "Oh, they're clueless!" Virginia governor Tim Kaine's speech wore sensible shoes. It stressed competence, responsibility, and ending bitter partisanship in order to get the job done. As amba noted, it looked and sounded like an infomercial, but it contained a laundry list of good talking points for the Democrats in the months ahead.

What it needs now is a Carville to sum it into a simple phrase, and a Clinton...and I don't mean Hillary... with the charisma to sell it.

C-Span has State of the Union transcripts going back to 1945.

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