by susan lenfestey
The post mortems are piling up here. Well, not really. So, did any body watch the weasel? I did, and he was less twitchy and psychotic than in previous appearances, but no less vacuous and dissembling.
It was fun to see Nancy Pelosi call things to order (after the boy prez turned around and pretty much said, "You gonna get this started?", perhaps his shining moment of the evening.) and to see her thoughtfully chew her lip throughout the speech while Cheney popped a god-knows-what in to his mouth -- a lozenge? A Tums? Read on.
It was fun to see our new senator Amy Klobuchar in the mix, but seated next to Joe Lieberman? Anyone know how these seating assignments are made? The Cheesehead and I thought for awhile that it was alphabetical, the K-L thing, but no one else appeared to be in that order.
I didn't see my favorite new congressperson, Tim Walz, or my own new congressperson Keith Ellison, of whom I'm dang proud. But I did see my state's most embarassing new congressperson, the giddy and profoundly misguided homophobe Michelle Bachman, lean out into the aisle (not what we mean when we say working across the aisle, Michelle) to collar the president on his way out. She literally grabbed his shoulder and hung on while he signed autographs and shook hands until she could reel him in for hugs, a smooch and an autograph. I confess decorum isn't my forte, so I don't fault her for the go-get-'im approach, just for the bad taste in men, politics and beliefs -- and everthing else.
And, whoever started the recognition of those in the gallery thing, can we now end it? An NBA star, an entrepreneur, a wounded Iraq vet and -- Wesley Autrey, the man who threw himself in front on an on-rushing subway to save another. Puhleez. Autrey did an astonishing thing and he deserves enormous quantities of praise, recognition and reward. But to trot him and the others out, as embellishments to your own wishful narrative, is manipulation in extremis, and everyone now senses it. It's particularly loathesome when a president like George Bush trots out a man like Wesley Autrey as the embodiment of anything he's ever stood for.
Truth is, I don't understand why there is any applause at all for a man who has lied us into the biggest military and diplomatic catastrophe in our history, a man the nation is now rejecting pretty much 60-30. Seems like a whole lot of ass-kissing going on there, but I guess that's what makes the world go round, and no where more so than in DC.
So I found Jim Webb's response delightfully free of fanny smooching. He was smart and to the point. You could tell that he is a writer by the way he neatly framed his two primary objections --- the myth of economic growth and the failed policy in Iraq -- and went on to flesh them out with facts. Nice that he tossed in New Orleans and Katrina along the way, along with his dad's, his own, and his son's military service. Take that Messrs. Bush and Cheney, you lily-livered lice. Seems to me year after year we've had to cringe as one of our own minced his way through a tepid rebuttal. Webb has a book and a PAC called "Born Fighting" and from his response tonight you can see how that suits him.
Final question of little matter. Don't the family members of the president usually attend the State of the Union if they're not serving in Iraq or something? Wasn't Chelsea always there, even after she got older? I'm picturing a slew of Reagans, Susan Ford and so on. So, where were those trouble-makin' twins? Are they still in Argentina or where ever they were kicking up a ruckus, or too busy with work? Or did a spin meister somewhere decide that having two healthy strapping daughters sitting up by mumsie while surrounded by soldiers and heroes, might illustrate all too vividly the very point Barbara Boxer got hammered for asking Condi, the question of whose children are dying in Iraq.