Greetings, fellow citizens!
I’m going to try something new tonight. I’m going to liveblog President Obama’s first State of the Union address. I figure this will be beneficial to me in a number of ways. For one thing, it will likely get my words-per-minute up. For another, it will force me to play close attention to what can sometimes be a boring event. I also hope it will be beneficial to you, dear readers, in that you will be encouraged to be an active member of the electorate and watch along with me.
Kick-off is sometime around 9:00, which seems oddly late for a speech of such potential importance. Oh well, at least this means the number of people caught falling asleep on camera will be greater!
Join me, won’t you?
8:34 PM: A note about tonight’s proceedings. I will be covering both the State of the Union and the opposition’s rebuttal. Because it’s fair. And fun! I will be awarding and taking away points to any number of individuals based on a number of variables. At the end of the night, we’ll tally things up and see who the real winner was.
Do we think we’ll get another one of these tonight?
9:00 PM: HD does not favor Diane Sawyer. – 5.
9:02 PM: Mrs. O looks lovely, as always. +5.
9:03 PM: George Stephanopolous, you are neither an English professor nor a costume designer. Stop talking about the symbolism of people’s clothing. -10.
9:06 PM: Way to be prompt, Mr. President. +5.
9:07 PM: Judge Sonia! +10.
9:09 PM: Those are hilariously oversized envelopes!
9:11 PM: Oh no. Does Madame Speaker have…man-hands? -3.
9:12 PM: It’s pretty cool that the trifecta on the dais is a Catholic, a woman, and a black man. Minorities all. +10 to each.
9:14 PM: The President reads letters from children. Barack Obama = Santa? +1.
9: 17 PM: Standing O. For those over 21, take a drink!
9:21 PM: At last, my favorite image of all State of the Unions: a wide-angle shot of the entire chamber. Democrats: diverse, vibrantly dressed. Republicans: Sedentary, old white men in black suits.
9:22 PM: I think that was Mitch McConnell stifling a yawn. Come on, sir, it’s only 9:22! -15.
9:25 PM: The standing O’s are getting annoying, Dems. -5.
9:26 PM: John Boehner was clearly locked inside a tanning booth prior to tonight’s address. -10.
9:28 PM: Those three ladies were really excited to hear about fast trains.
9:29 PM: Oh, come on, Republicans. How can you be against cutting down on outsourcing? We all know you already don’t like Indians and Asians (Bobby Jindal is just “tan”), so why not take a chance to get on your feet and applaud against them when it’s socially acceptable? -15.
9:30 PM: Did the President just refer to the Bush Presidency as “The Lost Decade”? Ouch. +2.
9:32 PM: Who’s this dude wandering around?
9:33 PM: I think Vice President Biden and Madame Speaker have to have the toughest job tonight. They have to constantly look enthralled. +5 to each of them.
9:34 PM: I think Justice Ginsberg is asleep. She kind of gets a free pass, though.
9:36 PM: Nancy Pelosi was probably the most spirited little league coach in the entire San Francisco Bay area. +5.
9:36 PM: Ha! The President takes a jab at stupid people. +20.
9:38 PM: Everyone’s legs are already cramping.
9:39 PM: South Korea, Panama, and Columbia are three of our greatest trade partners? What have they given us? Cellists, relief pitchers, and cocaine, respectively.
9:41 PM: Lots of pressure on the Senate tonight. And Dr. Mrs. Jill Biden really likes the shout-out to community colleges! She looks lovely, too. +5, for looking nice and for being the first Second Lady to maintain a career of her own.
9:42 PM: Republicans…not applauding an attempt to make education more affordable and accessible doesn’t help you win over independents. -5.
9:43 PM: Joe Biden’s smile is absurdly large and bright! -1.
9:45 PM: Olympia Snowe looks like Lady Elaine from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. -5.
9:46 PM: If Mrs. Obama told me to put down the mint milanos, I’d damn well listen to her.
9:47 PM: Joe Biden, rockin’ a purple tie. Bucking the Washington fashion establishment. +8.
9:51 PM: Gah, that overhead shot is dizzying. Like a Busby Berkeley musical on acid.
