Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union Observations

"Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." ~ Ambrose Bierce

I suppose I should comment on President Bush's State of the Union address last night since that is the prevailing story of the day, although I didn't see much in it that was remarkable or unexpected.

Using computer terms, (or "Geek speak" as an instructor of mine used to say) one could have pretty much copied and pasted almost any one of his speeches from the previous four years into the same window, and the results would have been much the same.

I did watch the speech with interest, however, because I had heard that Cindy Sheehan had been given a pass to sit in the gallery. I was absolutely positive that she would attempt a dispruption.

My feeling about that beforehand, was that if she did what I would expect her to do, it would become something of a lose/lose situation for the President, and I wondered how he would handle that. I expected her to stand up and start shouting at the President at the precise moment when he introduced the family of a fallen soldier. And yes, I expected him to make such an introduction, which he did.

It was only afterwards that I dicovered why she didn't disrupt the speech.

She had been arrested and removed before the speech started. Not because she was being disruptful, but because Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Whatever. Simply wearing a T-shirt, with a message or not, during such an important event is a breech of decorum and protocol anyway. Wearing the anti-war message on it was the violation, though. It's only a misdemeanor, but it solved the problem without too much attention being focused on her.

Actually, that was the only scenario I hadn't envisioned. I expected a visible confrontation of some type right smack dab in the middle of the speech, and I wondered how it would be handled. If the President responded to her outburst, he would have lost, in the eyes of the majority of the press, and if he had allowed security to escort her out, he would have also lost. I didn't see a favorable outcome either way. As I said, a lose/lose situation. So I am glad it happened the way it did.

No doubt the Liberals will call what security did gestapo tactics and blame the whole thing on Bush anyway.

One other thing, which I thought was deplorable, but not altogether unexpected, was the shameful exhibition of several members of the Democrats when Bush made his statement concerning how the Congress blocked his proposals on social security reform.

The camera put Hillary Rodham in center frame as she literally bounced out of her seat with the most gleeful expression I'd ever seen on her face. She actually isn't bad looking when she isn't scowling. She should laugh more often. It can be a catharsis. Nevertheless, I considered that to be a shameful display of disrespect for the office of the President. She wasn't the only Democrat to do that, but as I said, she was center frame, so it was impossible to miss.

What happened to respect for the office of President, regardless of who holds the office?

I don't recall Republicans behaving like that when Clinton was President. And before any of you Democrats jump on me about that, I said, "I don't recall", I didn't say it didn't happen. If it did, it would have been every bit as shameful as last nights display from the Democrats.

Other than that, the image of Democrats sitting on their hands while Republicans were engaged in standing ovations was expected, so that is an issue with which I have no problem.

By the way, I was able to get my son to watch the speech by predicting to him how the different sides of the aisle would behave. He watched it just to see that.

Little victories, eh?


Anonymous said...


Sheila said...

I hated what Sheehan did. It was just stupid. Sitting there through the speech with respect would have made more an impact.

I loved the show of humor by the Dems. Don't think its the first time in the history of a SOTU that this has happened. Through out history, this has happened. So traditions are good.

Mark said...

I don't find it humorous. I am saddened to see such a juvenile display of disrespect for the office of the President. It is deplorable enough that they have such disrespect for Bush, but they have disrespected the office, which is inappropriate for elected representatives of our government.

If President Clinton had said, in the SOU address, "I lied to a grand jury." I wouldn't have lept to my feet and applauded. I might have shook my head in sadness that he disrespected his own office, but I wouldn't have cheered.

Mark said...

And by the way, while I was typing that last comment, Laura Ingraham was saying the same thing I did.

Sophomoric and juvenile behaviour. Deplorable.

Sheila said...

But well documented in History My Dear. Wasn't the first and won't be the last.

That's how our country's government has pushed forward. You don't really think everyone who is great in our governments history books were respectfull when they didn't agree. That's our unique ability to protest. Republicans and Democrats and Indepedents alike have protested in the same way from birth. God Bless America and thank goodness this is happening now.

