Monday, January 28, 2008

On the third annual State of the Union Pledge Extravaganza and Chili Cook-Off

Okay, so tonight's State of the Union address should be a big one, because it's the last one that President Bush will ever make.

(Pause to wait for applause to die down.)

As in past years, I'm putting together my State of the Union Drinking and Donation Game but, truth told, it's kind of a challenge this year, because Bush didn't really do all that much last year and doesn't have a whole lot going for him this year. In past SOTUs, we've had bold statements on Social Security, human-animal hybrids, immigration, the war in Iraq, war in Iran, and deficit reduction. Now, Bush is coming into his lame duck year and has spent the last six months at least without enough personal or political pull or credibility to really throw his name behind so much as a K-Mart ribbon cutting. Despite past protestations by Tony Snow that Bush would never "cease to be bold" despite plummeting poll numbers, this year's SOTU is likely to be more covers, remixes, and old standards than new material.

I'll start by flat-out pledging an additional $20 for either of the following statements: "I know we all have places we'd rather be tonight, so I'd appreciate it if you'd hold your applause until the end of the address" and "The Democrats choose to forgo their traditional response in favor of this performance by U2, live from Washington, aired without commercial interruption."

Per traditional rules, $1 will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a really fantastic organization that gives aid in a variety of forms to seriously injured servicemembers and their families, for every occurrence of the following:

- "bipartisan"
- "nucular"
- "terrorists"
- "freedom" ($5 if it's used as a plural)
- "surveillance" or "interrogation" ($5 if he actually says the word "waterboarding")
- "Iran"
- "recession" ($5 if he uses "deficit" in the same sentence)
- "economic stimulus" ($5 if he refers to Ronald Reagan in this context)
- 25 cents every time he pauses for applause, 50 cents per standing ovation

As an added bonus, $2 will be donated each time one of these classics is dredged up:

- "stay the course"
- "surge"
- "benchmark"
- "hard work"
- "they hate our freedoms"

And a whopping $10 if he says, at any point, in any context, "Osama bin Laden."

As always, you're invited to watch along with me and help keep count; as always, if you choose to use the SOTU for drinking games and not donations, be sure to have a designated driver, a trash can, and an ambulance on speed dial handy. Watch this space for commentary, final numbers, and the big take for the Wounded Warrior Project (to date: $200.75). Vaya con Dios.

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