Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The SOTU Address

I watched the State of the Union Address last night, but really didn't feel like I had enough to say about it to merit a blog post. I've thought about it some during the day today, and decided to make a brief commentary. Obviously, as one can find in multiple comments elsewhere, the President really had very little to say that was anything new or exciting. Give war a chance and all that. I was a little surprised to hear him refer to global warming as a serious threat after so many years of down-playing the issue, however.

The thing that stood out the most to me was just the pomp and circumstance of it all. I know this is always the case, but I think I was just especially paying attention this time. I spent a lot the time focused on Nancy Pelosi's reactions. She was obviously quite happy with the attention that she was rightly given at the beginning of the speech. Throughout the speech, even in places where she stood and clapped, her face was nearly expressionless (in fact, at times I wondered if she was chewing gum or just sucking on her teeth, I'm not sure what she was doing). The only time after the opening sequence that I saw her appear genuinely pleased was when Bush was introducing the "everyday heroes" in the audience. At that point she smiled like when she was introduced.

Anyway, back to the pomp and circumstance, the whole ordeal largely amounted to ceremonial rising and falling with the tide, at least the tide of one's party. It was like watching an Episcopal church service (stand, sit, stand, etc., but at least no one had to kneel). It all seemed so perfunctory.

I did like how Jim Webb, in the Democratic response, referenced Teddy Roosevelt. Pointing out that Republicans of the past had been willing to take on big business and do what was right for the lower classes.

Overall, however, the whole experience was less than exciting.

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