It Gets More Complicated When They’re Smoked

January 26, 2011

I try to be a good American citizen.

For me, that means I summon all of my strength and I make an attempt to watch the State of the Union address, regardless of what I think of the President.  Sometimes I yell at the television.  Sometimes my eyeballs bleed.  While most presidential speeches have very questionable importance, the SOTU has…somewhat less questionable importance. 

I’ve never done this before, but today’s blog is a “stream of thought,” written in reaction to the SOTU.  Chime in and tell us what you thought of what the President said, or why you didn’t watch it.


Okay, I’m all set to hear the President “give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”  Got my pizza and cool ranch Doritos.  I wonder if any Congressmen brought any snacks…


I think it’s time to invest in an HD TV.  All this rapid-fire clapping would sure look clearer.


Obama says the events in Tuscon should unite us and help us live for something greater than political party.  That’s great, but somehow, if 9/11 couldn’t unite us for long, I don’t think Tuscon will.


Joe Biden is doing a much better job at controlling his eye blinking than Dick Cheney.  John Boehner is also doing a good job not crying.


Obama wants to cut the billions of dollars the government gives to oil companies.  Yea!  Let’s sock it to those evil oil companies!  Hey, I like that idea, but guess what?  If you hate gas prices now, wait until they stop getting all that sweet government money.  One way or another, the oil companies will take that money from us, whether it’s at the pump, or laundered through the government.


“It’s not just the winner of the Superbowl that deserves to be celebrated, but also the winner of the Science Fair.”  Good quote.

Obama wants to continue to replace “N0 Child Left Behind” with more flexible “Race to the Top.”  How come I’ve never heard of this?  He also want to prepare 100,000 new teachers for the workforce?  I’d like to know where they’re all going to go.  None of the dozens of districts in my city are hiring.  Believe me, I’ve been trying to get hired.


John McCain was just shown with his date, John Kerry.  They may have been holding hands.  There was also a guy who looked like Stanley on The Office who seemed to be doing a crossword puzzle.

You know, for being in the Constitution, the SOTU was never meant to be such an inspiring show for you and me.  The founders never thought citizens would ever even know the speech had happened.  Thomas Jefferson delivered his SOTUs as written letters to be read privately, he hated public speaking so much.


Sounds like Obama covered both bases by talking about spending freezes and “painful” cuts.  But he also said, “let’s not get carried away.”  To me, if you’re not willing to put everything on the table and evaluate even things like Medicare, you’re not serious enough about the budget.  No one wants to take away Grannie’s pills, because she’s so much more fun when she’s medicated.  But we have to look at everything.


Best fish related joke of the evening: “I hear it gets more complicated when they’re smoked.”  If you didn’t watch the speech, I’m not going to explain it, so there.


Does anyone find it kind of ironic that Obama would cite Iraq as a success story?   The non-Republican half of the country venemously protested the war for years.  It’s kind of funny, now that I think of it.  I don’t hear any protests, or any media coverage, for that matter, on Afganistan now that it’s Obama’s war.  I wonder how that’s all going.


The generals did not clap or look happy at the mention of repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”  It doesn’t seem that they believe it’s good for the military.


Sixty-eight minutes and eighty-two interruptions for applause, but still one of the most watchable SOTUs in a long time, thanks to the restrained clapping.  

As a guy who doesn’t doesn’t swoon for Obama’s oratory, it was actually a really watchable, at times inspiring speech.  If I took it at face value, I liked several things he said.  Of course, it remains to be seen how genuinely he feels about “vetoing bills that come to his desk with earmarks.”  On the other hand, Obama left me hanging, where he gave very few specifics on what he wanted to do about spending cuts or immigration.  Also, I don’t think I care about high speed trains.

Best quote of the night: “I have heard that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law.”

What did you think of the speech?  Is it your duty as a citizen to watch it, or do you avoid it?  What highlights or lowlights stood out to you?  Did it leave you hopeful for the future, or just as pessimistic as ever?

43 responses to It Gets More Complicated When They’re Smoked

  1. I admit that I did not watch it. Not prejudiced but never will listen to him. I also dozed off during NCIS before so obviously I didn’t need any help. I get up at 3:00 so must be in bed by 9:30. Stay up to watch the SOTU? I doubt it.

