Take that, bitch!
What else? I'm flying to Sydney, Australia tomorrow. I'd better get to bed. Have I been unfair or blind or stupid tonight? Anyone who thinks so, please post in the Comments section between now and 11:30, and I'll promote it to the top so you'll get the very last word.
Going over to Fox for real this time. Hannity is playing highlights of the speech like a Patriots fan the Super Bowl, and slathering his naked body in hot oil. I am a communicator: I have spent much energy boring the living shit out of my liberal friends insisting that we can't ignore or dismiss our fellow citizens. And yet I keep thinking of the Jim Morrison line, in Five to One: "They got the guns but we got the numbers. Gonna win, yeah we're takin' over. Come on!"
A speechwriter friend, on Facebook: "I feel the need, on behalf of writers everywhere, to apologize for what you just witnessed."
Santorum just hammered Trump on the deliver—wait a minute, why am I listening to these assholes? I'm my own asshole!
Kasich, who is trying to position himself as the perfect conservative centrist, on CNN lists signals to the base: economy doing well, caravans, the wall, attacking socialism, abortion. He says this was the outreach to Democrats: infrastructure, cancer research for children, the drug issue. That's the best he could do.
These responses just never really land, no matter which side they're delivered on. It must be the form. The president, no matter how depraved, is the man in the arena, and the respondent, no matter how righteous, is the critic who doesn't count.
Stacey Abrams: "Faith, service education, responsibility." Sounds like the malaise speech! (Which was almost a great speech.)
On CNN, Rick Santorum just called this an "incredibly conciliatory speech." Because he touched on infrastructure and "he talked about AIDS." Van Jones calls it "psychotically [disjointed I think?] with cookies and dog poop." Looks like the conciliating didn't work.
Oh, I'm so looking forward to the Democratic response! How about we just run the malaise speech?
Danny Davis! I hope he's wearing a wire!
I just shouted to my wife in the other room that Bernie Sanders was asleep. I woke her up.
A correspondent from the East writes, "What about Bessie Coleman?"
And, we're back to D-Day.
The first presidential filibuster?
And now Trump is himself so tired he can't stop ad-libbing. The President of United States will for many years be quoted on Iran: "They do bad, bad things."
Humor speechwriter friend: "I can't tell whether this feels long, or if it feels long. And by the way, that's the exact opposite of what Stormy Daniels once said."
Speaker Pelosi and I are running out of gas.
(I never even ask myself that about my late mother.)
For the thousandth time I ask myself: Am I glad my father is dead and missing this or do I want to wake him up: "You are not going to believe this shit."
This isn't a laundry list, it's a ransom note.
Well, we just found something more exploitive.
Some speechwriters say they wish I would be on TV to analyze SOTU and other speeches, to give our profession visibility. Other speechwriters don't say that.
Infrastructure. Wait. No! What happened. Onto healthcare?
Seriously, you just shouldn't have guys named Wilbur. Horace, either. You've had your moment, Grover.
The most articulate and persuasive person I know remarks: "Fuck this fucking fuck stick."
Nice ad lib: "… a date which will live in infamy … so bad."
OK, either I'm getting shitfaced or this is getting confusing.
When was the number of women in the workforce a cool thing, like since Rosie the Riveter?
Aisles seem to work pretty good too.
Cruz looks less perverted with the beard. If only he could grow hair over his eyes, like a Scottish terrier.
What's the record for the most Skutniks in a SOTU? I'm starting to feel bad that he hasn't called me out for something. What am I, invisible?
Please name me something that could be more exploitive than that?
Fox is playing Nixon's "silent majority" speech. What is this?!
OMG I just checked MSNBC. They're playing Carter's malaise speech!
The largest numbers ever? Like the way the Germans and Irish and Italians and Pols poured in around the turn of the last century? Look out Ellis Island!
I've written a lot about prisoners and why they're not acknowledged in the way they were even in the 1960s when Johnny Cash was doing prison concerts. I suppose I should acknowledge this mention here, the way I liked the way the Bushes talked about Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal.
