I love stateoftheunionpalooza. It’s like Christmas, only with fewer presents and more than one old, chubby guy. But for the Democrats, this year’s State of the Union address was a little different. For the Democrats, the past seven addresses have been like getting coal in their stockings, but the 2007 address was like getting a basketball hoop AND a Power Wheel: a conciliatory, almost humbled, blue tie-wearing President Bush and a jubilant Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the house. Luckily, Dick Cheney seemed to be entirely himself: comatose. Some things never change.
Yes, the State of the Union address was a good time had by all in our newly diversified Congress. Mostly. Georgie nodded, smiled, winked and waved at the crowd while approaching the podium, but once he began his speech to a room chock full o’ Democrats, I believe he finally realized his position of “completely irrelevant guy” isn’t nearly as much fun as his position as the “United States’ No. 1 party guy.”
It’s been a rough start for Bush: In the Jan. 25 edition of Newsweek, a poll showed that a whopping 64 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Bush is doing his job. And yet, despite his growing unpopularity, the blue-tied W managed to face the nation and hit upon some hot button issues: Iraq, energy, Iraq, health care and, finally, Iraq.
But the real conflict of the night was not the war between the United States and terrorism, or the war between Isaiah Washington and the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” – no, it was a war of a different kind. A great blink-off between Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi took the lead early on with a perhaps record-breaking 31 blinks to Dick Cheney’s whopping.one. In addition to her profuse and violent blinking, Pelosi often leapt up to clap, cheer and perhaps stretch her legs during the long speech. “Four score and seven years ago” it wasn’t, but according to the official White House transcript, the approximately 40-minute speech was interrupted by 63 incidents of applause. Combined with 700,984 incidents of loud blinking, Pelosi was surely exhausted. For her, and for all of us, the address seemed to have lasted for at least a full four score, and quite possibly the additional seven years.
With all eyes on Pelosi, Cheney felt comfortable sitting behind the president and looking shiftily around in the way that only Cheney can, leaping up not at all, occasionally breathing, but looking primarily like a bullfrog who desperately needed a quick hit of Lipitor.
And the crowd went wild. Except for those members of the crowd who were not going wild and who were, in fact, asleep. Subway samaritan Wesley Autrey’s daughters slept through the whole brouhaha, including their father’s presidential recognition. Understandable for two very young, very tired girls, although it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to sleep with all the loud blinking going on. And yet! Lo and behold, another audience member also nodded off during the speech: Sen. John McCain. Not a very young or very tired girl, McCain, 70, was caught snoozing on camera. McCain has thrown his hat into the campaign ring for 2008 and if elected he would be the oldest president ever to take office. Or at least he thinks he would be – he can’t remember. Which hat were we talking about? Hey Dick, pass the Lipitor.
Yep, this year’s address might just be my favorite State of the Union address since last year. Could it have been better? Only if Nancy Pelosi drove away on a Power Wheel.
Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears in the Collegian on Fridays. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.