  2. I did not watch it either. No excuse. I forgot. Watched a DVD murder mystery and forgot the time.

    I am a bad citizen.

    I worry more about the state of John Cowart than the State Of The Union… Mote and beam stuff, you know.

    Thanks, Matt, for reminding me it happened; I’ll read a transcript on Google today, I promise…

    Well, maybe that’s rash. I’ll think about reading a transcript… Won’t bother with the republican response. I’ve heard them before.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure the opposition response (whichever party it is) is necessary. It was more necessary 50 years ago when there were 3 news stations. Now, any congressperson can get on one of dozens of stations to get their talking points out.

  3. I felt kinda guilty skipping as well, but I did. I was home alone with the kids and just wasn’t up to it. The partisan clapping and ovations bugs the crap out of me, and I doubt that the mixing of the two parties (which I’m sure was the sole commentary topic – other than the number of ovations…insightful commentary, that…) would have changed that any. The shout-outs to the gallery also bug me.

    The president’s lips also weird me out. Always have. They’re just not a natural color.

    Those all sound like really silly reasons not to watch (other than the being home alone with the kids)…
    Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

  4. Since the internet came along to save me from watching, I’ve been a “read the transcript later” gal. I can read faster than any president can speak. Plus, I don’t interrupt to applaud. That to say, I haven’t seen it yet.
    Su recently posted..Teaser Tuesday

  5. Nobody should feel any pangs of guilt for not watching a SOTU address. It’s become nothing but a way for Presidents (both Republican and Democrat) to find favor with the public by presenting a laundry list of goodies to give away (without mentioning the cost) and to talk about nice gooey subjects like cheering on winners of science fairs as much as we do Super Bowl champions. The entire thing has essentially become a staged production much like the party conventions and as such, are pretty much worthless in terms of actual substance.

  6. I honestly forgot about it.
    Charlie Chang recently posted..2011 books

  7. I did not watch it–I was too busy spending time with my family. I do, however, agree with you about preparing more teachers. I know of so many people who have education degrees yet are presently jobless. Having more teachers without jobs just increases the unemployment rate.
    seekingpastor recently posted..Firmly Rooted–A Poem of Hope

  8. I knew it was on, but quite frankly I had to finish knitting a hat. Terrible citizen, I am, but I haven’t missed voting in 25 years. And quite frankly, if I’d heard the word “Medicare” one more time yesterday my head might have exploded. How was your pizza?
    Candy recently posted..Winter’s Grace or lack thereof

  9. Did not watch it. Never have. Do not think it is a “duty to”. Do not feel guilty about it.

    As for politicians, I am interested in results, not what you claim to be able to accomplish.

    I know what the state of the union is, at least what it looks like in my community, I don’t need a celebrity politician to blow smoke up my bum.

    Actually watched a movie with the family and had a joyful time.

  10. My husband, oldest daughter and I watched it. I liked some of the comments, especially the fish comment. The president almost sounded Republican last night, with all the talk about cuts in spending. IF he is serious and not just contributing to global warming with the outgassing of his mouth, states and communities might need to start making some serious financial plans that do not involve government handouts. However, based on his pass performance of keeping pledges (“health care reform will be discussed on CSpan,” “I will wait three days to hear from the public before signing any bill,” etc.), nothing will happen.

    I think we should all take the President at his word, however, when he welcomed people who think they had better ideas for health care reform and how to cut government spending. I started writing my letter last night. Maybe you could start a letter writing campaign to the President and have people tell him what part of government is completely uneccessary. I am also including a plug to not just hold government workers salaries, but cut them 10% like my friends and family have had to experience. Lawmakers should also receive a 10% pay cut, maybe more.

    I also am not overwhelmed with his oratory skills, but then again, my opinion is that a great orator is not necessarily an honest orator and I would rather have a plain speaking, honest person, than one who tickles my ears.
    Tandeming Troll recently posted..Dealing with Cultural Irrevelance

  11. I thought I was watching Criminal Minds until 8:55. :)

    The theme was future, and there were far too many “2015” and “25 years from now” cited.

