Open thread: Still three more of these to go, America, if you can believe it

posted at 8:01 pm on January 28, 2014 by Allahpundit

I really can’t believe it. Even Obama, I’ve always assumed, doesn’t want to do the SOTU but feels bound by a basic rule of politics in the age of mass media, that when television offers you a free platform to reach many millions of voters, you’ve got to take it. There’s no way to redeem a laborious 45-minute run-through of your party’s current policy wishlist, so don’t sweat it when it lands with a thud. Just show up, if only to show your party that you’re still trying.

And yet, here’s a line from his former speechwriter about the SOTU-writing process. What are we to make of this?

President Obama always wanted the speech to “sing,” as he put it

O does realize that not only have all five of his previous SOTUs been essentially the same, they’re also essentially the same as every SOTU delivered over the past 30 years, no? Watch the two clips below, or revisit Matt Welch’s guide on how to write an SOTU in 10 minutes using the same platitudinal flotsam that’s been salvaged and recycled by every president since JFK. Trying to make this speech sing is like trying to make a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sound transcendent. If you’re approaching it that way, you’re missing the point.

The long march begins at 9 p.m. ET but there’s usually some red-carpet-type stupidity happening half an hour or so before that on the cable news nets or C-SPAN. One of the “Duck Dynasty” guys will be there; so will pro basketball player/notable gay man Jason Collins; so will that kid who claimed to be one of the first people in America to sign up for ObamaCare before everyone realized that he hadn’t really signed up. In a few years, as the see-and-be-seen value of this spectacle completely overwhelms its news-making value, members of Congress will start inviting A-list celebrities for fun and the White House Correspondents Dinner-ization of the event will be complete. Which, actually, would be fitting: As Kevin Williamson writes, the SOTU long ago devolved into a dreary imitation of monarchy. Might as well have all the aristocrats there to watch.

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live…

The State of the Union is only one example of the deepening, terrifying cult of the state that has taken root here. Many heads of state — and some royals, for that matter — fly on commercial aircraft. Presidents of the Swiss federation and members of the federal council receive . . . an unlimited train pass. They have occasional access to a Cessna maintained by the air force, but are known to use mass transit — just like the people they are elected to represent. An American president stages a Roman triumph every time he heads out for a round of golf. The president’s household costs well more than $1 billion annually to operate. The president’s visage is more ubiquitous than was Vladimir Lenin’s in his prime, his reach Alexandrian, his sense of immortality (they call it “legacy”) pharaonic. Washington has become a deeply weird and alien place, a Renaissance court with armored sedans and hundred-million-dollar paydays.

Excerpts from Obama’s speech have been released as I write this but I’m not going to go looking for them because who cares? You’ve heard all this before. The only somewhat new element, in perfect keeping with Williamson’s point, is that O will assert his royal prerogative to carry out his agenda via executive order if Congress refuses to comply. He’s semi-formally dispensing with the trappings of republican democracy at an event tailor-made for the occasion. Beyond that, the speech is Groundhog Day: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be gray, and it’s gonna feel like it’ll last you for the rest of your life.

If you somehow make it all the way through, stay tuned for three — yes, really — GOP rebuttals. Cathy McMorris-Rogers will deliver the official one, doubtless featuring a specific appeal to women. Mike Lee will deliver a tea-party response blaming government for inequality and proposing new opportunities for the middle class. And Rand Paul, as is now tradition, will deliver a response of his own emphasizing Americans’ perennial top priority, jobs. Enjoy.



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Comment pages: 1 9 10 11

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Anything on how many people watched this Strenuous Ordeal of Tendentious Underwhelmingness, aka, SOTU?

smellthecoffee on January 29, 2014 at 12:01 AM

smellthecoffee: Still looking———————————:0

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:30 AM

Bishop 1000

viking01 on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/29/22488605-ny-congressman-to-reporter-ill-break-you-in-half?lite

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:27 AM

Love it; well beyond time to ratchet things up with these f*ckers.

