Julian Sanchez mentioned the State of the Union drinking game, and a commenter wrote:
I love the way that all Presidents deliver their lines:
"We will not give in. We will stay the course. (escalate voice to booming while fist shakes slightly) And we will build a better America!"
Followed by thunderous applause.
And they do it every 2 minutes in those speeches.
The best part is, you can take the words I wrote and insert anything else, but as long as it roughly matches that rhythm you get the same effect. The Daily Show did something about that last year. Steven Colbert, their reporter, said stuff like:
"The speech was long. It was unremarkable. And it was utterly devoid of content!" (last sentence in a rising voice with slight fist shaking) Then they show footage of Congress doing another standing ovation.
He ended the skit by saying "Ok, Jon, my report is done. I'm hungry, maybe I should get a taco. It will be spicy. It will be juicy. And it will be delicious!" (followed by footage of Congress doing a standing ovation)
Mostly i was underwhelmed. There's nitpicky stupid shit like "Americans are proving once again to be the hardest working people in the world," but i'm not gonna go through this thing line by line (in part because i don't have the knowledge to really comment intelligently on stuff, though feel free to engage me on anything i don't cover).
I like pointing out that the war against terror is not over. (Obviously it will never really be over, but i like the awareness that there are serious things we need to worry about.) But, Patriot Act? I never did do research into the Patriot Act, but i distrust it, as do conservatives whom i tend to agree with. Ooh, props to pointing to Libya. My father is forever talking about credible threats and gee, threats from the US look far more credible than they used to.
"Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power."
Do we think that was my favorite part of the entire speech? Oh yeah.
But then he goes on to talk about WMDs? *sigh* (Though he does at least give a nod to stuff like the torture chambers. And in a sense, having started the war with the WMD rationale he can't win, because when he talks about other rationales now, he gets flack for coming up with rationales that weren't part of his thinking at the time just because the rationale he stated at the time is looking less and less plausible.)
Long time readers know that i, like so many people actually, supported the war for humanitarian reasons. I thought that would have been a reason Americans could get behind. It was certainly far more compelling to me than WMD Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9/11 and many many other tragedies had happened and will continue to happen, and trying to prevent them somehow seemed rather unreal to me, but you can see someone torturing citizens and you can stop that, and i think you should. Did we have ulterior motives? Perhaps. You can't fix everything, so you have to have some criteria for where you step in, and it's kinda hard to rank tragedy on a scale from 1-10 or anything.
I have seen defenses of the WMD rationale in months past, though recently Andrew Sullivan of all people said, "The absence of any WMDs in any usable form in Iraq is, to my mind, staggering. I'm still passionately pro-war, but you cannot sugar-coat this intelligence debacle." President Bush, when even Andrew Sullivan is criticizing you, there is a problem.
"Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq." *loves*
"We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.
As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny, despair and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends."
Okay, i would rather have ended on a note of "these people should not be miserable" rather than "these conditions will breed threats to us," but i get having to appeal to self-interest.
Steriods merit State of the Union? Huh.
[I checked InstaPundit before posting this, and Glenn quotes Stephen Green (one of the people blogging the SOTU in real-time): "On domestic policy, Bush is the Republican Bill Clinton. No issue is too small to get his attention, if he can throw a few million dollars at it and claim 'progress.' "
Dude, why is VodkaPundit not part of my standard blogroll? Skimming the recent entries, he's intelligent and witty, with a side of vulgar wit. I heart VodkaPundit. Okay, okay, i'm really posting this now.]
Abstinence-only sex education? Yeah, it sounds good on paper, but really, no. Yes, the only safe sex is with yourself, but lots and lots of kids are gonna have sex, and they need to know how to protect themselves.
I fully support gay marriage, so we know how i feel about that section. The whole concept of civil marriage gets problematized for me on occasion, but i continue to come back to “You can opt out of it if you want, but i want to have that option, and right now i only have that option if my life partner is male.”
I haven't really researched the whole government funding for religious charities issue, so i don't have an opinion on that, though really i should. I expect Volokh will be posting about this. Reading the speech i suspect there are problems with separation of church and state, but i know the whole separation of church and state can get into lots of gray areas.
(Sidenote: Who knew DC had a Presidential primary? carpdeus, apparently.)