I have to be honest: I watched the State of Union on DVR so that I could fast-forward through the clapping, and get straight to the part where Joe Biden starts cracking open Natty Lights under the podium. While it was on, I drank most of a bottle of red wine and watched reruns of The Big Bang Theory. To be honest, I almost forgot the event was even on, since I haven't watched basic cable in years, but alas, I work for a political publication, so I am forced to endure, at least, a partial viewing of our nation's most time-honored, non-essential tradition: a one-hour Presidential tribute to himself.
The Spectacle Blog
Not only did I like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's response to President Obama's SOTU, but I think it was best in years.
Haley came off as confident, engaging, intelligent, warm and personable. Frankly, that's better than most of the people the GOP has running for the White House.
While she demonstrated contempt for President Obama's policies she did so by killing him with kindness as when she said that his achievements had fallen short of his lofty words or when she noted that international agreements ought to be celebrated in Israel, not Iran.
Haley spoke about the shooting at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston last summer noting that the man who entered the church was welcomed with open arms, offered a chair and invited to prayer before he betrayed their good will. Despite the anger from that tragedy, she noted that people turned not to violence and vitriol, but to God.
I like her temperament. It was music to my ears when Haley said, "We must resist the siren call of our angriest voices." Amen to that.
I watched President Obama's final SOTU address.
When touting his economic successes, President Obama suggested that anyone who suggested that America's economy was in decline was "peddling fiction."
Frankly, Obama's final address to Congress could be summed up as just that -- peddling fiction. His whole presidency could be described in that manner whether one wants to cite "if you like your health care, you can keep it", "ISIS is the Jayvee squad" or "red lines in Syria."
He was peddling fiction when he spoke of 18 million signed up for Obamacare. Most of those are Medicaid sign ups and a lot of others are those who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare in the first place. How many people who are signed up to Obamacare are paying higher premiums and getting less care?
Obama was peddling fiction when he said he wanted to cut red tape. This from an administration which adds thousands of pages to the Federal Register every year especially where it concerns energy and the environment?
Iran has seized two U.S. navy boats which they allege wandered into Iranian waters en route from Kuwait to Bahrain. There are 10 Navy sailors in Iranian custody.
U.S. officials say they have been given assurances that the sailors will be released tomorrow. Forgive me if the words of the Obama Administration do not inspire confidence. Even if they are released, Iran is continuing to play games with the U.S. as they did went they tested ballistic missiles and launched a rocket within a mile of the U.S.S. Harry Truman. To take a page from Bill Clinton's book, the Iranians are doing this because they can.
White House spokesman Jen Psaki says this matter will not be addressed in tonight's State of the Union. While Obama may not address this matter, he will certainly praise the Iran nuclear deal. I wouldn't expect anything less of Obama.
Former Negro League & MLB player Monte Irvin passed away yesterday at the age of 96.
Irvin's baseball career would begin in 1938 with the Newark Eagles at the age of 19 and would play with them through 1948 except for a three year stint in the Army where he served in Europe with the GS Engineers, 1313th Battalion.
When he returned to the States, Brooklyn Dodgers President & General Manager Branch Rickey approached him about the possibility of being the first African-American to play in MLB. However, Irvin felt he was rusty after being away from baseball for three years and declined. Of course, Rickey would ultimately sign Jackie Robinson.
Every year without fail someone at NRO complains about the existence of the State of the Union address.
Last year it was Charles Cooke who wrote, "As a matter of basic constitutional propriety, there is something unutterably rotten about the State of the Union.” Cooke concluded by asking, "But why, one has to wonder, does Congress continue to applaud the charade?"
This year the honors belong to Kevin D. Williamson:
Somebody should kill this hideous and depraved dog-and-pony show. If not the next Republican president, then the speaker of the House, who has it within his power to simply decline to proffer an invitation to address Congress.
A horrific tragedy could have taken place at a nightclub in Calgary early Sunday morning.
A vehicle approached the 10 X Nightclub and a man exited the car, walked to the club's entrance, took out a large gun and began firing inside. One man was wounded, but fortunately two of the club's bouncers subdued the gunman. Their actions saved countless lives. Calgary Police arrived shortly thereafter to arrest the gunman and one other man although a third man managed to escape and remains at large.
The State of the Union is never short on political statements. Michelle Obama will, tonight, be taking a page from Clint Eastwood, for example, and featuring an empty chair by her side to represent all of the voiceless victims of gun violence her husband will avenge with his slate of startlingly ineffective Executive Orders. Paul Ryan will be bringing representatives from the Little Sisters of the Poor to confront Barack Obama's lack of charity in preserving the tenets of religious freedom. Ted Cruz will be skipping the speech to make an impassioned speech somewhere in the heartland while holding the Bill of Rights. He may even be posing for a painting.
And the Family Research Council will use it's ticket to the event to bring - who else? - Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis who became a folk hero in the fight for traditional marriage after she refused to allow her employees to sign marriage licenses for same sex couples.
There was a time in my life when I was a campaign communications consultant, responsible for helping political campaigns come up with new and intriguing ways to engage voters using digital media. There is a reason I don't do it anymore, and that reason is, because no matter how many times I or any of my colleages explained that most Republican consultants had the pop culture knowledge of 80 year old men and couldn't find a connection to Millennials if they were accosted by an entire room of Urban Outfitters employees, they still produced things like this.
Though, in fairness, no one I worked with ever produced something this terrible. We had to wait for Jeb Bush to waste $100 million on a campaign before we got something this terrible. Behold, the Jeb! campaign's newest whack at Marco Rubio: a LSD-inspired, trippy hit job on his heeled boots set to Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walking."
The White House is technically required to stump for the 2016 Democratic Presidential candidates this evening, laying out all of their successes in an effort to convince Americans that President Obama's tenure is in no way reflective of how other Democrats would choose to serve. There was that one time in 2009 he passed a healthcare law, but in the last 7 months or so, it's been all non-binding nuclear weapons agreements with backwater dictatorships, Executive Orders the Supreme Court will probably overturn, and that one time he opened up trade to Cuba because Beyonce wanted to go there on vacation. It's gonna be a tough sell.
Unhelpfully, this morning, the "White House," in the form of Joe Biden, also made it clear they have no intention on helping the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. Talking about income inequality and the survival of the middle class, Joe made sure to tell the crowd of reporters that he thought Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, was in a better position to talk honestly about what it's like being merely a hundred-thousand-aire.