Toward a Less Imperfect Union, Part II

Publish date:

C-SPAN got a presidential plug during the State of the Union Speech Tuesday night. Talking about the need to cut earmarks in half, the president said most were added late at night "when not even C-SPAN is watching."

Maybe it was the Pelosi influence, but the shot of the President with speaker and VP behind him had a definitely more pastel, dare I say feminine, feel, with the VP's purplish tie, Bush's light blue and Pelosi's moss/lime green suit reminding me of those M&M assortments that only come out at Easter.

The President's speech was delivered almost without flub, which was impressive in itself. There seemed even a moment of wry deliberation over something he didn't say that I wish he had.

Talking about the need to wean ourselves from the teat of foreign oil, he talked of new sources of energy, "everything from wood chips," he said, then seemed to pause a beat, smile, and continue, "to grasses to agricultural wastes." A Texan worth the salted rim on his tequila glass would have said from "wood chips to cow chips." 

Speaking of grass, Democratic Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa (who is actually a Chuck rather than a Charlie), who had been shown stone-faced during an earlier reaction shot, beamed, clapped and rose to his feet at the mention of alternative fuels. That is just the kind of neat shot C-SPAN could provide during regular sessions if the Speaker would only let it control some of its own camera positions. But I digress.

The president spoke of "global climate change," though not global warming. He did not mention 9/11 until 9:33, and did not deliver his pivotal war-related line until 9:44, when he said it was "still winthin our power to shape the outcome of teh battle…and turn events twoard victory.

Then came the speech's central phrase: "Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure." It was a good line, delivered well. In fact, it was a good speech delivered well, and primarily for the TV audience since, as George Will pointed out, he wasn't changing any hearts and minds in the chamber.

There were two John Roberts in the chamber, the anchor for CNN and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. CNN's Roberts was a disembodied voice, while USA's Roberts was in occasional reaction shots to the four robed Justices in attendance, who didn't seem to clap or stand, which might be to avoid suggesting any partisanship.

The Webb speech ended a few minutes short of 10:30, allowing CBS and NBC to wrap up quickly and get in a half-hour sitcom apiece, Two and a Half Men and The Office, respectively. Of the broadcast nets, only ABC stayed on that extra half-hour and was rewarded with strong interviews between Gibson and no less than John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If ABC had stayed with coverage throughout the night, as it does for elections, it could have worked in the other 1,497 presidential candidates.

While I'm on the subject of The Office, I noticed there was a lot of blurring of the naughty bits of Indian gods–I didn't know there were any–and the Kama Sutra. It was after 10 p.m., but the show normally airs before that, when the FCC is on the lookout for naughty blue bits I suppose.

By John Eggerton