Every year I live-blog the State of the Union Address at my personal website, rather than here, lest I disappoint the Vital Speeches readers who rely on me to be a sober and utterly impartial judge of rhetoric. You see, the SOTU takes place in the evening, after my impartiality has all been spent and my sobriety has come into question. But here are a few excerpts from last night’s live “analysis.” (As I’m located in Chicago, times are in CST.) —DM
6:50 There isn’t much enthusiasm for this year’s SOTU anyway. We’ve heard 700 campaign speeches, an acceptance speech and an inaugural address from President Obama. His chief speechwriter has quit, clearly because he can’t think of one more fucking thing to say. (As Dylan Thomas once said, in his cups at the White Horse Tavern: “Somebody’s boring me. I think it’s me.”) And Gotham Ghostwriters chief Dan Gerstein, the usual ringleader of online SOTU kibbitzing, says he might go out to dinner tonight instead, so presidential-rhetoric weary is he. To paraphrase LBJ: If you’ve lost Dan Gerstein, you’ve lost the country. …
7:05 Chris Matthews just came on and remarked that the [San Bernadino] shootout is messing up the people who want to “savor” the State of the Union Address. Damn it all to hell, that pathetic old man he’s describing is me.
7:57 Gergen says president has to avoid being boring. Gergen says the president has to avoid being boring.
8:13 I wonder if President Obama has, by this point, any nerves at all before a speech like this. Hard to imagine he doesn’t, I guess. But also hard to imagine he does.
8:27 “Our government shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep.” If [new chief speechwriter Cody] Keenan was really fresh, Obama would have said, “Washington’s mouth shouldn’t write checks that our ass can’t cash.”
9:12 “They deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote …. They deserve a simple vote.” I can’t remember a more campaign-speech moment in this chamber. Can you?
9:35 Rubio: “I don’t oppose your plan because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plan because I want to protect my neighbors.” Good line, well delivered.
9:38 Get this man a glass of water!
9:42 Thank CHRIST!
9:55 Gergen declares it’s “glorious” that State of the Union is delivered by black guy and Republican response delivered by Latino. But David, this country won’t really be free until you can appear on TV without your comb-over.