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Matt’s Musings on the State of the Union

I figured I’d let the news folks cover the State of the Union before I chimed in with my random musings on the night.  

Here goes:

Pre-Speech –

How cool was it to see Judge Alito in that robe?!?! Is there a loose analogy to be made between the hostages being freed on Reagan’s inauguration day — and Alito being "freed" from the Senate before Bush’s State of the Union. Probably not. Perhaps someone more daring than I could write an article about that…

I also really enjoyed the pre-speech atmosphere where Members of Congress (from both parties) talk and pretend to like each other. It was refreshing to see all of them getting along, even if it was for the sake of the cameras. So what’s up with Trent Lott and Hillary?  MSNBC made some comment about the two of them being on a date…

There has been a lot of talk that the State of the Union has become perfunctory, and may have outlived its usefulness. I think this public camaraderie is reason enough to keep it. It gives us hope that we can return to a more civil political atmosphere.

By the way, there’s been a lot of talk about the good ‘ol days when Tip O’Neil and Ronald Reagan used to fight during the day, and then have a beer after work. Well, I’m no Ronald Reagan, but I am offering to drink a beer with you, if you’re a Democrat blogger who is willing to come to Georgetown or Old Town, Alexandria…

Cindy Sheehan –

Of course, the big story was Cindy Sheehan’s arrest.  Cleary, her intent was to disrupt the speech — which brings to mind a question: Is nothing sacred? The State of the Union is one of the rare times when our leaders come together (for the most part), and behave like adults. It’s one of the few ceremonial moments each year when political shenanigans are "off limits." Obviously, some Democrat Members of Congress (such as Rep. Lynn Woolsey) were involved in a plot to protest President Bush during the speech. It seems that last year the liberal group Code Pink was also involved in a similar scheme. Is this the beginning of a new and alarming trend?

Speech –

Nice touch starting off by honoring Coretta Scott King.  

It was mostly downhill from there. Not that Bush was bad, just that it was a standard State of the Union speech. I would say it was average.

I was happy to see him call for the line-item veto. Also happy to hear him talk tough on Iran.

Funny line about Bush and Clinton both turning 60 this year.  …Funny and bi-partisan — a double whammy!

Kaine –

I’m one of the few people who think it was smart to have the newly-elected Governor of Virginia give the Democrat response. It was good to hear from a Democrat with a bit of a southern accent. However, Kaine’s performance showed that there is a difference between wowing Virginia voters, and speaking to a national audience. It was a good idea, but Kaine’s performance demonstrated he’s not quite ready for prime time.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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