    I don’t think taking money from the oil companies is going to effect gas prices if we were to take it and put a fire under Detroit to actually produce electric cars. The Nissan Leaf has 75K orders they can’t produce. And where do we plug them in at work? “Fix what needs to be fixed!” – Obama

    He talked about High Speed Rail. Please, like Casino Gambling in Massachusetts, we missed the window starting with Regan. It’s an excellent solution the will never get off the ground. it’s more important to pay farmers not to grow crops. Talk about smoked! 😉

    Education is a priority? Right. We keep saying that it has to do with race and income. It has to do with the families or the lack thereof. Even so, we are behind in science because our kids go home to watch MTV, and play video games between 2 and 3 o’clock. And they get Saturdays off. If we are going to compete globally, education will need to involve more effort on the part of students. I taught, I am not sure how the Indian, Chinese, Japanese and EU teachers do the hours, but they do.

    All the talk about tax cuts, and freezes and even jobs is bunch of hogwash. Most of low-level manufacturing and mid-level tech jobs have gone overseas. And the Japanese have kicked Detroit’s rear bumper. None of them asked for a bail out, and they all are still prosperous. If you want jobs in the US, then put a $100 tariff on HDTV’s. I bet the giants of the past like Motorola would see that as an opportunity to compete. How about cutting taxes for corporations that keep jobs here?

    We are relying on China and India as new markets for high-end durable goods. How about requesting something in return?

    Until we get spending under control, little Johnny is not going to win the science fair, and his future will be smoked.

  12. We listened to it over the internet until my computer needed rebooting. I’ll scan the text later today, as usual. Then I can put politics on the back burner and get on with life.

    The first thing that caught our attention–he wants to freeze discretionary spending–AFTER he spent trillions! Guess I’m not very optimistic about the chances of either fiscal restraint or the government solving social problems.

    This all reminds me why I hate politics. Lots of words you can’t trust, self-serving ambition, and a critical lack of public *servants*. (And reading what I just wrote–I feel like a grouchy old person. Yuck.)

    I’m looking forward to the rule of king Jesus!

  13. What a great take. I’m already getting emails and messages, mostly from students expecting me to be a responsible professor of govt. They want to know what I think. Truth is, for the first time I just ignored the whole thing. Wash DC isn’t good for my health anymore. But had I watched it, this post is most likely exactly what I would have thought! I might even have to print this and hand it out tomorrow :-) Funny and inciteful all at once. You are dead on.
    eduClaytion recently posted..Confessions Of A Jeopardy Champion

  14. Yeah… no. I can’t do it.
    There’s something about lies being spewed out of people’s mouths that make me want to throw up. I agree with “frank” Candy up there – I really can’t stomach another mention of “Medicare” either.
    I’m a good citizen, really. I vote and pray and support… I just don’t allow myself to go through unecessary torcher if I can help it. and I can. :)

  15. Every Politician on Capitol Hill should be required to wear a uniform designating their sponsors like NASCAR.

    I love how politicians have words they can all rally against, Like “Earmarks” while the companies that lobby for them are STILL going to get them… It just sounds really good to be against them.

    And i prefer to get my Smoked Salmon from the DEA, if i have the choice.

  16. I did not watch it. I watched my husband eat dinner with me and delight in the dinner I made and the wonderful apple dessert. We watched Cash Cab where you can learn more about the american public than anything the president might have to say. I wanted to enjoy my evening by not having to stare and someone who lies and contradicts and spends our money in abandon. I worked on a christmas tablerunner after the lovely dinner. I did something for someone else rather than taking, taking, taking from them. Just can’t stare at the screen and look at someone who lies for a living.

  17. I missed the speech last night because I went to a presentation about a field trip my son will be attending this summer: Close up: Founding of a Nation, where he will visit Jamestown, Williamsburg, Alexandria, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg and Philadelphia.

    Sort of ironic, huh?
    katdish recently posted..Choosing my own reality

  18. I spent over 20 years in broadcasting dealing with politicians of all stripes. I’ve been in their back rooms discussing the plans they have to manipulate the minds of people. I know big speeches like this are nothing more than a pep rally and attempt to spin their likeability numbers in polls. I don’t waste my time on them anymore regardless of who’s in office.
    Jason recently posted..Day 25- Lay it down

  19. I’ve never understood why the SOTU speeches have to be on all the major networks. It should be on PBS, CNN & MSNBC. And yeah, I’m ticked my Tuesday night lineup got screwed. 😉

    These things haven’t been meaningful for decades. It’s just a bunch of mirrors and smoke being blown up people’s butt to appease their special interests.