9:53 PM: The Joint Chiefs and the Supremes have the best job: they’re not allowed to stand, applaud, or show favor.
9:54 PM: “Let’s go back to the ’90s, y’all! Tamogatchis and Spice Girls for everyone!” -5.
9:58 PM: Yikes…going after the Supreme Court? You might need them on your side when the olds in Florida press the wrong buttons in the booth in 2012. -1.
9:59 PM: That’s an awesome idea, Barack, but most Americans are going to get bored reading through earmark requests and watch a video of twelve idiots without rhythm dancing down the aisle of a friend’s wedding before they get to their own district. -2.
10:03 PM: Who do you have to be to sit at one of those really big tables?
10:05 PM: Mr. Biden is playing with his cuff links. Bored? -3.
10:07 PM: For a second, I just thought, “What the hell is Al Franken doing there?” Then I remembered. +10 Al Franken.
10:08 PM: Citing JFK and Ronald Reagan in the same sentence. Crafty. +5.
10:09 PM: No to nuclear weapons; yes to nuclear power. Aren’t they equally dangerous?
10:10 PM: Who are those two people who get to sit up on the dais flanking the VP and the Speaker?
10:11 PM: Man, he hasn’t even gotten to the honored guests yet. How much longer is this gonna be?
10:12 PM: “Guinea”? Is that even the proper name for it anymore? Is that the proper name for anything? -1.
10:13 PM: Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Good promise. I’ll believe it when I see it. +9. Oh, and that Chief on the aisle looked absolutely pained as the words were coming out of Barack’s mouth.
10:14 PM: Barbara Boxer looks like Joan Rivers. -3.
10:16 PM: A jab at Glenn Beck and Keith Olberman. +10.
10:17 PM: Oh, so close to catching someone picking their nose!
10:19 PM: Joe Lieberman looks like Palpatine.
10:20 PM: And that’s a wrap! Good work. Some of the same, some new stuff. Major points for not wasting time introducing random guests (AKA political props) in the gallery. +25. But major demerits for not mentioning now, or any time in the past month, the Proposition 8 trial currently underway in California. -30.
10:22 PM: We can soon expect the Republican rebuttal from Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell, shown below.
10:30 PM: Far less impressive trappings for Gov. McDonnell.
10:31 PM: Aw, the poor McDonnell twins have acne.
10:32 PM: I didn’t hear anything in the President’s speech about hurting the middle class. -2.
10:33 PM: Gov. McDonnell thinks the federal government is trying to do too much. Would you prefer they were trying to do too little? -5.
10:34 PM: But the federal government already controls parts of the health care system. Granted, it’s not perfect, but it’s not like this is some brand-new idea. -1.
10:35 PM: Does nuclear energy count as a natural resource? That’s a legit science question, for anyone reading.
10:37 PM: Way to go, Jeanine. +15.
10:38 PM: Citing Scott Brown. Clever. +2.
10:39 PM: Well-done seating chart for the dais here: a man in uniform, an African-American, a woman, and an Asian. Clever, clever. +5.
10:40 PM: Ahhh, you had to go and cite Scripture, didn’t you? -15.
10:42 PM: Well, did I agree with him? Not really. Did he speak well? Yes. Was his speech bitter, angry, or petty? Certainly not. Was it a great introduction to the national stage? You betcha. +5. Keep an eye on this fella.
Well, that’s really a wrap now! Let’s tally up the votes and see who were the night’s winners and losers:
- Republicans: -20
- Mitch McConnell: -15
- Bob McDonnell: -11
- John Boehner: -10
- George Stephanopolous: -10
- Democrats: -5
- Olympia Snowe: -5
- Diane Sawyer: -5
- Barbara Boxer: -3
- Jill Biden: 5
- Michelle Obama: 5
- Al Franken: 10
- Sonia Sotomayor: 10
- Nancy Pelosi: 12
- Joe Biden: 14
- Jeanine McDonnell: 15
- Barack Obama: 48
There you have it. The president came out on top, but the second most inspiring person of the evening didn’t even speak. Perhaps a solid reminder that action speaks louder than even the most carefully crafted of words.