State of the Union Preview: Five Things You're Guaranteed to See

No Nancy Pelosi on the screen tonight
President Obama addresses the Congress and the nation tonight in the annual State of the Union, which has become a rite as ossified and rigid as any. You've got the humble heroes sitting with the First Lady, the various standing o's, the predictable post-speech instant analysis from both sides of the spectrum.

True, Obama's presence in the White House so unnerved the right-wing nut element of the country that one of his speeches to Congress was spiced up by a congressman yelling "Liar," but don't expect such hijinks with the SOTU. (Unless, of course, some GOP rep wants to see his Internet fundraising spike.)

There are some things, however, you definitely will see. Here are five:

5. Video of a Republican and Democrat sitting together
In the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, politicians searched energetically for the lamest possible idea they could put into action, and they came up with a winner: Sit with the opposite party. When they all rise to stirringly endorse the inevitable call to "disagree without being disagreeable" or "concentrate on the people's business and not our petty differences," feel free to wipe a tear (of laughter) away.

4. The mention of an incredibly obscure initiative of which you will never hear again
President George W. Bush might not have been the most inspiring speechmaker, but none who were alive at the moment can forget where they were in 2006 when they heard his clarion call for America to make use of switch grass.

"We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol," he thundered, "not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass."

Years later, a proud nation still has no idea what switch grass is. The SOTU is always, in part, a laundry list of programs which various departments in the administration lobby furiously to have mentioned. They win the battle, they get their mention and then go quietly away until next year.

3. Cue the Robert Palmer: "Might as well face it..."
The only reason you might not hear the words "addicted to oil" tonight, or some variation thereof, is because Obama's speechwriters watch The Daily Show.

2. Sheila Jackson Lee shaking hands, possibly air-kissing Obama
It's always funny to watch members of Congress reach over each other to shake hands with the President as if he was Aaron Rodgers at a Cheesehead convention. This goes for either party, but when there's a Democrat in the White House you can bet Sheila Jackson Lee will camp out however long it takes to get a prime aisle seat, so she can offer the words of encouragement without which the President would miserably fail.

1. The networks showing an empty chair when Obama pays tribute to Gabrielle Giffords and gets a lengthy standing ovation
He'll have to mention the planned empty-seat gesture in the speech, or else it's just going to look odd. The thing to watch for is who blinks first in finally deciding the ovation has gone on more than long enough -- Republicans or Democrats.

In this new bipartisan age, they've probably worked out an agreement on just how long the clapping will last.

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Wow. At first, I thought I could almost turn this into a drinking game (like I’m reading about elsewhere today). Every time the camera pans to a Dem and a Rep sitting together, I take a shot.But that’s lame, and since you’ve already told me what’s going to happen anyway, I think I’ll just leave the TV off and get right to the drinking… Cheers!

Luke I'm you father
Luke I'm you father

As far as SJL pant suit heaven, check out her feet. What gunboats almost looks like the Grinch with those monsters, can you imagine the corns on those suckers ewwww

big red
big red

Besides throwing a vicious elbow (or worse) at anyone who gets between her and the camera when she is molesting Obama, count on SJL to be wearing a pantsuit (dresses her size are only available at fat girls stores) that is so bright that lights are not necessary for the room.

Don't Pull Those Rods
Don't Pull Those Rods

Re: No. 1--I think both sides have given us the clap lately.Re: No. 4--LOL to switchgrass! I think that's we used to get whupped with behind the outhouse. I remember Dubya promising a nuke in every pot during that speech. So maybe it's good that not all of those dreams come true? The last thing we need is a more drastically-deregulated nuclear generation fleet.

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