What is it with Congress? I’m talking about both houses. And both parties.The President makes a State of the Union address. He speaks a sentence. Applause. Another sentence. More applause. And so on.
Thus the legislators in the nation’s two allegedly most august bodies behave more like trained seals than serious lawmakers. The President cracks open his lips. They applaud. Little wonder that in a 40-or-so-minutes speech it takes about an hour for the President to say his piece.
Oh, and a note for all you Democrats who applauded at various points in the speech: Every applause break you contributed to lengthened the speech time and decreased the likelihood that a certain number of Americans would stay awake to listen to the Democratic rebuttal. Shame on you.
I watched the Trained Seals Show on CNN, where one of the newscasters suggested we watch for the likelihood that one side would applaud certain topics more than the other side.
It was a hypnotic suggestion, almost impossible to avoid once it was made. Too bad. I felt like those mid-20th Century Kremlinologists who once gauged what was going on at the Kremlin by who was standing closest to Stalin during the Soviet May Day parade. Was Pelosi clapping or not clapping? What about the Vice President? What about Ted Kennedy?
And what about sanity?
The awareness of applause watchers undoubtedly forced some of the seals to calculate when they might be caught applauding and when not. For example, I caught Nancy Pelosi clapping for some remark or other about health insurance, even though it should be apparent that the Bush plan would curtail health insurance for many middle class people, increase its costs for others, and as usual give the rich a tax break while the poor get zilch. Maybe she just wanted viewers to know she's pro health insurance.
Oh, and did I hear that W wants to cut out the first $17,000 of income from Social Security tax eligibility to pay for his health proposal? (It’s hard to be sure, because I ended up playing the “Whose Clapping?” game along with everyone else and this broke my concentration.)
But if that’s what W. wants, he means to make a huge, huge cut in contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund, effectively dealing a powerful body blow to Social Security and endangering the retirement of millions of Americans. (Clap Clap, stupid!)
I’ve got a recommendation for all future Congresses at all future State of the Union Addresses.
Sit on your hands. The way you usually do the rest of the year.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Arf Arf! Clap Clap! Congressional trained seals put on the same sorry State of the Union applause show as usual. Disgusting!
Posted by The New York Crank at 2:22 PM