Ed Kilgore previews tomorrow’s State of the Union address:
Perhaps it’s just a sign of advancing age, but I’ve grown to dread these events. All these advance hype, whether or not the speech represents any notable departure in presidential intentions or even rhetoric. All the solemn advice offered after the text has surely been put to bed. All the almost-ironic rituals of insincere bipartisanship and phony bonhomie….The president will be subject to vast exercises in armchair psychology as his mood, his energy-level, his “resolve,” are evaluated by way of how he delivers a rehearsed prepared text.
….Personally, I have trouble engaging in such evaluations, being constantly distracted by the idiotic ritual of clapping and not clapping, standing and not standing, and the full range of mime-like facial contortions, to which we will be treated by the Vice President and the Speaker of the House sitting just behind the president.
Ed, Ed, Ed. What kind of attitude is that? You’ve forgotten the now annual ritual of seating some inspirational yet normal Americans somewhere near the First Lady, which gives the president a chance to tell an inspirational story that will connect with Joe and Jane Sixpack. This year’s “Skutniks” include “the NBA’s first openly gay player, a hero from the Boston Bombing (and the man he helped save), the Moore, Okla., fire chief who led the search for survivors after a devastating tornado, and others.” The others apparently include the youngest ever intern at Intel and DC’s teacher of the year. And Rep. Linda Sanchez has invited a fast food worker who makes the minimum wage. But that’s just the first round! Stay tuned for further announcements.