My predictions for the coming SOTU:
1. Bipartisan hand-holding, and/or the lack of it, will receive more media coverage than what is in, or not in, the actual speech. (This will not be entirely Mark Udall’s fault, but I’ll still curse his name quietly into my beer.)
2. The speech will not use the phrase “the ninety-nine” or other Occupy lingo. If it mentions climate change, it will be in the context of clean energy jobs–not floods, droughts, sea level, crop failure, or you know, other such changes of climate.
3. This time the Supremes and congress will maintain their composure. Although the credit (blame?) belongs with the media, who will almost certainly make as big a story out of whatever perceived protocol breach does occur as what is actually said. (Oh! For the days when Andrew Johnson could arrive at an inauguration drunk, and somehow people were impressed by what was actually said… okay, actually, mostly things are better now. But come on, you have to wonder what a drunken, extemporizing Joe Biden would come up with…)
4. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, feel your pain, unemployment, jobs, obstructionists in Congress, jobs jobs jobs.
What am I forgetting?
Some suggested rules for your annual SOTU drinking game:
1. Identify the congressman you think is likely to stand the least often, or if you don’t know, go with Mitch McConnell. Any time he or she stands and claps, and anyone else remains seated, finish your drink.
2. Before the speech begins, ask yourself what is the one issue that is most important to you, other than jobs, unemployment, or the economy. If that issue is raised in a way you find thoughtful and constructive, finish your drink.
3. This is America, so without a doubt the speech will be optimistic and forward-looking. President Obama, for example, is unlikely to talk about the percentage of black men who are in prison in this country, or the fact that the country’s attitude on climate change has been changing in the wrong direction, or that every day x number of veterans kill themselves. If you become depressed wondering if the happy talk is forced, or if President Obama really is as confident about the future as he appears, finish your drink. Try not to sigh too loudly.
4. When the speech ends, finish your drink.
And here are a few good ‘take a drink’ rules:
1. Take a drink the first time a congressman is caught on camera writing a tweet during the speech.
2. Take a small sip each time President Obama says “economy” “jobs” or “unemployment.” Consider using a drink of water for this rule, if you are a lightweight, or need to stave off a hangover.
3. Each time President Obama clearly means “Republicans” but refers to them obliquely as though to remain above the fray, take a drink. For example, if he says, “…those who are more interested in scoring political points than taking our country forward…” or refers to “obstructionist douchecanoes” take a drink.
Now make up your own! (Please drink responsibly.)