Very much like a big-time sporting event, the thing is already ten minutes late and all we get are announcers yapping while the president wanders around talking to people. The speech is slated for 50 minutes, plus a similar amount of needless applause.

(2115): First standing ovation “America is more secure.” Probably written as anti-Dean jab before Iowa. Crediting Congress’ passage of tax relief for the economic recovery was also wildly popular.

Ted Kennedy looked as if having an unpleasant procedure when GWB said seniors now have drug coverage under Medicare.

The state of the Union, as of 2115, is “confident and strong,” a huge upgrade from the usual “(merely) strong.”

(2120) : The first controversy was Bush’s extolling of the PATRIOT Act. Some loud applause came when he noted that several provisions were set to expire, followed by louder counter-applause when he noted that the terrorist threat will not expire. Tom Delay looked like a cat who’d eaten the canary.

(2128): Lots of bad guys captured. Kids in school. New friends. “The people of Iraq are free.” 45 of 55 top Iraqis captured. Saddam in prison. We rock. Don’t mess with Texas.

(2133): First token guest appearance. Apparently, Walter Mondale is now president of the Iraqi Governing Council, under the nom de guere “Pachachi.” Who knew?

Note: Pausing the TiVo to blog causes time lag. Will likely switch to watching larger chunks rather than commenting point-by-point.

(2144): A pretty fair job of taking on the major arguments against the war of terror–that it’s crime, not war; no WMD, etc. Especially good was the “let’s be honest about the consequences of not going” business. And the listing of countries in the coalition as a response to “let’s internationalize” was the sound byte of the night so far. Certainly better than, say, “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

(2209): Permanent tax cuts. Lower deficits, More free stuff. Education. Medicine. Yada yada yada.

(2212): Steroids are bad. Calls on the private sector to deal with the problem. Yes!

‘Abstinence is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.” And parking is the only way to avoid car accidents.

(2215): Andrew Sullivan isn’t going to be happy with the gay marriage stuff.

Let’s help ex-cons find jobs. Four year, $300 million initiative. Yikes. Why not send them to Iraq to help the restructuring? Two birds/one stone and all that.

Sweet letter from 10-year-old girl named Ashley.


Overall, a fairly boring speech to listen to but, as Steven Taylor reminds us, it’s the sound bytes that matter. There are several good ones that will be played tomorrow.

Listening to a speech and blogging is an odd experience. Definitely detracts from the listening enjoyment.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    I liked the bit about “the Patriot Act will expire next year.”


    “But the terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.”


    Made the Democrats appear, shall we say, a bit foolish.

  2. Boyd says:

    Oops…gotta quit using &lt or &gt.

  3. SwampWoman says:

    Maybe Rangel was “resting” his eyes. Was Hillary applauding?

  4. SwampWoman says:

    Oh, GAWWWWD, now listening to the Dems bring up the Ghost of JF (Kennedy) and call for clasping hands and working together with allies and UN. Aaaaack! Must. Turn. Off. TV.

  5. bamatexan says:

    That’s right…don’t mess with TEXAS…

  6. Boyd says:

    Doesn’t Tom Daschle have the prettiest little blue eyes? He makes me think he wants to be my buddy.

    Yeah, right.

  7. barb says:

    “But the terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.”

    Yup, this was definitely worth cheering. Woohoo!

  8. rrsafety says:

    Go Tom Brady!

  9. scott h. says:

    “But the terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.”

    I actually started watching the SOTU at that precise point. People started clapping and I thought “WTF?”

  10. John Lemon says:

    I’m not really sure what the “blog simulcast” of the speech accomplished. This is kind of like me hitting the refresh button on CalPundit to find out who won the NFC championship game.

  11. David Mercer says:

    Perhaps the point is that some of us, such as my wife and myself, were too sick to play the SOTU drinking game this year, and now actually want to find out what was said, without reading the entire transcript or watching a video file. Much quicker this way!

  12. Paul says:

    I’m not really sure what the “blog simulcast” of the speech accomplished.

    Lemon you obviously missed the trackbacks. 😉