Pure education for our generation of Baby Boomers who were too comfortable and didn't care to watch real democracy in action until now. God Bless Education.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

In many instances, I'd say we are probably more civilized in civil discourse today than we were back when.

Sheila, I left a comment for you in Mark's previous post.

MadMustard said...

Mark and Sheila, I found it ironic the story of Cindy Sheehan’s arrest for protesting occurred on the very same day that Coretta Scott King died. Coretta and her husband exemplified the best example of peaceful and constructive protest with grace and style under the very worst of conditions.

It is impossible to visualize Coretta Scott King wearing a tee shirt and disrupting a SOTU speech. It was the style of their protest that made their cause resonate with the American people. The Kings knew that the cause was the central issue that would galvanize public attention, not theatrics.

I believe that Sheehan has a legitimate cause but has become a caricature that undermines her own credibility with the people she hopes to persuade. She would have had impact if she had sat quietly and respectfully under the gaze of the hungry TV cameras. She could have moved the emotions of many Americans by being on screen as the President spoke about Iraq. It was a lost opportunity for her.

Pamela Reece said...

Mark, seems you and I had the same observations. I wasn't really all that surprised Sheehan was in the gallery. I was fairly certain she'd find some way to gain enterance but was also sure she'd get booted. I'm just glad she was thrown out before she made an attempt to make an ass out herself and dispresect our President. She is a threat to the Commander in Chief and has publicly said as much so I'm sure security had their eyes on her. Overall, it was a good speech.

Erudite Redneck said...

What we need in Congress is a few good canings, maybe a duel out on the Capitol lawn, to put the current state of affairs in perspective.

Between Clinton and Bush Jr., both have brought the presidency down several notches. Brought it down to size.

Erudite Redneck said...

Ha! This is what I call bipartisan:

Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops - Defending Our Freedom."

She was sitting about six rows from Laura Bush and (was) asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.

"They said I was protesting," she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I said, "Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, "We consider that a protest.' I said, "Then you are an idiot."'

They told her she was being treated the same as Sheehan, a protester ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan.

Mark said...

As I said earlier, if Sheehan had jumped up and shouted it would have created a lose/lose situation for the President, so removing her before she got the chance was a good move.

And I'll bet the removal of a Republican by using the same reason was a calculated move to head off the inevitable "Gestapo style tactics" criticisms by the left, also.

At any rate, wearing a T-shirt of any kind in formal proceedings is, I believe, a breech of protocol and decorum, as I mentioned.

Make a note of when I typed this, because I just heard on a radio program that the left is already making accusations of "Getapo tactics", after I predicted they would come.

Erudite Redneck said...

Why, yer a prophet, Mark.

KEvron said...

i love cindy sheehan for her efforts to secure the freedom of expression for all of us. the chimp loathes dissent (he more or less denounced it in his first ten minutes), yet dissent is the most american of political traditions.


Goat said...

Simply it is against the rules to stage a protest in the House, a republican's wife was also asked to leave for wearing a support the troops teeshirt. Sheehan was causing a disturbance before the speech even began and failed to cooperate with police so she was removed. Wearing a teeshirt to such a formal event is in itself rather dispicable. What ever happened to formal attire? It also demonstrated the loony left's complete lack of civic knowledge with their calls for noisemakers to drown out the speech. Did they think it was a public outdoor event? I guess they were unaware it is semi-private, indoors on the House floor with very ample security since our entire gov't is in one big room at one time. They are just "Stuck on Stupid".

Son of Lilith said...

Neither Sheehan nor the pro-war woman should have been removed. If the biggest threat posed was someone excercising their civil right of free speech, then I'd say the whole thing went off without a hitch. And it wouldn't surprise me if the pro-war tee-shirt wearer was kicked out just because the people in charge wanted to appear fair; if Sheehan hadn't have been kicked out then I'm sure nothing would've been said.

Protocol and decorum I've never been a fan of, especially when our President can't even follow the rules of the English language.

The Republicans not showing disresepct to Clinton? I'd say smearing a man's personal details, humiliating his family, and forcing him into a corner where he committed perjury to (understandably) try and save face is pretty disrepectful myself. Kind of makes us liberals making fun of the "Girls Gone Wild" Bush twins tame if you ask me.