  20. I have to say that I place virtually no importance on the SOTU address no matter which party the president belongs to. Anything I need to know will be discussed ad nauseum by all the networks and pundits. To me these speeches have become more about the president trying to raise his popularity rather than truly discuss the state of the union. Example – Appealing to conservatives by talking about freezing spending but still appeasing liberals with talk of “investing” domestically.
    I will wait for Congress to move before I’ll get too worked up. It will all have to start there.

  21. I have been sick with a pretty “good” head cold (meaning, I slept half the day away). I was half asleep/half applying for jobs/half reading for school (trust me on the math, okay!) during the speech, plus my wife and one of our roommates were watching “Greek” on Netflix. Also, as I mentioned in my response to Monday’s post, I do not watch a lot of TV. I used to be an NCIS watcher, but TV is not that exciting to me anymore.

    Also, Obama is cool and all, but there is something about him that really annoys me. Ever since I lived in Illinois and he was just a state senator (I moved away the same year he went to Congress/announced his candidacy for President …), he bugged me. That was before I knew how much I disagree with him on just about everything.

    In other words, I “missed” it, but thanks for the update about the lack of clapping and smoked fish.
    Daniel M. Klem recently posted..I doubt that is true I can’t believe it I SHANT believe it!

  22. Oh, if only Stanley could really be a congressman!
    jay sauser recently posted..…juan pablo…

  23. I watched it online.

    I liked a lot of the things he said, especially all the stuff about the importance of innovation. (I’m just a geek, though.)

    I did find myself thinking “Is the SOTU supposed to be so incredibly optimistic?” Saying that he wants both parties to work together on these issues. I don’t see any of the ideas he put forward passing very easily. Not with such a divided Congress.

  24. I watched mainly because I was waiting for Biggest Loser to come on and did not want to miss any of that, because it is much more inspiring then a SOTU speach. Biggest Loser is about real people digging in with hard work making changes for a better life.
    I think this was the first or second time I have ever listened to the whole SOTU address. I found it rediculous that they forced the parties to sit together mingled, trying to show a cooperation among them. When we know for the most part they don’t, it was all just part of the Obama show. They still applauded for their views. You could still see who was sitting and who was standing.
    Over all the speach was feel-goodism’s and many statements counteracted truth. Nothing done or said last night made me believe our goverment parties can really get along and get things done for the people vs their party lines. I did have a glimmer of hope with the if you have some ideas for the health care please let me/us know. We want this to work, not hurt people and companies.
    I was more excited when it was all over so we could move on to Biggest Loser.

  25. I watched my DVR’d Glee re-run. Yes, a re-run over the SOTU. However, in between Finn and Kurt, etc, I kept up with the SOTU via Twitter. I feel informed enough 😉

  26. I didn’t watch. I knew about it, but really? All I ever hear is “blah blah blah, my popularity is plumeting so I must inspire you somehow, blah blah blah.

    “”I have heard that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law.”

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

    Are you %#&*(@+ kidding me!!!!! That’s like cracking a joke about someone who died at their funeral. Not even funny.

    This is why I don’t watch the blah of the blah blah.

  27. I wonder if he’s going to replace that 2nd grade teacher in Oakland with one of those 100,000.

    I only caught the SOTU as BO was saying, “We put more money in American’s pockets thanks to those tax cuts I signed” because you know, he was always against those and really only signed them because he was forced to – but hey, everyone needs to feel like a hero. Hypocrisy I tell you.

  28. Was watching “The Two Towers” with my kids.

  29. viva la revolution

  30. Didn’t watch it. I’ve been dealing with back to back illnesses and am just starting to feel better. Didn’t want bleeding ears to be added to my list. I find it hard to believe anyone who talks about cutting spending while freely giving away other people’s money. But honestly, I never listen to any SOTUs, regardless of party. Actions speak louder than words.

  31. I didn’t watch it. Politics really wears me out, and I, too, don’t care much at all for high speed trains.

    When Obama said some people are still concerned about healthcare, I hope by “few” he means a few hundred million.
    Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..Treasure

  32. Did not watch it or care to watch it. Why waste all that time listening to complete BS?
    Jason recently posted..Interesting View Of NAFTA

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