It matters not what President Obama will say in his speech tonight. Despite the exit of some old staffers and the entrance of some new ones, he is not changing, and any presidential rhetoric that might imply a softening of left-wing ideology is a smokescreen.
Last year, in anticipation of President Obama's State of the Union address, I wrote an article for American Thinker titled "Guessing What President Obama Might Say in His State of the Union." Knowing then what I know now, I decided that the best thing I could do with an Obama State of the Union speech was to have some fun with it.
So I made up a game for my own entertainment based on a fifties television game show hosted by Groucho Marx called "You Bet Your Life." I picked a "secret word" -- or in my case "secret phrase" -- with the anticipation that should President Obama use it in his State of the Union speech, I would have myself a laugh and imagine a papier-mâché duck dropping on a string from above in front of his startled face. My chosen phrase was "back from the brink," a phrase President Obama had previously used while falsely taking credit for saving the American economy.
President Obama never did say "back from the brink," making last year's State of the Union speech something of a disappointment for me. All I could do was chalk it up to just another time President Obama let me down.
For this year's State of the Union, I am still planning to play "secret word," but I have decided not to limit myself to only one word or phrase. I am going to throw a few out there and hope I have better results than last year.
In order to improve my chances, I have done a lot of thinking. I read the script of last year's State of the Union with the idea that I might get some hints for this year. To my surprise, I found words used by President Obama that could be considered incendiary: "war," "bloody," "kill," "cutting," "deadline," and "torture." These words I removed from my list of possibilities.
I think I would be best off, for my game, if I selected some words that have lately resonated with the media and the often fickle public. I am definitely thinking that his State of the Union speech might turn into a lecture, that President Obama will be calling upon disagreeing Americans to speak with "civility." On the opposite side of the same coin, our president might warn us to stay away from rhetoric that is "vitriolic." So I am going to go with "civility" (a guaranteed winner) and "vitriolic" for my secret words.
President Obama's most successful utterance since taking office was "Gabby opened her eyes." I figure that to use these words so soon again would be over the top even for him. Therefore, I am not going to go with them. Call me a poor loser, but I want to try "back from the brink" one more time. So for the second year in a row, I am going with "back from the brink."
This year's State of the Union might prove to be the most entertaining ever because so much attention has been spent speculating about the seating arrangements for members of Congress. To what extent will they, in the name of bipartisanship, mix? Will mixing change their behavior, and will it be for the better?
When my daughter played high school volleyball, my wife and I sat with the parents of her teammates. I wonder what would happen if parents of competing high school and college athletes all sat together at game time. Somehow, I think it might not be a good idea. It certainly would not be much fun.
Perhaps our elected leaders in Congress will show us the way tonight. I am going to predict no fistfights amongst them at the State of the Union, but only if beer vendors stop sales at the halfway point of President Obama's speech.
I am also predicting that there will be an abundance of State of the Union camera shots of Democrats and Republicans rubbing elbows and snuggling next to each other. For those who are both conservative and squeamish, it might be better not to watch.
Just recently, in a great demonstration of getting along, the two senators from my great State of Illinois, Democrat Dick Durbin and newly elected Republican Mark Kirk, announced that they would be sitting next to one another at the State of the Union.
In my opinion, this symbolic act is not enough to change the tone in Washington and around the country. When deep division separates people, we need more than symbolic gestures -- we need real healing. In the 1958 film The Defiant Ones, a white racist convict (Tony Curtis) and an African-American convict with attitude (Sidney Poitier) make a daring escape shackled to one another. The sharing of chains for the two men becomes their healing experience.
If there is going to be a healing experience in America, I think Democratic and Republican members of Congress should pair up and chain themselves together for at least 24 hours prior to the State of the Union speech. What a great inspiration it would be to the nation to see John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi leading a shackled bipartisan procession into the House Chamber, followed by Harry Reid chained to Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor to Steny Hoyer, Dick Durbin to Mark Kirk, etc. I think it would heal a divided nation much more than just seeing the two parties sitting together. Sad to say, I am going to predict that it will not happen.
In last year's State of the Union, President Obama boasted to Congress and America, "Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will."
Back in the eighties, President Ronald Reagan likened his "veto pen" to a "Dirty Harry" .44 magnum, and warned a tax-raising Congress, "Go ahead -- make my day." mPresident Obama may or may not use the word "veto" again in his State of the Union speech tonight. One thing is sure, though: President Obama will not be using the phrase "Go ahead -- make my day." You see, that phrase is simply too vitriolic.