Last night was a little bizarre. The least bizarre was President Obama's State of the Union speech. The instant analyzers thought the first half was stirring, the second, less so. I think he said what he had to say and did so well. He could have taken the Republicans to task for their reactionary and uncivil ways, but he stayed above the fray. He could have focused on what he has accomplished, which is considerable. He didn't. Instead, he spoke of the challenges we still face and the work ahead of us. He reached across the aisle, after the Republicans and Democrats sat among one another.
Yesterday, I heard a woman call in to one of the hate radio shows complaining that she wasn't happy with the mixed seating arrangement. "The tea party won all those seats and they're not going to let us see them."
Oh, but we saw them, beginning with the Tan Man behind the President, who looked like he was dying for a cigarette and a good stiff one. And what was that crystal looking thing in front of him? Well, I'll give him this; he put hardly anything into his applause. Apathy never looked so genuine. But the President almost brought him close to tears by mentioning his humble beginnings, sweeping floors in Cincinnati or something.
And then came the Republican rebuttal...
I don't know. Maybe Paul Ryan has pink-eye. Maybe he got stoned before delivering his genteel little speech and forgot to use Visine. But his eyes were distracting. What was also distracting was his delivery. It took away from his message. He sounded like he was telling a story to children, in a sing-song, kinder-gentler voice, so that he didn't sound like the typical scary Republican who usually use fear to motivate the tea-toting sheep. The message was not any more palatable or believable. A lie told sweetly is still a lie.
But the Republicans weren't done with Ryan. Oh no. They had to foist Michele Bachmann upon us as well. To be totally accurate, the GOP was not totally responsible for her speaking. Some of their ranks were even a bit miffed at her. She spoke on behalf of the Tea Party Movement, being that she is the founder of the Tea Party Congressional Caucus. That distinction alone should give her a one way ticket to the Fergus Falls State Hospital.
If there was a thematic connection between Paul Ryan and Ms. Bachmann, it was optic. Her eyes are pretty crazy, too. Not red... possessed. And... who was she looking at? Someone must have moved the teleprompter or whoever was holding the cue cards moved them, along with her cheese, and most of her mind. Ms. Bachmann, you'll remember, recently announced that the founding fathers ended slavery, which would come as a shock to thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Last night she harped on the scourge of "Obamacare." To her credit, she tried to substantiate her rambling with charts and graphs... oh, and the famous shot from Iwo Jima. The bloviators are having a field day with that one.
But, let's take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. I know I've been harsh with our President in the past. I will admit I pretty much gave up on him there for a while. But you know what? He has gotten quite a few things done in his first two years in office. His approval rating is at an all-time high, the market is going gangbusters and consumer confidence is the highest its been in 8 months. Are we out of the woods? Not by a long shot. Would we be better off with a Republican in the White House? Not a chance. Now, play on...