A tale of two SOTU parties

After all, the two parties are leagues apart – 180 degrees, Dem from Rep, right?  So who would expect them to a couple of doors away from each other for the vaunted 2015 State of the Union speech gather-togethers?

Both parties invited me, and both offered festive drinks and pub-fare for the yoicksome 3-plus-hour PM assembly and listen-fest.

But that’s why my resolve to go to both gatherings became not just a good plan I’d devised before I knew the street addresses became irresistible.  One was at 8 East 36th Street, and the other at 16 West.  A single block apart.  Seemed unlikely, but who knows?  Did they plot this? one wondered.

So we went to both venues.  Our face a palimpsest of empty, so as not to give anything away.  How were the different events?  What were the moods?  When would be the applause or boo lines of the regime mouthpiece?

Over the past 6 years (who was in the White House?), viewership of the SOTU on TV has done this:

State of the Union Viewers: 2009  52M

                                             2010  48M

                                             2011  43M

                                             2012  38M

                                             2013  34M

                                             2014  33M

So this year’s results, indicated in miniature by the poor showing in both bars, actually, should come as no huge surprise.  Same guy.  Same yawns.  Same unrealized pie-in-the-sky progressive wishlist.  This year, the flypaper caught a few lucky breaks that are entirely not of Obama’s doing – energy surge and supply, anemic unemployment figures receding as people simply gave up looking and stretched their hands out for the endless skein of Obama-phones and soup-bones.

What surprised me: the Dem bar, “36,” was cavernous, woodsy, atmospheric, but near echoing with the paucity of attendees.  All the TV monitors were tuned to the one-note falsifier no diversity MSNBC.

There were no more than a morose, subdued 20-count stodgily on bar stools, with a few splatters of noise and laughter every few minutes.  Most listened to the defiant president repeat his earlier top ten speeches, his obnoxious itch to veto anything substantive the Republican Congress might try to get past him in immigration, Iran sanctions, or health care abominations.

Applause broke out next to me and here and there over the redundant claim of closing Gitmo, ending “torture,” and not letting voters be sidelined by IDs, presumably.  As one Twitterer noted last I checked: “Denied? Show me one voter who has been denied the right to vote. One.”

The end of the president’s remarks signaled my switch to the Republican hangout a block away.  There, Bret Baier on the TV preceded Sen. Joni Ernst in rebuttal.  The monitors were all tuned to Fox.

Contrastingly, here, the noise level was deafening, and the people – many more pretty women and cooler, hipper guys – had been ingesting adult beverages now for well over an hour.  Both bars had been filled at 7:30 or 8:00, at least an hour before El Jefe began his rerun reel from 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, et cetera.  Much more prominent than terrorism and the failures of diplomacy unhinted at in the speechifying of the Hawaiian alum was his defiant dare on the importance, indeed the perilous edge of very world extinction, was that cheery canard of “climate change.”  His scientists are better than “those other scientists.”  His were smarter than ours.  The urgency of Ebola, yadda yadda.  But primal exigency resides in climate change: “We have experienced the warmest 14 years in history during the first 15 years of this century.”  Twaddle, of course.  There is, according to the meteorologists talking about this, a 38% certainty about whether 2014 was indeed the warmest year recorded.  And 38% isn’t very convincing, even to BHO voters.  But he did not traffic in numbers or specifics.

Though Yemen was all but overtaken during the very week and day, Mr. O never voiced the name Yemen.  As he never said “Islamist terrorism,” you will recall.

To cover his greater agenda to protect and exonerate his peeps, the president mentioned, once, the upsurge of anti-Semitism that is staining Europe and the world.  But went on at greater length about the unfair smearing of peaceful Muslims just because a few (million) bad “extremists” were muddying the world waters.  But “the state of the union is good!” Obama averred.  Who’re ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

There was one moment of vulpine pulled-back curtain: when the president stated that he “wasn’t running for anything again,” in the Washington, D.C. audience of stony-faced military, Supremes, and freshman electeds, there was a swelling of applause and laughter from the conservative half of the audience (80 people stronger than it had been in his first SoTU, and replacing many dozens of no-longer-serving Democrats missing from the ranks).  The president heard the applause and glee greeting this unsurprising admission.  He pulled his lips back in an ugly wolf-grimace and manifested his ill-will, mere seconds after he had feigned interest in accommodating and reaching across, blah blah.

