State of the Union- Advice for the Rebuttal Guy

PicEvery year it is always the same with me – I’m not going to watch the President, whoever it is – give this speech. And what do I do? I watch, of course. I’m just a news/political junkie who needs his fix. But I have a lot of problems with the State of the Union. For me, it’s nothing but theatre. The President says a lot of things (did Obama miss a subject aside from the deficit?) in grandiose, uplifting tones. The audience, or at least the part that belongs to the same party as the President, applauds, sometimes yells and stands/sits about a thousand times. It is pure political theatre.

About halfway through I start wondering what the rebuttal guy is going to say. And they never fail to disappoint. They always disappoint. In this case it was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. His comments were pretty obvious and when combined with a dull and lackluster presentation, was instantly forgettable. Granted, Daniels had some serious disadvantages. To begin with there aren’t throngs of people in the audience, in fact, there is no audience. The speech is given in a TV studio. Boring. So it got me thinking…

If I was advising the next rebuttal guy, whether Democrat or Republican, my first suggestion would be to find a suitable venue and fill it with people who support your party. Can you imagine if the next rebuttal is given in the LA Coliseum or Yankee Stadium? Have some mainstream rock entertainment to start things off, someone safe like Kelly Clarkson or Michael Buble (OK, he is Canadian but show your international side). Have loudspeakers all over the place and cue the audience to cheer, scream, stand/sit at the appropriate times. Then close with more music guaranteed to put the audience to a good night’s sleep—Kenny G, perhaps?

Now that’s a rebuttal evening that will definitely outdraw the actual State of the Union. Like I said, it’s all theatre, anyway.