Goat said...

It is against the rules of the House to stage a demonstration, while in session and they were both asked to leave under those rules, one complied, one refused and was arrested. They were removed by the House police. Please read up on civics a little, Mr Robbins and other Mama Moonbat supporters.
You have the right to free speech, not the right to be heard at the expense of other's free speech.

Mark said...

Brandon, I believe you are right about them asking the other woman to leave just to appear fair.

But I also believe that removing Ms. Sheehan was to prevent her from jumping up and shouting during the speech.

As I said, if that had happened, it would have placed Bush in an awkward situation in which there would be no way he could win, in the eyes of the press.

And Clinton would have never gotten in trouble if he had restrained his base desires in the first place. A man who can't control his own sexual instincts shouldn't be in a position of power.

And attacking him about a few mis pronounciations is a low blow, and unbecoming of you, Brandon. Everyone makes mistakes, or do we have to go over the many misstatements of Liberal hero Ted Kennedy? Does "Alioto" ring a bell?

Goat said...

Mark you forgot "Usama Obama" when Kennedy was referring to Barack Obama. Mama Moonbat could have come elegantly dressed , kept her mouth shut prior to the speech and caused a scene in the middle of it causing a much larger stir, now she just appears as an out of control hippy that can't control herself which of course she is.

Mike's America said...

Democrats cheering the obstruction that would save their beloved Socialist Security payoff program was a new low. Have to keep the tape of that one for a decade or so and use it in campaign commercials (that is if there are any Democrats left by then).

I thought the speech was great and Bush looked relaxed and in command.

Some of the language was a bit more blunt that the usual bland address and that too was a welcome change.

The whole show makes me miss the good ole days when I lived just blocks from the Capitol.

Goat said...

Courtesy of Michelle Malkin and a reader:

Sec. 5104. Unlawful activities

(2) Violent entry and disorderly conduct. - An individual or group of individuals may not willfully and knowingly -

(C) with the intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business, enter or remain in a room in any of the Capitol Buildings set aside or designated for the use of either House of Congress or a Member, committee, officer, or employee of Congress or either House of Congress;

(D) utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either House of Congress, or the orderly conduct in that building of a hearing before, or any deliberations of, a committee of Congress or either House of Congress;

(G) parade, demonstrate, or picket in any of the Capitol Buildings.

Source url:

Note also, that displays are covered in some more detail with this language later:

(2) display in the Grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement.

Goat said...

Eat that lefties

KEvron said...

"Eat that lefties"

remember me when you eat....


Mark said...

Capitol police have dropped charges and apologized to Cindy Sheehan. Thay said it was a mistake. I am thinking the chief of police in DC is a Democrat.

KEvron said...

"I am thinking the chief of police in DC is a Democrat."

lol! clutch at straws much?!


Mark said...

Grasping at straws, searching for an explanation. Much the same.

KEvron said...

hey, mark? you think a trial is going to hurt her? a public trial?


Mark said...

Goat, no, I didn't forget Usama Obama or whatever. I said he made many misstatements. I needed no more than one example.

Kevron. (sigh) Please. Just go away.

KEvron said...

"Kevron. (sigh) Please. Just go away."

why? is "pointing out the obvious" the last thing you want on your blog?

Son of Lilith said...

Okay, so it's against the rules. I don't like the rules. I think they should be changed. What better place to stage a protest, so long as it's peaceful?

And Mark, I hold the rules of the English language to a far, FAR higher degree than appropriate dress. The language is how one communicates ideas and clarifies their points. A single word, mispronounced or not, can change the meaning of an entire speech .

So no, I don't view it as a low blow. Any good leader should have impeccable speaking skills. Words inspire, convey, and hold far more power than any military or politican. They can ruin a person, an institution, a nation.

Clothes, on the other hand, are silly cover-ups for people who lack other social skills, so they dress nice to make themselves feel like they are professional and articulate and what-not.

KEvron said...

" long as it's peaceful?"

what are you?! a golldamned commie?! take your peaceful protests and your devotion to freedom back to stalingrad, comrade.