“I know,” he spat out, “because I won both my elections!”  Feral and nasty, ungenteel; the real choom-gang radical laid bare for all to see.  The Democrat bar watching the MSNBC screens erupted in delighted howls of joy – finally!  We can let out our embarrassed suppressed feelings, they shadowed for the nonaligned.  The clapping and laughter, brief but ardent, showed the exhausted vestiges of regard for their once-fair-haired boy – they showed those there conservatives, all right!  No one paid the slightest heed to the massive losses sustained by the Dar el Dems in the midterms, of course.

Senator Joni Ernst spoke well, clearly, easily, and sincerely.  She is a new face.  And an attractive one.  One has to pinch oneself to realize she has been in the military for 20 years, and is still serving in the Guard.  A mother.  An ex-farmer.  The first female corpsman to serve in the Senate.  Her humble beginnings played well (above the noise level), since her record, unlike the current White House occupant’s well-bruited secretive, sealed records of every facet of his mature so-called education and work-life, Ernst’s farming and lower-middle-class anecdotes were a comforting warranty that Ernst spoke from knowledge when she addressed issues of middle-class struggle for most of America.  She is stalwart, bespeaks earthy values, nice to hear after the rhetorician exhorter-in-chief.  She’s easy to listen to and easy to watch.

The boisterous crowd, about 35-40, kept chugging and bonhomie’ing their way until about 11, into the post-talk round-ups on Fox: Bret Baier, Juan Williams’s signature vanilla tepidity, Ted Cruz’s earnest disappointment, Frank Luntz’s always-chewy focus group surprises (not one person in the 50/50 group of voters he had assembled thought that the next two years would accomplish anything at all – and half these people were voters for Obama); the replay of the reaction tapes, green and red, that showed instant reactions by listeners.  Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, a blustery Democrat apologist, and her roster of assessors of both parties.

The departing revelers after 11 made the TVs easier to hear.  Finally.  I forked a baked potato as I sat at the far end of the tavern, jotting notes and recognizing that there had not, after all, been that midstream switch I had been praying for.  Rush Limbaugh had predicted the defiance.  We expected it.  But I expected a wee touch of humility, of which there was none.  No Newt moment, no executive moderation or true “reaching across” that had made the enormous barometric change in the Clinton administration and tenure.

The AP reports that House Speaker John Boehner said, “Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight. While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people’s priorities.”

Like Senator Cruz, I too was disappointed at the opportunity squandered.  I departed the tavern at 11:23 pm.  An icy wind had picked up.  The night was colder and nastier than when I had arrived.

After all, the two parties are leagues apart – 180 degrees, Dem from Rep, right?  So who would expect them to a couple of doors away from each other for the vaunted 2015 State of the Union speech gather-togethers?

Both parties invited me, and both offered festive drinks and pub-fare for the yoicksome 3-plus-hour PM assembly and listen-fest.

But that’s why my resolve to go to both gatherings became not just a good plan I’d devised before I knew the street addresses became irresistible.  One was at 8 East 36th Street, and the other at 16 West.  A single block apart.  Seemed unlikely, but who knows?  Did they plot this? one wondered.

So we went to both venues.  Our face a palimpsest of empty, so as not to give anything away.  How were the different events?  What were the moods?  When would be the applause or boo lines of the regime mouthpiece?

Over the past 6 years (who was in the White House?), viewership of the SOTU on TV has done this:

State of the Union Viewers: 2009  52M

                                             2010  48M

                                             2011  43M

                                             2012  38M

                                             2013  34M

                                             2014  33M

So this year’s results, indicated in miniature by the poor showing in both bars, actually, should come as no huge surprise.  Same guy.  Same yawns.  Same unrealized pie-in-the-sky progressive wishlist.  This year, the flypaper caught a few lucky breaks that are entirely not of Obama’s doing – energy surge and supply, anemic unemployment figures receding as people simply gave up looking and stretched their hands out for the endless skein of Obama-phones and soup-bones.

What surprised me: the Dem bar, “36,” was cavernous, woodsy, atmospheric, but near echoing with the paucity of attendees.  All the TV monitors were tuned to the one-note falsifier no diversity MSNBC.

There were no more than a morose, subdued 20-count stodgily on bar stools, with a few splatters of noise and laughter every few minutes.  Most listened to the defiant president repeat his earlier top ten speeches, his obnoxious itch to veto anything substantive the Republican Congress might try to get past him in immigration, Iran sanctions, or health care abominations.

Applause broke out next to me and here and there over the redundant claim of closing Gitmo, ending “torture,” and not letting voters be sidelined by IDs, presumably.  As one Twitterer noted last I checked: “Denied? Show me one voter who has been denied the right to vote. One.”

The end of the president’s remarks signaled my switch to the Republican hangout a block away.  There, Bret Baier on the TV preceded Sen. Joni Ernst in rebuttal.  The monitors were all tuned to Fox.

