A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Drink, Drink, Drink

President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address may have seem lackluster at first glance; much of it was the same old routine of reviving liberal ideas, like raising the minimum wage and investing money in education. The reaction from the opposition was also the same old, same old. Stand and applaud the President when he extols general platitudes about patriotism and democracy, then sit on your hands when he offers details about how we can advance the world’s greatest democracy.

Fortunately this time around, the President was able to speak his mind without interruptions. During one previous address, a Republican Congressman shouted out You Lie! while the President spoke; another time, Chief Justice Roberts could be seen shaking his head and muttering a barely audible objection. This time, I expected Congressional guest and gun advocate Ted Nugent to open up his right wing yap and begin shouting obscenities from the visitor’s gallery. The speech would have had to cease until Capital Police escorted/dragged Nugent kicking and screaming from the premises.

Now that would have made this a more memorable State of the Union. Instead, the opposition upstaged the President with nothing more than a stage prop: a bottle of water.

Prior to the event, commentators on MSNBC’s Morning Joe decried the idea that the Republican Party would have not one, but two rebuttals to Obama’s speech. The arrangement emphasizes the schism/chasm/crevasse within the Republican Party these days. Rand Paul was scheduled to give a rebuttal from the extreme Tea Party wing of the GOP; I have not heard one word about his response. On the other hand, there have been plenty of analyses about the mainstream Republican response from Senator Marco Rubio. His speech itself was in many ways a same old/same old rehash attacking the President’s policies, but it became noteworthy because he did something no other politician has ever done in a public forum: he took a break.

Rubio has demonstrated that he is an intelligent and charismatic force within the Republican Party. He should not need props (like, say, an empty chair, Mr. Eastwood) to make his point. Thus it was noteworthy when he stopped suddenly to take a swig of water from a Poland Springs ® water bottle. Really, Mr. Rubio, product placement in a nationally televised speech? Did you have to go there?

Here you are, the eyes of the world are upon you, you’re making what you believe are good points against government regulation of global warming - which many  people argue brought on such phenomena as more intense hurricanes, hotter average temperatures, and more droughts — and you have to drink a glass of water because you are parched. This sort of defeats your global warning argument. Don’t you hate when that happens?

So, what else did Rubio have to say? Um…don’t know, don’t care, and don’t care enough to replay the YouTube video to find out. In any event, whatever he said could not have been so important that he needed to take a moment to swallow some H2O. His drink distracted from his message. Rubio managed to upstage himself, if such a thing is even possible.

Taking five during a major address has not happened in recorded history. It’s not like someone never did it before; it’s something that just isn’t done, PERIOD. We can imagine how history would have been different if Lincoln had paused in the middle of the Gettysburg Address and announced to the crowd, “Please excuse me for a moment. I’m over 50 now and I have an urge to use the Necessary.” Or what if, after FDR intoned those immortal words “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” proclaimed, “Smoke if you got ‘em!” Or in our immediate future the President himself might pause in the middle of another polemic against gun violence and say, “You know, I’ve got this incredible craving to do some skeet shooting now. If you’ll excuse me…” Water/coffee/cigarette breaks ruin the rhythm of the verbal communication moment. Written communication is another matter entirely. I can take a break from writing this entry and you, the reader, would never know it. 

So, I’ll confess here: I did take a break a few paragraphs back. I saved what I had written up to the end of paragraph six, took a shower, went to work for eight hours, came home, ate dinner, wrote a little more, went to bed for a few hours and started writing again…and I’ll bet you didn’t even miss me! Ah, the beauty of blog writing!

Rubio, on the other hand, has contributed another memorable moment to American political history. It would not surprise me in the weeks ahead if some enterprising political wonk turns this into a drinking game. See Marco Rubio on television, take a drink! Hear the words global warming, take another drink! Hear the word sequester anywhere on television, radio, or even live in polite conversation…and chug the whole damn bottle!

There may be some very dry economic times ahead for all of us if the sequester cuts are allowed to happen. We might as well hydrate ourselves while we can…

(Thank you for reading. “Drink, drink, let the toast start/May young hearts never part…” – Sigmund Romberg, The Student Prince.)


Anonymous Janey said...

Has any irrefutable evidence been provided that Rubio's bottle actually contained water? Might it have been Bombay gin, know for its thirst-quenching properties? And if Rubio was indeed swilling Bombay in front of a live international audience, might I suggest he add a twist of refreshing lime?

February 16, 2013 at 11:36 AM  

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