Liveblogging the President's Speech

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 23, 2007 8:57 PM

Why? Because I'm gonna watch it anyway, and Allah's gonna need video tips.

I've always thought the SOTU calls for a drinking game. What shall my trigger be? Hillary Clinton's sneers? Nah, I'd get alcohol poisoning. Mentions of the "first female Speaker?" Drink for a victory for women!

9:01: Laura looks fab in red. Smart of her to avoid royal blue, navy blue, and orange in order not to telegraph any administration support for either the Colts or the Bears.

9:02: The Justices have just taken their seats. You'd think they could come up with something classier with which to mark their seats than note cards and scotch tape. I mean, seriously, it's the SOTU.

9:03: The Cabinet enters, one member absent for security reasons. I wonder if they play paper-rock-scissors to be that one guy who can sit at home, watch reruns, and eat Cheetos. Or, if you're a Cabinet member, you're probably required to watch, but you could watch it in HD, with Cheetos. Did I mention the Cheetos?

9:07: Truest words you'll hear all night: "Assuming anyone cares," sayeth Brit Hume.

9:09: Hypocrite Hand-Shake Watch. Dennis Kucinich leans in, but gets no kiss.

9:10: I heard earlier that the Dems had been coached by Pelosi into cheering nicely for the Pres. Those who were unwilling were Botoxed into smiley submission. Or, so I hear.

9:11: "I have the honor...as the first President to start the State of the Union with these words: 'Madame Speaker.'" Big cheers for that. "Congratulations, Madame Speaker," and a nod to her father. Classy.

Praying for Tim Johnson and Charlie Norwood. I didn't even know Norwood was sick. Googling. I'll be back. (chemotherapy for cancer that has spread to his liver.)

9:16: The Congress has changed, but our duty hasn't,  "to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us."

"Our citizens don't care which side of the aisle we sit on as long as we're able to cross that aisle to get things done"-- things like comprehensive immigration and really huge federal boondoggles like the prescription drug plan and NCLB.

41st month of job growth, 72 million new jobs. "Keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise."

We have to balance budget-- cue the Dems. But we can do it without raising taxes-- cue the Republicans.

Budget that eliminates federal deficit in five years. Restrain appetite and balance federal budget."

Hillary has definitely been Botoxed into smiley submission.

9:19: Earmarks happen when "not even CSPAN is watching." Good one.

9:21: Entitlements. Weird, all the Democrats and half the Republicans are sticking their fingers in their ears and humming. I wonder what that means.

9:22: Giving those stuck in failing schools the right to move somewhere else. This is the part of NCLB I actually like. Democrats: "More opportunity for minority students at the cost of angry teachers' unions? That cost is too high, Mr. President."

9:24: Tax deductions for those who want to buy their own insurance, level playing field for those who do not get it through their jobs. "This deduction would help put a basic, private health plan within their reach," he said of those without health care. Democrats: "More quality health care at reasonable prices for people without it at the cost of the great liberal dream of crappy, socialized health care for everyone? That cost is too high, Mr. President."

More HSAs

"The best health care decisions are not made by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors."

9:27: Immigration talk. Obligatory shot of the Tanc, who shakes his head, sadly.

"Without animosity and without amnesty." Sounds like a tag for a really toney cereal brand. "Mmmm, Immigratios! Without animosity and without amnesty."

9:31: Scattered thoughts. The Pelosi Patented Frequent-Blink is killin' me. She's willing me to stop listening to the President, willing my gaze away from the TV. The President went with a light blue tie-- also not visually committing to either Super Bowl team. He looks a little skinny, doesn't he? McCain dons the old-school power tie because nothing's more powerful than The Maverick.

9:34: Asks for up-or-down votes for judges by appealing to the fact that the American people deserve a quick-acting, fully staffed judicial system. Pelosi looks down and scratches the back of her neck.

9:35: "In the war on terror, we must take the fight to the enemy." Pelosi: "Smirk, smirk. All right, I'll stand." 

9:36: Notes a couple busted-up terror plots. The audience seems unenthused about that.

"So long as that's the case, America is a country at war."

Al Qaeda: "Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite."

"Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions," you big dummies, he added.

"Shia extremists who are just as hateful toward America and also want to take over in the Middle East."

"Shia and Sunni different faces of the same totalitarian threat."

"Kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and get the weapons to kill on an even greater scale."

9:41: "I say, for the sake of our own security, we must (help the Middle East gain freedom)."

"Every terrorist's greatest fear is human freedom." And, uncovered women. Those are fightening, too.