Contrastingly, here, the noise level was deafening, and the people – many more pretty women and cooler, hipper guys – had been ingesting adult beverages now for well over an hour.  Both bars had been filled at 7:30 or 8:00, at least an hour before El Jefe began his rerun reel from 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, et cetera.  Much more prominent than terrorism and the failures of diplomacy unhinted at in the speechifying of the Hawaiian alum was his defiant dare on the importance, indeed the perilous edge of very world extinction, was that cheery canard of “climate change.”  His scientists are better than “those other scientists.”  His were smarter than ours.  The urgency of Ebola, yadda yadda.  But primal exigency resides in climate change: “We have experienced the warmest 14 years in history during the first 15 years of this century.”  Twaddle, of course.  There is, according to the meteorologists talking about this, a 38% certainty about whether 2014 was indeed the warmest year recorded.  And 38% isn’t very convincing, even to BHO voters.  But he did not traffic in numbers or specifics.

Though Yemen was all but overtaken during the very week and day, Mr. O never voiced the name Yemen.  As he never said “Islamist terrorism,” you will recall.

To cover his greater agenda to protect and exonerate his peeps, the president mentioned, once, the upsurge of anti-Semitism that is staining Europe and the world.  But went on at greater length about the unfair smearing of peaceful Muslims just because a few (million) bad “extremists” were muddying the world waters.  But “the state of the union is good!” Obama averred.  Who’re ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

There was one moment of vulpine pulled-back curtain: when the president stated that he “wasn’t running for anything again,” in the Washington, D.C. audience of stony-faced military, Supremes, and freshman electeds, there was a swelling of applause and laughter from the conservative half of the audience (80 people stronger than it had been in his first SoTU, and replacing many dozens of no-longer-serving Democrats missing from the ranks).  The president heard the applause and glee greeting this unsurprising admission.  He pulled his lips back in an ugly wolf-grimace and manifested his ill-will, mere seconds after he had feigned interest in accommodating and reaching across, blah blah.

“I know,” he spat out, “because I won both my elections!”  Feral and nasty, ungenteel; the real choom-gang radical laid bare for all to see.  The Democrat bar watching the MSNBC screens erupted in delighted howls of joy – finally!  We can let out our embarrassed suppressed feelings, they shadowed for the nonaligned.  The clapping and laughter, brief but ardent, showed the exhausted vestiges of regard for their once-fair-haired boy – they showed those there conservatives, all right!  No one paid the slightest heed to the massive losses sustained by the Dar el Dems in the midterms, of course.

Senator Joni Ernst spoke well, clearly, easily, and sincerely.  She is a new face.  And an attractive one.  One has to pinch oneself to realize she has been in the military for 20 years, and is still serving in the Guard.  A mother.  An ex-farmer.  The first female corpsman to serve in the Senate.  Her humble beginnings played well (above the noise level), since her record, unlike the current White House occupant’s well-bruited secretive, sealed records of every facet of his mature so-called education and work-life, Ernst’s farming and lower-middle-class anecdotes were a comforting warranty that Ernst spoke from knowledge when she addressed issues of middle-class struggle for most of America.  She is stalwart, bespeaks earthy values, nice to hear after the rhetorician exhorter-in-chief.  She’s easy to listen to and easy to watch.

The boisterous crowd, about 35-40, kept chugging and bonhomie’ing their way until about 11, into the post-talk round-ups on Fox: Bret Baier, Juan Williams’s signature vanilla tepidity, Ted Cruz’s earnest disappointment, Frank Luntz’s always-chewy focus group surprises (not one person in the 50/50 group of voters he had assembled thought that the next two years would accomplish anything at all – and half these people were voters for Obama); the replay of the reaction tapes, green and red, that showed instant reactions by listeners.  Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, a blustery Democrat apologist, and her roster of assessors of both parties.

The departing revelers after 11 made the TVs easier to hear.  Finally.  I forked a baked potato as I sat at the far end of the tavern, jotting notes and recognizing that there had not, after all, been that midstream switch I had been praying for.  Rush Limbaugh had predicted the defiance.  We expected it.  But I expected a wee touch of humility, of which there was none.  No Newt moment, no executive moderation or true “reaching across” that had made the enormous barometric change in the Clinton administration and tenure.

The AP reports that House Speaker John Boehner said, “Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight. While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people’s priorities.”

Like Senator Cruz, I too was disappointed at the opportunity squandered.  I departed the tavern at 11:23 pm.  An icy wind had picked up.  The night was colder and nastier than when I had arrived.