National Review Online has posted an excellent symposium on the State of the Union speech last night. Contributor Daniel Casse takes a look at the Democratic side of the audience in the House:
Brit Hume reported that the president was interrupted by applause 61 times last night. I prefer to judge a State of the Union by the non-applause, which can only be appreciated on TV. Think of Rep. John Lewis’s refusal to stand up when the president talked about “our love of freedom.” Or Harry Reid’s tactless decision to remain seated during the acknowledgement of Roberts and Alito. Or Charles Rangel’s hand-sitting act when Bush declared that the U.S. will never surrender to evil. Who couldn’t enjoy watching the entire Democratic side of the room lock their keisters in place when the words “Patriot Act” or “tax cuts” were mentioned. Or the sphinx-like stare of some unnamed diplomat in Arab headdress when Bush talked about the “unstable” nations of the Middle East. Then there was the tempest-tossed visage and contorted smile of Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana’s dysfunctional governor, when Bush riffed on Katrina. Hillary Clinton retained her trademark humorlessness when her husband’s name was the punch line of the speech’s one genuine joke. And, of course, there were all those idiotic grimaces on Democratic faces when they applauded the failure to reform Social Security. For all these reasons, the SOU has to be considered a success. Even at his most conciliatory, Bush continues to annoy all the right people.
Among the other observant contributors are Linda Chavez, Mona Charen and Peter Robinson.