Midas on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

Missed it by that } { much

viking01 on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

For you, I will eat the tax code, any loopholes, and any and all agents I run into on my errand.

HornetSting on January 29, 2014 at 12:27 AM

You see? One dedicated woman can cure all of our woes. I knew it. Can you eat Obama, too?

John the Libertarian on January 29, 2014 at 12:29 AM

I don’t eat shit…that’s a bridge too far.

HornetSting on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

I don’t eat shit…that’s a bridge too far.

HornetSting on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

Eating and bridges — no more Christie!

ShainS on January 29, 2014 at 12:33 AM

I don’t eat shit…that’s a bridge too far.

HornetSting on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

Eating and bridges — no more Christie!

ShainS on January 29, 2014 at 12:33 AM

I like what you did there.

HornetSting on January 29, 2014 at 12:35 AM

RedNationRising ‏@RedNationRising 43m

Check out @SenMikeLee’s response to Lame Duck’s #SOTU by @TeaPartyExpress –> http://youtu.be/SCbxIRjOGe4 #RedNationRising #TeaParty
===========================================================

VIDEO:(12:09)
=============

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCbxIRjOGe4

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:45 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:27 AM

Love it; well beyond time to ratchet things up with these f*ckers.

Midas on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

Midas: D*mns Straight:)

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:46 AM

Hornet, you are a treasure.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

Hornet, you are a treasure.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

Thank you, I am a treasure.

But you don’t know me well enough to call me Hornet, pal.

Lanceman on January 29, 2014 at 12:53 AM

But I know you well enough to call you pal :)

You are a treasure too, Lm.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:55 AM

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:55 AM

:D

Lanceman on January 29, 2014 at 12:58 AM

Ok ALL the fun IS over here!!

Scrumpy on January 29, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Good evening..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:12 AM

I left HERE when the trolls were “gagging”.

Are they gone now?

PolAgnostic on January 29, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:12 AM

Good evening Dire! :)

Scrumpy on January 29, 2014 at 1:16 AM

Good evening..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:12 AM

Dire Straits: Evening Dire:)

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SOTU&src=hash

SOCIALIST BATSH*T RESPONDS:

YOU HAVE BETRAYED 10′S OF MILLIONS OF YOUR OWN VOTERS!!!!!!!

Councilmember Kshama Sawant Responds to Obama’s State of the Union Address

Streamed live on Jan 28, 2014
******************************

Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant will be broadcasting a live response to Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. We expect to begin between 7:30 and 8 p.m.
================

VIDEO:(8:27)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh7LBtrBq1g

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 12:51 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:16 AM

Dire Straits: Your going to love this:

https://twitter.com/NerdyWonka/status/428387265681702914/photo/1/large

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:18 AM

Scrumpy on January 29, 2014 at 1:16 AM

Good evening..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:20 AM

FRom Team LeftTards:

Stupid Right-Wing Media Tweets: #SOTU Edition
By karoli January 28, 2014 8:19 pm
**********************************

http://crooksandliars.com/2014/01/stupid-right-wing-media-tweets-sotu?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:25 AM

Keith Boykin
@keithboykin

CNBC contributor. MSNBC commentator. BET columnist. NY Times bestselling author. Public Speaker. Clinton White House aide. Harvard Law graduate.

New York & Miami · keithboykin.com

Keith Boykin @keithboykin
Follow

How do you not clap for the idea of allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get health care?
9:55 PM – 28 Jan 2014
=====================

https://twitter.com/keithboykin/status/428360824751546369/photo/1/large

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:30 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:18 AM

lolz..Very Cool pic..:)

PS..You need to check out the totty site..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Tired.

God Bless and Good Night Peeps :)

Scrumpy on January 29, 2014 at 1:36 AM

Tired.

