I was riding the Metro train to work in Washington, D.C., this morning, bleary-eyed and headachy from staying up half the night to cover the State of the Union, when a thought hit me like a football to Marcia Brady's nose: If politics has really devolved into only so much political theater, why don't we treat it that way?
Now, I know that there are plenty of Democrats and Republicans who really want to help with the serious work of the nation: Spurring the economy, supporting families, protecting our security. But these Super Bowl political events, such as the State of the Union address, are really about policy second, putting on a show first.
So I thought, let's go through all the moments of the speech and give out some awards, just like we do for movies.Best Actor:
Senator Bill Frist acting like he wasn't using every moment in front of the camera to campaign for his own presidency.Worst Actress:
Hillary Clinton trying to force a smile after President Bush invoked the name of her husband in a bid for Democratic applause.Best Drama:
Samuel Alito's agonizing struggle over whether or not to clap.Best Direction:
Mindless lockstep of Reds and Blues cheering or grousing on cue.Best Walk-On:
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco...a not so subtle reminder that big problems remain in the Deep South.Worst Walk-Off:
Anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan. She got herself into the chamber, but then got thrown out for revealing her antiwar t-shirt before the president even arrived. Talk about missing your cue.Best Supporting Actress:
Laura Bush. Who can argue?Best Comedy:
Dave Chappelle. No, he wasn't there, but it sure would have been funny.Best Picture:
OK, no kidding here. The family of Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay, who was killed in Iraq, displayed dignity, bravery and respect in a room full of political posturing. By far, their appearance was the most compelling moment of the night.
Anyway, we're cutting tape on this piece now and tonight we'll roll it out: Step aside Oscar, the COOPERS are coming!
What Oscar-style political awards do you think should be handed out and who should win them?