Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The State of the Union

It's always more fun to watch the State of the Union address when it's your man in the White House. When the president's views oppose your own, it can be a torturous affair. I'm trying to decide whether or not I'm up to being tortured tonight.

I don't hate President Obama although my political views are decidedly conservative. I recognize that some conservatives are so against him that he can't possibly do anything to please them. If he discovered the fountain of youth and gave out bottles of the rejuvenating water to any and all who wanted it, some conservative pundits would find fault with him.

Still, it's hard to forget past Obama speeches. They almost always sound like campaign speeches given by someone who wants to be president and is speaking to his supporters who are dedicated to making him president. I have yet to hear an Obama speech that sounds like it's coming out of the mouth of a man who actually is president and is talking to all American citizens - the people he is sworn to represent.

Then too, as suave as President Obama appears to be, he's not above taking pot shots at his perceived enemies during a State of the Union address, a speech that should be - well, unifying. Who can forget the 2010 State of the Union address that included cutting remarks aimed at the Supreme Court Justices along with a highly partisan interpretation of one of the Court's recent decisions? Who can forget Judge Samuel Alito's mouthing the words "not true" in response to Obama's remarks? I understand that Justice Alito will not be present at tonight's State of the Union, and who can blame him?

Traditionally Democrats and Republicans have been seated on opposite sides of the aisle in the House Chamber during the State of the Union address. There will be no such division in the House Chamber tonight. The recent events in Tucson have inspired a different seating arrangement. Democrats and Republicans will be seated together on both sides of the aisle to show that they are capable of playing nicely. I assume that it is hoped that this gesture will prevent any gun-toting crazies at large in the country from repeating a tragedy like the one that took place in Tucson. Dream on.

I've reminisced about President Obama's partisan rudeness, so it's only fair to recall the ungentlemanly outburst by Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, at the 2010 State of the Union address. As the president assured us that illegal immigrants would be ineligible for federal subsidies to buy health insurance, Rep. Wilson shouted, "You lie!"

In light of this rudeness on both sides, I have to wonder - is this new seating arrangement wise? Although it might promote brotherly love, isn't it just as likely that it will facilitate fisticuffs? Maybe I will watch tonight.

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