God Bless and Good Night Peeps :)

Scrumpy on January 29, 2014 at 1:36 AM

Scrumpy:Sweet Dreams, Scrumpy:)

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:47 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:18 AM

lolz..Very Cool pic..:)

PS..You need to check out the totty site..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Dire Straits: Smoke’n Hot as per usual, haha:)

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:52 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:52 AM

How are the Grandkids doing?..I hope well..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:03 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 1:52 AM

How are the Grandkids doing?..I hope well..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:03 AM

Dire Straits:

A-1,..there coming on Thursday, then to the hill,
toboganning!:)

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:08 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:08 AM

+ 100..Very cool to take them toboganning..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:14 AM

Crap,..everybody bugged out,

well then, night everyone!

Night Dire:)

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:15 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:15 AM Later Friend..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:22 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:15 AM

Later friend..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:23 AM

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 2:15 AM Later Friend..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:22 AM

Sorry..My bad..:)

Dire Straits on January 29, 2014 at 2:24 AM

How can any of you watch this? I can’t think of anything more unpleasant than listening to an extended, repulsive, dishonest Obama campaign speech.

bluegill on January 29, 2014 at 3:12 AM

I thoroughly hate, despise, and am repulsed by Obama. The man is a total phony.

bluegill on January 29, 2014 at 3:14 AM

US State of the Union address 2014
3m
1.7 million tweets sent about the State of the Union address through the conclusion of the Republican response – @gov
see original on twitter.com
===========================

Responses to the 2014 State of the Union
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 | By Bridget Coyne (@bcoyne), Government Team [05:16 UTC]
Tweet

The first State of the Union took place in New York City. It then moved to the provisional capital in Philadelphia, and for over a century it was delivered in writing. Since Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, the State of the Union has taken place annually at the US Capitol. Tonight, it also unfolded in real-time on Twitter and Vine.

From the start of the State of the Union through the conclusion of the official Republican response, there were 1.7 million Tweets. During the course of the State of the Union address (9:10pm-10:20pm EST), members of Congress sent 750 Tweets.

These were the moments that spurred the most conversation, measured in Tweets per minute:

Mad Men joke about equal pay – 33,555 TPM
Call to increase minimum wage – 29,859 TPM
Discussion of the Affordable Care Act – 25,990 TPM
Discussion of climate change – 22,768 TPM
“Son of a barkeeper” reference to @SpeakerBoehner – 20,425 TPM

https://blog.twitter.com/2014/responses-to-the-2014-state-of-the-union

https://twitter.com/twitter

canopfor on January 29, 2014 at 4:13 AM

I thoroughly hate, despise, and am repulsed by Obama. The man is a total phony.

bluegill on January 29, 2014 at 3:14 AM

Me too, Gilled One. But after these few years of reading your comments, I’m quite repulsed by you as well. Your venom for Sarah Palin runs quite deep. Your hatred is stunning and putrid. It’s time to look in your own mirror and assess your own foibles.

IMO

Opinionator on January 29, 2014 at 5:49 AM

Me too, Gilled One. But after these few years of reading your comments, I’m quite repulsed by you as well. Your venom for Sarah Palin runs quite deep. Your hatred is stunning and putrid. It’s time to look in your own mirror and assess your own foibles.

IMO

Opinionator on January 29, 2014 at 5:49 AM

Heh.

Hi OP!

ShainS on January 29, 2014 at 9:06 AM

IMO

Opinionator on January 29, 2014 at 5:49 AM

Wow, because obama and bluegill have the same heft in influence…

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Wow, because obama and bluegill have the same heft in influence…

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

You know I have not always been happy with bluegill’s behavior, but her basic values are apparent. She is not an idiot nor a bad person. She does need some maturing, but don’t most of us? :)

I can see that she’s trying to improve herself, unlike leftards like verbaloser & libfreeliveenslavedordie, who apparently have hit their learning ceilings, and she deserves to be commended for this.

Anti-Control on January 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM

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