Nancy "Nancy" Pelosi just grudgingly offered the first one-woman smattering of applause.
I finally named the familiar tone he's using during this riff about Alice Johnson: sanctrumpmonious.
Who's working for the jerky veterans?
"If there's going to be peace and legislation, there can't be war and investigation." Sounds cool, makes no sense. Rhetorical Pink Floyd.
"The state of the union is strong. Take that, bitch!"
Is the righthand teleprompter out?
All presidents brag about good stuff happening on their watch. But most presidents manage to make it seem like the end of every sentence isn't, "Take that, bitch!" He reminds me of the speaker Jerry Tarver used to talk about, who was so pompous he could come out and say "Good morning," and he seemed to be taking credit for it.
Well yes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Red boats, yellow boats, tugboats and rowboats! And showboats.
Oh my God I thought Bernie was sniffing that pen.
D-Day to the moon landing. The entire period when America was great before—the period those hats always refer to. Deliberate framing.
Buzz Aldrin: He was the first asshole on the moon, kids!
Oh God, the Democrats won't even unify for unity.
This is why I do this here at Writing Boots, and why I set expectations early, that the vaunted Vital Speeches political neutrality will not hold tonight.
"Making me sick to my stomach already," my wife yells from the other room.
The single most elegant human being I know—she's 71—witnessed Mike Pompeo on the television one quiet Sunday morning in my home and shattered the room in a voice that still rings in my ears, "Look at that fat fuck!"
In Chicago, the local investigative reporters are always catching public housing workers napping the job. Nationally, I guess that's Ben Carson.
Wolf Blitzer breathes at all the wrong moments in the sentence. I point it out every year and nothing ever changes. Remember when Herman Cain got mixed up and called Blitzer "Blitz"? That was great.
People keep focusing on what the First Lady is wearing, and no one is saying anything about the fact that I am completely shirtless.
Scrambling to get ready for a trip tomorrow I'm coming in a little later than usual. David Axelrod just called Trump "kind of a moment-to-moment player." He might say such a thing about a squirrel, except a squirrel has the strategic forethought to store up nuts for the winter.
But I always chug straight booze when live-blogging SOTU. I don't want to normalize this administration, so I've decided to cut the scotch this year, with other things.
Remember last week, when President Trump was weighing options about where he might give the State of the Union Address, since Nancy "Nancy" Pelosi disinvited him from appearing in the House Chamber?
I sat down with a pen and pad and started this Dr. Seuss thing:
I don't like SOTU by a border wall …
I don't like SOTU, sir I say!
I don't like SOTU much at all.
Alas, the Song Of The Ungainly has been rescheduled for tonight, and the usual pundits are saying the usual things, in the usual papers.
"This is a watershed moment," Chris Whipple told The Washington Post. "Time is running out. This is a last chance to really get things right."
"For Trump, right now, this is 'go time,' " GOP pollster Frank Luntz said. "This speech, on this night, is not what you are against. It is what you are for. Tell the American people what you want to do and why."
How do these guys manage to crank themselves up this way every year—especially this year, with this president, who can't possibly have anything surprising to say after nonstop tweeting, bleating and dead-horse beating over the last month and by month I mean four years.
I know how I crank myself up for my annual SOTU live blog: chemically. I've got a half-bottle of Johnny Walker Red that won't make it to the Democratic response, and this year, I should warn you, I may need something stronger in addition.
Speech starts at 9:00 EST. I'll start grogging and blogging sometime before that.*
* How can the titular head of the entire speechwriting profession be so disrespectful as to live-blog an important speech, let alone live-grog it? As I've explained before: Because the SOTU is not a speech but a laundry list, and no one even knows what a laundry list is anymore. The SOTU is a spectacle—a spectacle of Wolf Blitzer banalities that can only be endured half-drunk. And the typing makes the time go by.
Do you remember how H.L. Mencken described the English of President Harding?
"It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm (I was about to write abscess!) of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
That is how I would describe every SOTU I have ever heard—and the opposition party's response—and all the commentary surrounding all of it.
And so I drink. Join me if you like.