Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State Of The Nation: No Better Than Last Year And We've Only Got 353 Days To Go!

Last night was one of the most boring nights on television. I would have rather watched Oprah! or Dr. Phil. But last night, President Bush, gave his last State of the Union Address. It was in many ways his legacy speech although not the kind of legacy I really want to remember. His speech lasted a long 53 minutes, interrupted frequently by applause, most often by Republican lawmakers who needed to get up off their butts anyway and stretch their legs. A major challenge for Mr. Bush in his address was simply being heard when many Americans already are looking beyond him to the next president. Hillary Clinton said, "Tonight is a red-letter night in American history. It is the last time George Bush will give the State of the Union. Next year it will be a Democratic president giving it." The bottom line on this speech: Government isn't the answer.

But hey, fans of the State of the Nation drinking game got to do shots as the President prodded Congress to extend a law allowing surveillance on suspected terrorists, renew his education law and approve free-trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, gave recycled ideas on alternative energy, affordable health care, housing reform and veterans' care. One of the best lines was when he told his delighted audience, "...I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders." Mr. Bush also renewed his ideas on climate change and everyone got an extra shot when he mentioned stem cell research. Bottom's up!

And I never saw a more bored audience in my life. Just look at these photos. And with the campaigns in full swing, we saw that Sen. Barack Obama came into the chamber first, followed closely by his new barpal, Sen. Edward Kennedy. Sen. Hillary Clinton entered the chamber a few minutes later, equally mobbed by wanna-be folk singers. She reached out and shook Kennedy's hand. Obama, nearby, turned away. How's that for getting miffed!

And what about this other useless waster of television time? Delivering the official Democratic response, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urged Mr. Bush to work with Congress and help the U.S. regain global standing lost because of the war. She gave a speech that was so boring and mundane that I wanted to go out and buy ton's of incandescent light bulbs just so I don't have to "go green" when they are banned in 2012. And I was surprised that she didn't give a shout out to her son's board game which I blogged about yesterday. That would have been more fun than this speech.

And just so you get one laugh today, he's a good news story that almost sounds like one of Teddy Kennedy's. A man in Michigan was charged with drunken driving after going through two bottles of wine, cutting through a snowstorm on his lawn mower and riding down the center of the street to reach a liquor store, authorities said. Police found Frank Kozumplik homeward bound on a John Deere tractor toting four bottles of wine in a paper bag. His blood alcohol level was 2 1/2 times Michigan's legal driving limit. They arrested him and confiscated the mower. Now that's funny!

Mr. Bush made only one mention of Osama bin Laden because I think he's still trying to figure out where his weapons of mass destruction were hidden (pun intended). Mr. Bush will turn from yesterday's speech and plunge into politics, which he's not that good at anyway while raising money for Republicans at events in California, Nevada, Colorado and Missouri. That's OK with me if he's out of the office for a while. He's only got 353 days left. Yippee!!!!