John McCaslin

We have it on good authority that George W. Bush tonight will not acknowledge a national "recession" in his last State of the Union address, which begins at 9 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol.

Were you aware that the real reason the House sergeant at arms loudly announces that Mr. Bush is entering the House chamber is because the president of the United States is otherwise not allowed on the floor of Congress?

Anyway, for those watching the address at home, we promised last week to bring you this year's rules for the popular pastime, "The State of the Union Drinking Game 2008."

Last year, for instance, every time the president said "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," players had to take two gulps of their chosen beverage, and swallow a third if Mr. Bush pronounced the Iranian president's name correctly.

Tonight, for the president's farewell address, players will be required to take one drink for every "Bushism," which is defined as "something that's not really a word." One example given is the "nukular."

In addition, one drink must be consumed every time Mr. Bush says "Hamas," with an extra gulp "if he confuses Hamas and hummus."

Not waiting

Tell us, Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat and member of the Joint Economic Committee, is the nation in "recession" or not?

"I was asked recently by a reporter — a couple of different reporters, actually — who said to me very simply — or asked me, I should say, very simply the question: Are we in recession?

"I answered them without blinking, without even stopping to think, because I know it is the truth, and the answer is yes, we are in a recession. I don't care about, nor do I need to wait, for some academic dissertation or some economist to tell us what is the textbook definition of a recession. We are in a recession."


There was much reader reaction to several Inside the Beltway items of this past week, from as far away as Kristiansand, Norway, where Michael Ricke weighed in about New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's chances of winning the White House.

"Another thought, what Democratic politician in their right mind would ever agree to be Hillary's running mate? You will be less than a vice president living somewhere in Bill Clinton's shadow," Mr. Ricke opines. "If Al Gore thought it was tough living in the wake of Hillary's unelected eight-year power trip, just wait for life as a vice president with Bill in the wings."

Meanwhile, writes Alexandria resident Mark Seavey, formerly of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry (Virginia's old "Stonewall Brigade"):

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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