Tuesday, January 20, 2004

State of the Union

I set aside the hour between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday of every week for a personal appointment with Kiefer Sutherland. The phone is unplugged, all other living beings are ushered out of the house, and the television is turned on. So I take it as a grave insult that President George W. Bush should take the grotesque action of making his State of the Union address right when 24 is scheduled to air. My loathing for him grows.

That being said, there's been some entertainment value in the address so far. As I type, he's just stumbled over his words, and not for the first time. And I notice he's developed a bit of a turkey neck over the last while. But the best part is this:

I'm sure you know how these things go. The president utters a sentence. Then most of the audience (the Republican majority in Congress) stands up and raucously applauds his profundity and statesmanship. Then he says another sentence. Then most of the audience gives him a standing ovation again. A monosyllabic dolt like Bush tends to give the audience quite a cardio workout, what with his short, choppy sentences leading to a lot of up-and-down action. (He also gives the audience at home a cardio workout as their hearts pound with rage at his falsehoods and omissions, like when he trumpets the success of his "No Child Left Behind" plan, but fails to mention that he actually cut the legs out from under this plan by chopping its funding. I also ground my teeth when he threatened a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and referred to "activist judges" who "insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people" as though judicial decisions aren't based on an extensive background in the law, but by sheer whimsy or insane royal fiat). Anyway, the point was that he says a sentence, then they applaud. Repeat. However, sometimes it takes him a couple of sentences to get to the point where they're supposed to clap.

He was building to the point that it was vital that some of his most controversial legislation be renewed when the sunset clauses started to kick in. "Key provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire next year," he said. But before he could continue, a small but vocal Democratic minority contingent in the audience burst into applause at this happy news. For a moment, Bush was totally caught off guard by this unexpected but polite criticism of his administration and made that startled, bewildered monkey face of his.

Up until then, I'd thought that this video would be the most laugh-out-loud hilarious thing I'd see all night. Happily, I was wrong.

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