cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The State of the Union message is delivered tonight. This is high political theater and promises not to fall short on that score. That is true no matter the President delivering the address. These speeches tend to follow a prescribed path: mention how much we need to continue on the path this President has talked about, how much we’ve already accomplished and how we need to “invest” no matter the cost to taxpayers.
A change this year will be the approach to “buddy seating” arrangements following the Arizona shootings and the need for more “civility” in politics. That is part of the theater surrounding this year’s version. It is a bit on the childish side from my perspective. The people we send to Washington certainly ought to know how to act by the time they get there, although, admittedly, there are almost daily examples of just how little they do know about personal conduct and “civility”.
We’ll be watching to see if all the Supreme Court justices show up, but we already know that at least one is delivering a speech in Hawaii. This of course is made more important this year given the President’s pointed barbs aimed in the direction of the Supreme Court in last year’s episode. That brings to mind the “civility” thing, doesn’t it?
The talking heads will be all over the screen and will be hard at it before, during and after the speech. We all just seem to hang on every word, don’t we? We’ll be anxious to see who gets to sit next to the first lady, and we already know that among those people will be the 20-something aide to Rep. Giffords who rendered aid to her after she was shot in Tucson. There will be a vacant seat for her in keeping with the nature of this evening in political circles.
Our own Paul Ryan gets another ten minutes in the spotlight and the talking heads will either praise him or chew him up after that session. (The Governor of Louisiana didn’t fare as well as he hoped a year ago.) Ryan has yet to meet a TV camera that doesn’t like him, and he has proved many times over that he can speak without gaffes. He is potentially a bit too “wonkish” given his penchant for everything to do with the numbers of government, but that is appropriate since he heads the Budget Committee in this Congress.
And tomorrow will come and bring with it the same issues and problems and opportunities we had prior to this speech. This speech is almost purely a theatrical production; seldom is anything included that hasn’t been leaked to the press for the week prior. We should already know what to expect from both the President and the ‘rebuttal’ speech to follow. An unknown is Rep. Bachmann, the Tea Party favorite who decided on her own to also do a post-speech speech. She is telegenic and may seize on this opportunity to further her political goals even though this move is largely seen as “grandstanding”.
So, the theater of Washington unfolds again this evening. It is an annual diversion that seems to have lost its meaning over the years. It is simply and purely political puffery and should be seen as nothing less…again no matter the party in control of the presidency at the time.