It will begin thusly:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Before I begin, if I may, a request.
I know it's traditional for the entire chamber to break into applause, and in some cases standing ovations, after every mention of a stirring political success or groundbreaking policy proposal. I can only hope that some of you will flatter me tonight by wanting to do the same. However, I would respectfully ask that you hold all applause until the end of the speech. If we do that, then we can all get home to our families sooner, the people watching at home can get back to watching their shows, and everyone's a happy American camper.
Now then. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Herseth, First Lady Theuriau, members of Congress, distinguished guests, particularly the 2034 national-champion Georgia Bulldogs up there in the gallery, and fellow citizens:
As for the actual State of the Union last night? Read it, didn't watch it (because I can read fast and don't have to stop for 30 seconds on every "Applause" line). And honestly, there was some good stuff in it. Tax deductions for health insurance? Sure. Energy independence? Yes please. Immigration reform? Yeah, probably gonna need that too. There's just one problem: For Bush, the State of the Union has turned into a repository of grand ideas he can truck out just long enough to give lip service on one of politics' biggest stages and then push down the memory hole like a child trying to "clean his room" by cramming everything into the closet and hoping it holds. Remember hydrogen-powered cars? Remember Mars, Bitches? Bush probably doesn't, and given that he's only got two lame-duck years left in his presidency, I doubt he's going to remember any of the things he said in this speech, either.
Of course, the difference between Bush's last five speeches and this one is that now he's actually got an opposition Congress who can hold him to these promises instead of chucking them aside to focus on gay married fetus burning or whatever Donald Wildmon happens to be raving about. But it's incumbent upon that Democratic Congress (and yes, folks, it is a Democratic Congress, not a Democrat Congress; Democrat is a noun, while Democratic is an adjective) to not wait for Bush to actually make any movement on these pseudo-promises. You want to, say, expand the use of hybrids and biodiesel fuel? Or balance the budget? Take the initiative and do it yourselves -- propose something and then force Bush to make good on what he said he wanted to do. If all you have the stones to do is wait for Bush to make the first move, you better bring a book, and it should probably be a nice long one, like Infinite Jest or Gravity's Rainbow.
Seriously, with Bush's approval ratings scraping Nixonian levels and most of the rest of the Republican Party turning on itself like the two-headed snake from the Ripley's Belive It Or Not! Museum, this is a chance to re-establish the Democratic Party as the party that's actually good at governing, the party that knows what they're doing, the party so well-run and in-control that it can clean up the manifold messes left by a group that controlled all three branches of government for six years yet left a legacy of nothing more than a shittily-run war and several failed stabs at a gay-marriage amendment. It's your show, guys, and if you can't come up with anything better to do for the next two years than whine about an obstructionist minority -- i.e., all the previous three Congresses did -- I'm going to be very disappointed.
Fortunately, I have reason to hope that they won't do that. So far, Nancy Pelosi has been a more effective speaker than anybody was willing to give her credit for back in November. Jim Webb gave the kind of Democratic response to the SOTU that indicated more courage and resolve than we're used to seeing from the Democrats (or even the Republicans, lately). Keep this going, guys. As advice columnists the world over have said, confidence is sexy, and if you really think you can do a better job of running the country, the first step is to act like it.