President Bush Remains Mute Throughout 2008 State of the Union Address
Washington, D.C., January 28, 2008 -- In a development that some pundits are already terming “unprecedented”, President George W. Bush, who was scheduled to deliver his final State of the Union address tonight, remained silent throughout the entire proceeding.
“I think that's more or less unprecedented, don't you think, Lou?” Wolf Blitzer, host of CNN's Situation Room, said to CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight anchor Lou Dobbs after President Bush had been standing silently at the podium for over 10 minutes.
“I'd say it was unprecedented, Wolf,” Mr. Dobbs replied. “I don't recall any precedent for it, that I can recall.”
Mr. Blitzer enthusiastically concurred.
According to several political analysts and numerous members of the public who had tuned in to the State of the Union address in order to participate in the popular State of the Union drinking game, President Bush began the speech more or less as one might expect, albeit slightly unconventionally.
“He started off kind of informally,” Chet Trouty, a sophomore at American University in Washington, DC, who had been looking forward to the State of the Union drinking game for several days, said, “with something like 'howdy Congress, aloha American people, etcetera etcetera'. But then he kind of looked around the room, then he looked at the teleprompter, then his shoulders sort of sagged. I ended the evening stone cold sober.”
“You know, I don't really feel much like saying anything tonight,” President Bush reportedly said. He then turned to Vice President Cheney and asked, “Do you have anything you want to say, Dick?” Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly coughed and looked away, which President Bush apparently interpreted as implying that Mr. Cheney did not have anything much he wanted to say, either.
“It's very peculiar,” Jeremy Brigham, a political scientist at the Brookings Institution, said. “I mean, one normally expects a president not to say anything during a State of the Union address, and also not to really mean anything that they are saying. But when they're not saying anything, they're usually at least reading the words on the teleprompter and saying them, if you know what I mean. But to actually not say anything while you're not saying anything is, I think, a first.”
Analysts had originally predicted President Bush would pay lip service to such themes as the economy, terrorism, the war in Iraq, energy, the economic stimulus package, unemployment, gay marriage, space exploration, and so on, with the year's “wild card” theme open to widespread debate.
“Human-animal hybrids and steroid use in major league baseball, two recent entries, kind of threw us all for a loop,” Kyle Pinochle, a pundit with The American Political Sniffer, said. “At this point we didn't have any idea what to expect for the wild card. My money was on deregulation of the pasties industry, which was Cheney's pick. You know, like strippers use. 'Nothing at all', though, wasn't on anyone's radar.”
Sigrid Johansson, a Minnesota resident who is hearing-impaired, said, “The sign language translator signed a few times in her little inset bubble, as usual, but then her arms just kind of fell limply to her side. After a while, she sort of dozed off. It was weird.”
After roughly 45 minutes of silence, President Bush concluded the 2008 State of the Union address, his final major message to the American people, by turning to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and whispering “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” He then abruptly turned from the podium and exited the room. He did not return, and his location remains unknown.
“It's certainly an unexpected way for President Bush to try to put a final veneer on his questionable legacy,” Mr. Pinochle said. “And yet, in a way, strangely appropriate.”
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
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