Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Snore of the Union
"When did the State of the Union speech get so popular?" I found myself wondering last night. I'm really curious about this because as a life long political junkie, I've probably seen every speech going back to the years when the odious Jimmy Carter was giving them. Here is a little secret:
They always sucked.
It's a stupid speech born of some constitutional obligation that the pres will go before Congress and let us all know how we're doing. For me a "we're still here, market is up, Super Bowl is this weekend, and American men are still the world's number one love making machines" would pretty much suffice.
Instead though, we've got this event that is akin to the "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" papers every elementary school kid used to have to write on the first day back at school. We didn't much like those papers, and I doubt the president or the Congress for that matter, look much more forward to this event.
Yet somewhere along the line people seemed to get the idea that the State of the Union, which at best is manufactured news, was a big deal. Good Lord, we've got wall to wall coverage and analysis, we have bloggers "live blogging" for God knows what reason, and worst of all the Democrats (Republicans when they're out of office) feel the need to extend our pain by issuing some half baked response. Hell, they can't even get somebody decent to give the response so we're treated to some yokel governor who, since he has been given so many constraints by the party, can't come up with anything better than, "there must be a better way".
The whole thing is a nightmare, but as a card carrying political junkie I've got to sit through the disaster, and worse, insist that my family join me. I made sure the guns were locked up just in case Mrs. P and the PD's (cool name for a band eh?) were moved to attempt some sort of coup. They had that look in their eyes.
Any way I was left with one impression from the night. The Democrats are dumb as a sack of hair. Yup, I'm talking stupid beyond all comprehension. For a party that has got it into their minds that they are the intellectuals I can't figure out for the life of me why they can't run rings around this president.
For example Bush complained last night that they didn't do anything on his social security proposal. This was an enormous opportunity. They could have had governor yokel talk about how Bush's policy was wrong for America and propose a high level alternative, they could have sent out talking points to their friends in the media for the "analysis" shows later, hell they could have done anything except the one thing that they actually did do. They applauded their own in action.
Here we sit in this country with a real problem on our hands. The retirement system is in need of serious reform; social security is underfunded, the pension guarantee system is underfunded, pension plans are underfunded, and people haven't saved enough on their own for retirement. Yet there they were, the poor dumb bastards, in all their glory applauding their inaction. Hillary in particular look like some sort of Monkey trained to clap in Skinner Box sort of stimulus/response repetoir. What a marvelous commercial that will be this fall.
So congrats boys and girls, it looks like two more years in the wilderness. For everyone else, can we let this thing drift back into obscurity? Please? Sure I'll go on watching, but without all the hoopla it will be like a quick dental check up. 45 minutes of scraping, a slightly unpleasant interaction with a guy we don't really know that well and then blamo; we're outta there until the next appointment.