In a few hours, President Barack Obama will speak to a joint session of Congress, and millions of Americans who are wondering why New Girl isn't on.
Nobody will care. Nothing will get done. I'm going to get drunk. Here's how...
Last year, we did a State of the Union drinking game around all of the fun law and policy that was likely to come out of President Obama's speech. It was a more hopeful time, when one could dream about a newly re-elected president pushing through an agenda with a recalcitrant Congress finally willing to act in good faith.
It didn't happen. Edward Snowden had more to do with the executive agenda last year than anything that the President said in the State of the Union.
So this year, my drinking "game" will not be celebratory and hopeful. I'll only be drinking out of respect for the tragic and sad: new laws that will never happen, new policies that are dead on arrival, a Supreme Court that sits stoically as if to ask Obama "how did I beat you?"
Sound like fun? Here are some legal feints to watch out for during tonight's speech. The State of our Union is gridlocked:
- Obama Threatens Congress: The technical term to watch out for is "executive action." When Obama says that, he's talking about laws he can pass without the consent of Congress, under his own Constitutional authority. The problem is that there are very few of these powers, and if it really pisses off Congress, it's going to all end up in a courtroom anyway. Obama threatening executive action is like your kid threatening to paint her own room. She can. But unless you buy her some paint she's just going to end up with Crayola all over her walls.
- The Death of the Fourth Amendment: The Fourth Amendment had a pretty good run. It's given us almost 250 years of protection against unreasonable searches. But nothing lasts forever. Obama will continue his effort to "normalize" invasive NSA data collection meant to keep us safe by obliterating our privacy. Judges will continue to pretend that the founding fathers were totally okay with a system where a central government could read everybody's "diaries" if they contained cursive keywords like "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
- Politicians Measuring The White House For Drapes: You won't be the only one bored during the State of the Union. The media has already moved on to other stories that have nothing to do with anybody passing any laws. "Reaction shots" won't focus on actual policy makers. Instead, you'll get a lot of Rand Paul, and a lot of Marco Rubio. Sure, Republicans in the Democratically controlled Senate have nearly no lawmaking ability anymore... but let's look and see how they're reacting as they prepare for 2016.
- You know who I do want to see though? Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. The man that the Chris Christie administration was trying to screw with the George Washington Bridge closing is going to be at the State of the Union. When you see him, just shout "BRIDGE-GHAZI" and finish your drink.
- Gun Control: Haha.. just kidding. There's not going to be any meaningful talk of reforming our gun laws. He tried that last time and it went NOWHERE. Oh it's funny because more people will DIE while our elected leaders cower in fear from a lobbying group.
- Minimum Wage: Raising the federal minimum wage is one of the only laws Obama will talk about that has a chance in hell of passing. I mean, it's a really small chance. House Speaker John Boehner has already been seen bitching about Obama's executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors. But whether or not it this passes, there is something delightful about rich and powerful people debating whether or not the Congressional fry cook gets to make $10.10 an hour, or must needs be paid $7.25 an hour for the good of the economy.