State of the Union Address Applause

I decided to steer clear of fisking the President’s address. I’m trying to get out
of the pundit game. There are more than enough pundits in the blogosphere who are
far more qualified than I. That’s not to say that I don’t talk about politics from
time to time, but right now I’m more interested in learning more about my faith.

Anyhow, my focus for analyzing the State of the Union Address was applause. There
was certainly plenty of it. In a speech that lasted roughly 60 minutes, the President
was interrupted about 65 times for an approximate total of 17 minutes of applause.
That’s more than a quarter of the air time!

Was is all really necessary? Couldn’t the audience wait until afterward? One of
the news anchors called the multiple standing ovations a great tradition. What’s
so great about it? The president’s supporters are expected to applaud to cheer him
on. His detractors applaud to be polite. Even worse, most applause involves standing
(and sitting back down), which takes additional time. Thus, the applause serve little
more purpose than to inflate the president’s ego and make an already tediously long
and boring speech longer.

If any reaction from the audience can be taken to have any meaning, it’s the boos.
I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard boos at a SotU Address. I thought
it was immature and inappropriate. This was neither the time nor the place for such
lack of restraint and decorum.

Ovations and heckles weren’t the only affectations I took note of. I also watched
faces. I noticed, for instance, that Hillary Clinton once again made no attempt
to hide her disgust and contempt during the speech. This time, though, she was joined
by a stone-faced Barack Obama.

Malcontent Democrats weren’t the only people I took note of, though. I must say,
Dick Cheney has a thoroughly disturbing visage. When he wasn’t grinning like Mr. Burns,
he was seemingly staring someone down. He looked as though flames would appear in
his eye at any moment. *shudder*

Cheney’s boss, on the other hand, was cheerier, if a bit smug. For much of the speech,
Bush wore the “I love me. Don’t you?” face that we’ve seen in past addresses.
There was, however, an extended moment of what appeared to be sincerely deep compassion.
When the President introduced the parents of a deceased marine, he seemed to have
difficulty maintaining his composure. When the Iraqi voter hugged the mother, I
wondered if he might even shed a tear or two. Was it staged? I’ll probably never
know, but it certainly looked convincing.

So there you have it. There weren’t any real surprises in the speech. A lot of people
imitated prairie dogs. A few people behaved like spoiled children. Bush seemed to
be rather full of his own self-importance, Cheney looked creepy, and Hillary looked

P.S. The Democratic response wasn’t particularly deep, either. Reid has a friendly
face, but can’t deliver a joke or amusing anecdote well. Pelosi has the presentation
skills Reid lacks, but needs to put her eyebrows back where they belong so I’m not
so distracted by her “permanently surprised” look while she’s speaking.
They both should stop trying to hop on the “values” bandwagon. The left’s
values, for good or for ill, aren’t the same as the right’s values. For the sake
of the American people, stop pretending.

P.P.S. I couldn’t resist throwing in a little bit of punditry. 😉

Comments 6

  1. Emily T wrote:

    Applause is precisely the reason why I hate watching the State of the Union address. The point is to get across what the present state of the union is, not to boost the president’s already enormous ego.

    I was supposed to watch it for my Social Welfare class, as we are currently talking about the Social Security system, however, I will rely on and the transcript of the speech for any questions the professor might ask.

    Posted 03 Feb 2005 at 3:38 pm
  2. sibert wrote:

    Dennis Hastert, seated on Cheney’s left, looked like he was gonna have a coronary at one point. I think all the jumping up and down was the most exercise he’s had since he stopped coaching wrestling. I just love our republic…

    Posted 03 Feb 2005 at 6:53 am
  3. Steve N wrote:

    I missed Alias… for THIS!?!?!?

    About the almost getting misty eyed part… yeah, that’s the scary thing: he actually believes some of the things he says. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But if someone actually believes that it’s America’s unique role in the world and god-given mandate is “making it safe for democracy” or some such thing, then I’d really prefer disingenuousness.

    And don’t even get me started on the supposed SS “crisis”…

    Profligate, profligate, profligate, and an American public who don’t mind being told what they want to hear.


    Posted 03 Feb 2005 at 2:27 pm
  4. Tom Smith wrote:

    Last year, I vowed not to watch it ever again, for several reasons. I didn’t really absorb any information. And an hour of “let’s hear it for the good ol’ US of A” really got old. Also, it was just a plain waste of time; I seem to remember watching it at the Oratory with some people and going Joan Rivers on politicians’ wardrobes.

    Posted 04 Feb 2005 at 4:45 am
  5. Amy wrote:

    Thanks for the review. We missed the speech thanks to RCIA for hubby. I think I’m glad. :)

    Posted 03 Feb 2005 at 10:21 am
  6. Jerry wrote:

    To Funky and the other commentators on this blog: thank you for confirming the reasons I gave Funky yesterday for why I did not have to sacrifice my time to watch the State of the Union.

    Posted 03 Feb 2005 at 7:11 pm

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