9:42: Cedar Revolution, Afghan elections, three Iraqi elections, 12 million came out to vote in a "show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget." 

9:44: Shia and Sunni clashes: " This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won, but it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk."

9:46: Talks about more troops in Baghdad and Anbar. Is Pelosi even listening? She's chewing the inside of her bottom lip. Stop that, Nancy. You know you're on screen the whole time.

Other scattered thought: Chertoff looks kinda bad-ass without facial hair.

9:48: "The consequences of failure would be grievous and far-reaching."

Warnings of huge break-down, more fighting. Shias backed by Iran, Sunnis

"For America, this is the nightmare scenario. For the terrorists, it is their goal."

"To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of 9/11 and invite tragedy."

9:49: "Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. We are taking a new strategy in Iraq and I ask you to give it a chance to work. I ask you to support our troops in the field and those on their way."

9:51: Increase of Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in next five years. Ooh, cute Marine. Who is he?

A bipartisan committe on the war on terror? Isn't that the surest way to lose? Ha. Bipartisanship frightens me.

9:53: Iran-- No nukes for you!

Two-state solution for Palestine and Israel, hat tips to EU and Russia.

Korea-- No nukes for you, either! Bush threw off Kim Jong with that segue into Palestine. Kim thought he was off the hook.

Cuba-- If you're still alive, listen up. Freedom's a-comin'.

Darfur-- "Continue to raise the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur."

9:55: $1.2 billion to combat malaria in 15 African countries. Wouldn't that have already been taken care of if it hadn't been for Lefties banning DDT for the sake of the bird eggs of the world?

9:58: Dikembe spotting! Yay! An odd anecdote, but a good one. Love to see a classy pro athlete spotlighted every now and then.

The founder of Baby Einstein. Cool entrepreneur story. I like it.

Wesley Autrey. The NYC Subway Angel. That man's the bomb.

"There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autry."

Sgt. Raymond, recipient of the Silver Star for putting his body between his men and harm's way in Iraq. BIG standing O for him. Amazing story.

These are the kind of stories that, if related by Bill Clinton, would have "restored every American's hope and faith in the future of the country forever and ever, Amen." As it is, Bush will be accused of shallow emotionalism and some kind of exploitation, surely. Which, frankly, it walks the fluffy line, but there is much to be said for pointing out the greatness in the people of our country.

Update: All right, so the best part of the night, by far, is the candid shot Fox has of Bush shaking hands after the speech. The audio's really good, and you get to hear all the butt-kissing up close. Dennis Kucinich leans in again. The Nutroots will make you pay, Dennis.

One Congressman told him the best line of the speech was "You didn't vote to lose." I liked that one, too. The President sparred a bit with Jesse Jackson, Jr., told him he took after his dad, and Jesse Jr. sounded like he was trying to wrangle a committment from the President on something.

Update: Yay, the Dem response will only be 8 minutes long!

Update: Townhall bloggers blogging the speech, here.

Update: The Webbinator gives the response:

Has he been a Democrat long enough to call them "we?" Isn't there a timeline on that?

Benefits of the good economy not being fairly shared. Manufaturing jobs go away, bosses make more than the average worker, this country kinda sucks right now.

"The middle class of this country...is losing its place at the table."

"House just passed a minimum wage increase, " putting many of the lowest-skilled and lowest-paid workers out of work!

Foreign policy: "This country has endured a mismanaged war for over four years."

All right, the picture hand-off couldn't have been more awkward.

Tells the story of his dad being deployed for three years. He used to sleep with the picture of his father. Sweet story. I was proud to follow in his footsteps. My brother did, too. Now, my son is following.

"We served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country."

"The President took us into this war recklessly...We are now held hostage to the predictable and predicted," failure in Iraq.

"Not a precipitous withdrawal...but a policy that takes our forces off the streets of Baghdad."

Uhhh, isn't that the same thing?

"Drifting apart along class lines"-- we need to not have those divisions, sayeth Webb. Riiight, the Democrats are really the ones to speak about avoiding class warfare. It's half their platform to make those divisions as nasty and raw as possible.

"If he does, we will join him. If he doesn't, we will be showing him the way."

Is that a threat?

Update: Fred Barnes brings up that Webb said the majority of Americans don't agree with the way the war is being conducted, and the majority of troops don't agree with the way it's being conducted. I've noticed that part about the troops has been popping into Dem talking points lately. I heard it when I was debating someone on BBC radio the other day and wondered where the heck she got it. Barnes thinks Webb should be asked to justify it. I wonder what the White House will send out.