Presidential advisers have hinted at what to expect from tonight's big presidential address to Congress: "new initiatives in manufacturing, infrastructure, education and clean energy" and perhaps even "a surprise or two along the way." It'll be big! It'll be new! It'll be surprising!
Actually, given Obama's history of banal greenjobsenergy- education infrastructure- makingstuff SOTU boosterism, it'll probably be none of the above.
Another non-surprise is what we're virtually certain not to hear: a big new plan to reduce the $16.4 trillion federal debt — roughly $5.8 trillion of which arrived between Obama's first big address to the joint Congress (technically not a SOTU!) and this one.
Yet while the state of the union may be sobering, the good news is that you don't have to be.
As President Obama drones on in his State of the Union address tonight, follow along with Reason's 2013 SOTU drinking guide. Take a drink, and click a link, if the president…
- Portrays something as a "false choice."
- Makes reference to "common sense" solutions (extra drink if they aren't common sense).
- Claims that ObamaCare is bringing down the cost of health care.
- Brags that he's already cut the deficit. Drink once for "by more than a trillion dollars." Twice if it's more than two trillion.
- Argues against spending cuts.
- Mentions tax breaks for companies who provide jobs right here in the U.S.A.
- Brings up the moon. Drink twice if he wants us to go there.
- Says the words "nation building at home."
- Starts a new speech passage with the words: "So did you hear I've got a kill list?"
- Calls on America's pop stars to start a new dance craze called the "disposition matrix."
- Waves, winks, says "hi!", or briefly hums a few bars of "Cat Scratch Fever" to Ted Nugent. He'll be there!
Finally, drink any time you hear something heartwarming and vague. Use your own discretion here, but I'm thinking of bits like this one from last year's speech, in which Obama mentions his grandparents:
"They understood they were part of something larger, that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share: the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement. The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive."
That's a lesson for all of us. So as you watch tonight's speech, think back to last year's remarks, and understand that you're part of something larger, that you're contributing to a story of inebriation that every American can share: the basic American promise that if you drink hard, you can laugh a little, roll your eyes, and get through the speech. It's the defining issue of our evening.