Okay...for the "uninitiated" SOTU stands for State of the Union, which, of course is the title of the address that the President of the United States is required by The Constitution to deliver annaully to Congress. Strangely enough, The Constitution doesn't require that the State of the Union Message has to be a speech or delivered in person. Indeed, some Presidents simply sent a written message to Congress rather than appear personally before them but modern practice has been to make it a media event for the incumbent President to out outline his legislative agenda to the public and also use the support of his political party to demonstrate support to that agenda.
That's the way it traditionally works.....
But tonight is going to be a bit different.
Tonight, for the first time in his six years of office, George W. Bush will walk into a chamber that he does not control. His party has been soundly defeated in the midterm elections and as Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post put it:
After six years of striding onto the House floor like a conqueror, President Bush will arrive for Tuesday night's State of the Union Speech deeply unpopular and politically crippled.and (snip):The pomp of the State of the Union address and the deference given to Bush's office will prevent the night from turning into an outright rout.But as a defensive measure, White House speechwriters are said to have crafted a speech that avoids the traditional laundry list of proposals and applause lines that would almost surely have fallen flat -- or even led to boos and groans -- given Bush's new circumstances.
Actually , I don't expect to see a "chastened" George W. Bush address Congress tonight.
Nope, I don't expect that at all. It's not George W. Bush's style.
I have to agree with the unnamed blogger who once characterized Bush's political tactics to those of a bar-room drunk who, challenges everybody in the bar to a fight and then, after he gets knocked to the floor, gets us and asks the person who just cleaned his clock, "Had Enough? Want Some More?" And that's what I expect to see tonight.
(prognostication is always dangerous, but what-the-hell, you only go 'round once, eh?)
I totally expect Bush to come out swinging tonight. I expect he will attempt to justify the "surge" (escalation) once again, and try to a political/foreign pollicy "twofer" by blaming all the trouble in Iraq on Iran.
Glenn Greenwald over at Unclaimed Territory also expects something different, but is nonetheless concerned that villanization of Iran is a top proirity of the Bush Administration. He optomistically believes the National Media will apply more critiacal analysis to any claimes against Iran than they did against claims about Iraq. (There is also a very disturbing development in his update..may be worth an entire blog entry later today)
I am told by "experts" who have been briefed that Dubya will dedicate most of his speech to domestic issues and the early leaks indicate that he will come up with another off-the-wall health care proposal that will tax "expensive" health care programs. Here's a laundry list of his proposals on the "domestic" side.
Watch Nancy Pelosi tonight. She is going to be literally looking over Bush's shoulder. Historic Actually, first time EVER...the Doorman of the House of Representatives will announce (loudly)" MADAM SPEAKERRRRRRRRR! The President of the United States!"
Watch/listen to see if Bush does another "shout-out" to Lieberman. He seems quite fond of doing that. (Idoubt if he'll give another kiss although some have "recommended" itsnark, snark, snark)
Tune in tomorrow and see how many of these I got right. Comment....complain...chastise...whatever......