Because we had not two, but three speeches last night! State of the Union! Republican Response! Tea Party Additional-Not-Competing Response!
Let's start with the State of the Union, where many members of Congress found an opposite party buddy to sit with during the speech. Adorable.
Also quite nice, I thought, was the way the red in the American flag behind him brought out the orange in Speaker Boehner's complexion. It's really something that here in 2011, we have a President, Vice President and Speaker representing black, white, and orange Americans all at one time. I bet those kids on the Jersey Shore are really appreciative of having one of their own in such a powerful position. "I can be Speaker of the House too!" they might think, between binge drinking episodes.
My roommate, watching her second ever SOTU (her first non-compulsatory, write a report for social studies SOTU) wasn't sure which one was Boehner when I said his name. "The one who looks like Mr. Yuk," I clarified. Then she knew.
But enough color commentary (ha!), there was also a speech! That included President Obama wanting all of us to have electric cars, proving once and for all that he supports the right of Americans to be hugged by polar bears. Yes, we can!
This year's Giddy as Lori at the Thought of Hugging a Bear Award goes to Senator McCain upon President Obama's promise to veto bills that included earmarks. He stood up all by himself to smile and clap and generally just take his victory lap moment. I thought it was nice. I explained this to my roommate by telling her that if anybody had "earmarks" in their debate drinking game back in 2008, John McCain got them very drunk indeed.
I'll admit, I'm always nervous when the education section starts. How much of the blame for everything from violent crime to the nonavailability of JELL-O Pudding Pops will be laid at our feet this year? The President started off strong by suggesting that *gasp* parents have a lot to do with their kids' educational success or failure. "Only parents can make sure that the TV is turned off and homework gets done." It's true! The dentist can do everything right for your kids when they're there, but if you send the message that teeth aren't important and don't make your kids brush daily, their teeth will rot out of their heads. And it won't be the failing dental system to blame.
Then the President brought up the Race to the Top program. Megan asked me if it was any good. "Texas Governor Rick Perry opposes it. So obviously, it's very good," I explained. It's just one of those things that makes me scratch my head regarding conservative opposition. They think things get better if you let them compete. Race to the Top is a competition for extra grant money. Eventually, my head gets sore from the scratching, so I tell myself, "They don't like it because Obama supports it." and I move on. Maybe I smooth my hair a little if it got messed up.
(Then I remember that I'm a huge liberal who supports national educational standards if only because it would make things easier for those of us who teach and move from state to state. Also because kids often go to college in other states and all take the same college entrance exam. What if they all learned the same stuff? It wouldn't have to be a decision made by those damned fatcats in Washington. Get a couple of educators from every state together in, you know, Kansas or something and let them duke it out. Then a simple national standardized test and simple national teacher certification and I'm happy.)
But back to the speech! Obama got a unanimous standing ovation for suggesting that we show kids that the winner of a science fair is as great as the winner of a Superbowl. Yay, empty rhetoric! And general applause for the immigration section, which he worked into the education section by suggesting that we allow the children of undocumented workers to attend school so that they can become productive members of society and allow students here on visas to stay and work, rather than forcing them to return home and use the education they got here to make their countries more competitive against us.
Then, troops! YAY, TROOPS! IMMEDIATE AND ENTHUSIASTIC STANDING OVATION!
He went on to point out how some of them are gay. And we're going to let more gay ones join. Which was met by less enthusiasm, at least among about half of the buddies present. (My unsolicited two cents: I am not willing to join the military and go risk my life. Therefore, I have no standing to argue that anybody who does want to do that should be disallowed. Also: civil rights and equality and all of that.)
Now it's time for my pick for the Hanes No Wedgie Promise® Most Uncomfortable in Public Moment of the Night! President Obama said, "American Muslims are part of our American family." Cue John Boehner's oh so obvious inner turmoil over whether to clap. He came down on the side of a teeny bit of polite applause, no smile. I don't know why he was torn about that. After all, Sarah Palin says that a crime begins and ends with the people who committed it. Thus, after only nine years, exonerating all other Muslims in the world from responsibility for the attacks of September 11. And rightly so! We finally agree on something! I mean, she didn't say that since she was talking about herself, but she framed it as "all crimes" so it was implied, right? So Speaker Boehner, you're free to applaud American Muslims until you're blue in the face! Or perhaps a nice burnt sienna.
In earnest news, my favorite line of the night came when the President was talking about the promise of America being one of equality of opportunity. "Each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny." Indeed.
Then President Obama God blessed us and the United States of America and vanished in a cloud of blue smoke! You know, in my head. (How cool would that be though?)
You may notice that I've left out health care. We'll get to that, boys and girls, when we get to the Republican response(s). Tomorrow!
*imaginary cloud of smoke*