Because simply recovering from surgery that involved my hand, wrist and thumb, didn’t strike me as being all that challenging, I decided to add a case of the flu. And because even that didn’t seem to be daunting enough, I decided to throw caution to the wind and watch Obama’s State of the Union Address. Predictably, that just about did me in.
My first impression was that I was watching something that could best be described as “Groundhog Year.” I mean, there were times during his 2014 Call to Action I was certain that, thanks to my meds, I was hallucinating and reliving his earlier addresses to Congress. The words were the same, all about economic recovery, comprehensive immigration reform, income inequality and even, bless my soul, shutting down Guantanamo.
Even the backdrop was the same: John Boehner, looking twice as dark as Obama, and Joe Biden, pointing at folks in the audience, grinning like a ninny and listening for cues so he’d know when to hop up and be a cheerleader.
Frankly, when I listen to something as long and boring as a State of the Union Address, I begin to understand the attraction of being president. In what other endeavor could you hope to be that tedious and still have people interrupt a 68 minute speech 85 times to give you a standing ovation?
Heck, Obama has those chimps so well trained that even when he told them he was going to nullify Congress and the Constitution by legislating through executive fiat, he had them cheering. It would have been like French royals on their way to the guillotine shouting, “Long live Robespierre!”
It was as if Obama were refuting those who claim we’re on our way to being a banana republic by pointing out that we don’t have any bananas.
Obama said, “The American people want the government to focus on their lives.” Right, that’s why Obamacare, the IRS and the NSA are so darn popular. Maybe Sasha and Malia still need a Big Mama and a Big Daddy in their lives, but the rest of us can do very nicely without a Big Brother.
Finally, my suggestion to the GOP is that they end the tradition of following the Address with a rebuttal. Unlike many, I didn’t think that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did an awful job. She seemed like a nice person and she set a nice tone – and she was certainly an improvement over Bobby Jindal, who came across like a teenage prankster who had sneaked his way onto the set. The problem is that you can’t replicate the pomp and ceremony of speaking before the 535 members of Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and those pathetic members of the Supreme Court who don’t mind being employed as political props.
So unless the GOP is going to go in an entirely different direction, perhaps involving jugglers, showgirls and a stand-up comic – something that actually gives people a reason to stay tuned – I suggest you leave it to people such as myself to rebut Obama.
Now that the Republicans in Congress have come up with their own proposals involving health care, trade, energy, Iran and immigration, I suggest it’s high time that Obama and Reid step aside and stop being obstructionists.
Because reading was giving me a headache, I have had to resort to watching a lot more TV than usual. As a result, I know something that may have somehow escaped your attention: They had two inches of snow in Atlanta. The way TV covered the event, you’d have thought a hurricane had leveled Chicago. Not that that would be a bad thing. Somehow, I couldn’t help wondering if Chris Christie would be found responsible for those traffic jams.
The one thought that kept occurring to me, but apparently not to the TV reporters, was that several thousand Atlanta cars and trucks were going to have to be steam-cleaned after being used as toilets for two days.
It also occurred to me that the common definition of insanity, constantly repeating the same action in the hope of a different result, could be fairly applied to those Republicans like myself who live in places like California, New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts, who continue voting in elections.
Never have I received so much email on any subject as I did on the day Henry Waxman announced his retirement. It was the way that people must have felt in 1945 when we got word Japan had surrendered.
My own glee was restrained because I knew that the real problem wasn’t Waxman, as awful as he’s been; it was the voters who kept electing him for 40 years. Those schmoes will simply elect a younger version of Waxman.
Frankly, I’m amazed that Henry is quitting at the relatively young age of 75. After all, Charley Rangel is still hanging in there at 83 and John Dingell, 87, has socks older than Henry.
My theory is that after the heady days of Obama’s first administration when the Democrats ran everything and Henry, as an early supporter and a guy with tons of seniority, chaired several committees and was on TV nearly as often as Nancy Pelosi, being a member of the House minority has been an ongoing torment.
I’ll give the last word to my friend Dr. Harry Maller. When he got the news of Waxman’s imminent departure, Doc theorized he was resigning in order to spend more time with his nose.
Media wishing to interview Burt Prelutsky, please contact email@example.com.