So you’ve decided to watch the State of the Union.
More than 18 months of primary and general election shenanigans were just the appetizer, as President Obama acknowledged by cooking up an Inauguration Day feast that screamed for still more courses, more rhetorical treats. Right on cue, it’s State of the Union Day. And here you are. Love it, hate it, whatever, you cannot help but crave more of it. One subtweet of your political bête noir is too many. A thousand? Never enough. Much like that other gauzy pastime.
Here then are the guidelines for your 2013 #SOTU Drinking* Game.
(*Note-Disclaimer: Better off not attempting any of the things listed below, as it is not, in fact, the guideline to any sort of game. But do keep on reading!)
1. “The state of our union is strong-getting stronger.”
Don’t drink. Or do, but don’t pretend you’re doing so in the context of playing this game. Lush.
2. In the 10 to 15 sentences after President Obama’s declaration of the Union’s strength, how many examples does he give to directly contradict this point?
One hearty gulp of foreign brew per. Maybe an English bitter? Anything, really, with the whiff of “declining empire.”
3. First tweet (if you are in the company of other sentient beings — the cat does not count — a “comment” can be substituted) about Vice President Joe Biden’s facial expressions AND/OR House Speaker John Boehner’s skin tone AND/OR suggestion that one or both is under the influence of something, legal or not:
Dampen your tumbler with something dark. No ice. Have a taste. Light a cigarette. Ash it in your lap. Back to watching.
4. President Obama touts economic recovery but hastens to add that there “still more work to do.”
Check bank account. Is a third party (not your parents or you via the unemployment office) making consistent deposits? Either way, you’ve come this far. Step out to the corner store and procure yourself a 6-to-12 pack of lager beer. It’s good value and patriotic.
5. Subtract number of times the pool camera cuts to Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio from the number of minutes President Obama spends speaking about immigration reform.
Do the math, then drink that number of glasses of Champagne. This will likely result in your not drinking much Champagne. All the better, really; don’t you want to be sober for the opening salvos of the 2016 Republican Primary showdown between Rubio (“GOP Rebuttal”) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (“Tea Party Response”)?
6. President Obama says that “the American people want (new law or policy initiative here).”
Raise glass in hand in unison with everyone you know, because unanimity in drinking poses is much like the will of a country of more than 300 million people: Easy to articulate and activate.
7. Hey, do you remember when Rep. Michele Bachmann delivered the first-ever “Tea Party Response” to President Obama’s 2011 address? And how she was looking at the wrong camera the whole time? That was fucking wild.
Once some reference to this occasion begins to trend on twitter (probably during Sen. Rand Paul’s “response,” eat a corn dog and wash it down with savory— spiked– Southern sweet tea.)
8. President Obama mentions the drone program or targeted killing program.
Seek out that suspicious-looking neighbor and, if you have any reason to believe this individual capable of doing you harm in the future, quietly walk up from behind and glass him in the face with an empty beer bottle. Threat… eliminated! Just watch out for his friends in the weeks, months, and years to follow. They are likely to hold a grudge, especially if your target was actually just taking out his trash or enjoying a quiet evening walk.
9. President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” – from his 2002 SOTU – was an attention grabber that has shaped perceptions about U.S. foreign policy priorities for the better part of a decade. It echoes, still. What’s Obama got? In this, his first primetime speech since being sworn in for a second term, the president must be hoping to drop a memorable line or two.
For every obviously pre-canned line or phrase, the kind meant to be repeated and recalled down the years, open a new can of domestic beer and drink half. Leave the rest of it out to warm, flatten, and eventually start to smell like a frat house basement. It should remain there for years, a none-too-subtle reminder of what you used to drink and how poorly it’s aged.
10. What’s a night of political theater without volumes of wordplay? When the president pushes for “investment” in the future, he means “spending,” as Republicans will be sure to note. Conversely, when those Republicans rebut and respond to President Obama, demanding fiscal “responsibility” and “restraint,” they really just mean “lower taxes” and “less spending.”
If at any point you sense an elected official or pundit is using a focus group-approved euphemism in place of a fairly simple phrase or idea, put away the cheap stuff and crack open the craft beer. Let people know who you are. (If you’re alone, as you most certainly are, post video of this process using your new Vine app.)
11. “…the middle class…”
Do not drink. Drink the whole rest of the speech, if you like, but please stop on these lines. You, as an alive person not taking fluids intravenously — will thank us in the morning.