Tuesday, January 20, 2004

State of the Union Address

"and tonight, on a very special 'State of the Union Address..."

I'm going to leave the speculation on who clapped the loudest, whose hair was the most fucked-up, what was wrong with Ted Kennedy, or how many smooth, smooth babies went into making Darth Cheney's suit to our highly-paid, well-respected mainstream press corps; instead, I'm going to focus on the issues. Namely, issues like "wow, so how fucked are we, huh?" and "Affordable Eating: Gone the way of Education."

One thing I found interesting was the structure of the speech. I don't know if there is a traditional format for the SOTU, but it was obvious he led this one with the more popular foreign policy/support our troops/we got saddam booya talk, and then dumped all the hardcore far-right stuff for his base in at the end, when most people are bored and have already changed the channel.

Wow. His thinly-disguised "God Hates Fags" section was pretty ballsy, if you ask me. He steps up, gets all worked up into that steely-eyed cowboy pilot squint, and fucking calls out the Massachusetts Supreme Court as if they were a bunch of punk law clerks out joyriding the state's constitution. If married couples out there were turning to each other in confusion, it was because Dubya wasn't talking about a constitutional amendment designed to make their existing marriages more awesome; he was talking about ensuring that gay couples are prohibited from ever obtaining legitimate married status in America, home of the free. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

OOH -- and he also briefly mentioned 23 million dollars dedicated to mandatory in-school drug testing. He neglected to mention what he thinks 23 million dollars is going to be able to achieve, nor does he mention what consequences await teenagers who get caught by this illegal invasion of privacy; but people know drugs are bad, so a vote against forced drug testing in schools is a vote in favor of 10 year old kids mainlining Afghan H before kickball. Once again, we act like punishment is more helpful to society (and more effective) than treatment.

But the most outrageous thing tonight had to have been the story about a (totally made-up) girl he was using for a prop at the end of the Address. It completely backfired...She was supposed to wrap it all up, she was supposed to be What It's All For, because it's all for the kids, right? But man, he blew it. The teleprompter must have jacked him up or something because he fucked up her age, so he went into self-defense mode and sleepwalked through the end of the speech like a tape-recorder low on batteries. It left me wincing, like a croquet mallet to the burls.

This speech was all about the base. All about the guys who bring in the cash, the elite fundraisers. The beginning of the Address was directed more towards swing voters and low-committment voters, throwing the easy fear/terrorists/foreign policy stuff to impress them while he had their attention. But he took some serious chances with the last third of that speech, on highly controversial issues that are very important to both the far right and big business. If your campaign strategy is centered around a tight core of loyalists who are able to run a huge, distributed fundraising operation, then you want to keep those loyalists happy, right? I'm not saying it's nefarious or anything, it's just really obvious who he was winking to in the second half of that speech, as if to say "you're comin' home with me after the show."

Man, that was pretty great how he fumbled that special little girl story though. Smooth, like a Lego enema. Did anyone else shake their white-knuckled fist, and let out a Howard Dean-esque battle cry after watching what was essentially a nationally televised Cleveland Steamer?