Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Or, Can We All Pretend the Wheels Haven't Come Completely Off?

Not exactly a kegger in the Congressional halls tonight, with the Republican side particularly and noticeably lacking the fire of moral certitude. There was an air of sweaty necessity in the air, rather like watching Baptist deacons dutifully file into church every weeknight in July because the pastor has decided, "We need a revival!"

9:00 - 9:07 ... on C-SPAN, blessedly free of yammering voice-over commentators, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney have to stand awkwardly side by side on the dais in cool silence, awaiting El Presidente's appearance at the backdoor. What kind of small talk would be possible at such a moment anyway?

9:10 ... El Presidente is announced. Everyone stands and applauds. Applause is desultory, at best, and soon dies. El Presidente is doing his best Regular Guy at the frat house, coming down the aisle. "Commander Codpiece," someone remarks.

9:14 ... El Presidente begins with a gracious flourish on "Madam Speaker," an historical moment. Genuine applause for Nancy Pelosi.

9:16 ... "large endeavors underway" ... congrats to the "new Democrat majority" -- he can't hide the smirk

9:17 ... "evil" ... didn't take long to make an entrance

9:18 ... "wages are rising," so can I take credit for what my party would never have done on its own?

9:19 ... "economic reforms" ... and did he just say we should balance the federal budget? That takes balls, you gotta admit ... "eliminate the federal deficit in five years" (big, BIG balls!)

9:21 ... "We can fix Medicare and Medicaid and save Social Security," thus ending the mystery of whether Vlad the Impaler can successfully impersonate a bleeding-heart liberal

9:21 ... "No Child Left Behind" -- there it is!

9:23 ... "No Child Left Behind" again ... camera pans glum faces on the Republican side

9:24 ... "affordable and available health care," 'cause, apparently, if it ain't affordable, it ain't available, and vice versa. But for two full minutes at least, we're told we're sick sick sick

9:27 ... "the best medical decisions are not made by government and insurance companies but by patients and their doctors" ... interesting words coming a day after the man spoke (by phone) to the National Right to Life rally, which is in love with the idea of government interference in private medical decisions

9:28 ... "temporary worker program" ... camera finds Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) in the crowd, who looks like he's choking on a sour lemon drop

9:29 ... "but no amnesty for illegals" ... Ton Tancredo looks happier

9:30 ... Pelosi appears to be working a sesame seed out from betwixt two molars

9:30 ... omigawd ... El Presidente is now channeling Al Gore ... "alternative energy" ... "hybrid vehicles" ... "reduce gas usage by 20 percent in 10 years" (right after bats fly out of Dick Cheney's posterior)

9:32 ... best, most cryptic three words of the speech ... "mandatory fuel standards"

9:33 ... yeah, but enough of that environmental doo-doo, 'cause we've gotta pump more oil in this country, and you chickenshits are gonna help me

9:34 ... "be better stewards of the environment" ... Al Gore is back, and Rahm Emanuel leaps, applauding, from his seat

9:35 ... Vlad the Impaler returns ... "terrorists ... terrorists ... terror ... take the fight to the enemy"

9:36 ... "terrorists" ... and you can't quarrel with the logic of this: "We cannot know the full extent of attacks we didn't suffer" ... Oooo-kay

9:37 ... the man's on a roll ... "terrorists ... terrorists ... evil ... America is still a nation at war"

9:39 ... "Sunni and Shi'a extremists"

9:41 ... "a decisive ideological struggle" ... which is apparently some necessary groundwork for bombing the shi'ite out of Iran too

9:44 ... "This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it's the fight we're in" ... Again, that impeccable logic! "Let us find our resolve and turn events toward victory" ... gosh, much of Congress appears to have left its resolve in its other pants

9:45 ... "a new strategy in Iraq" ... Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M), a recent defecter from Republican orthodoxy on the war, appears to be studying her shoe laces

9:48 ... "I chose this course of action" ... at which Cheney smirks

9:49 ... "September 11th"

9:50 ... "War on terror"

9:51 ... "I need boys, I need man-flesh, I need 92,000 more soldiers in the active Army in the next five years, 'cause, guys, this perpetual war is hard to sustain"

9:53 ... "Iran ... nuclear weapons" ... isn't this where we came in four years ago, only it was "Iraq ... nuclear cloud" back then?

9:54 ... "Korean peninsula ... nuclear weapons" ... O God, make it stop

9:54 ... here comes the bleeding heart liberal again: "hunger ... poverty ... disease ... HIV-aids ... continent of Africa" and then he throws in malaria too

10:02 ... it's over! If your own personal drinking game hinged on variations of the word "terror," you're roaring drunk by now

10:09 ... El Presidente is making his way out of the chamber, and this person, this woman, I think, starts pawing at him, grabs a hank of hair or a shoulder pad of the President of the United States, and pulls him into a wet kiss ... Oh Jeez, it's Virginia Foxx! She's mugging the man.

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