4 Awkward State Of The Union Moments Haunting Us Even More Than Joni Ernst's Bread Bag Shoes
Well, it's finally all over. The anticipation, speculation, world-weary analysis — it all came to a head last night when President Obama took to the House chamber and delivered his 2015 State of the Union address, finally going national with a number of proposals he'd teased out in the days and weeks beforehand. But not everything went so smoothly, as is inevitable with such a high-profile event, incorporating hundreds of different people from all branches of government. In fact, there are some awkward State of the Union moments we've still got fluttering through our minds, like a song that's stuck in your head. Maybe it would help to play the tune?
In spite of a few strange moments here and there, the speech was something of a rhetorical triumph for President Obama — he remained resolute, and at times defiant, in the face of a GOP-controlled Congress that threatens to scuttle his remaining two years of domestic agenda. He spoke both movingly and convincingly about education, infrastructure, economic equality, and terrorism abroad, among other things, and while that isn't likely to make much impact on Republican politics, it was nice to see him claiming credit for some of the achievements his opponents love to deny him.
But, as ever, there were also some distractions. Here are four examples that jumped out at us last night, amid all the pomp and ceremony.
President Obama Looked Kind Of Orange
This was, quite literally, one of the first things that began tearing through social media when Obama began his speech: doesn't he look, well, a little...orange? In short order, whoever provided the President's makeup became one of the most second-guessed people out of the entire night, with countless people tweeting incredulously about Obama's glowing hue.
Not everybody thought it looked bad, to be clear, and much of the teasing was entirely good-natured, like when author and trans activist Janet Mock tweeted about his "McConaughey Orange" look. But once you're up there in front of all the cameras, you can't change anything, and based on people's reactions, somebody behind the scenes may have wished they didn't go quite so overboard.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Fell Asleep
Obama's address ran just under an hour, and around the 20-minute mark, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg decided to check out. She was caught on camera catching a quick nap, flanked by her colleagues on the court. Frankly, I can sympathize — I could barely remember how many times I fell asleep in the front row of my theater class. There's something about a cushy vantage point and the flow of a sonorous speech that sets the mind at rest.
Nobody Cheered Against Muslim Stereotypes
Sadly, this one isn't so funny. As observed by RH Reality Check's Sharona Coutts, in the midst of a typically applause-heavy evening, there was one plea for respect that went almost entirely overlooked — President Obama's call to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims. First referencing America's rejection of anti-Semitism around the world, which brought a hail of applause, Obama then continued to say, "It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace."
By the time he got to the end of that sentence, not only had the applause died out, it was utterly silent. In fairness, as the applause bled over from one sentence to the next, it's hard to know if everyone would've sat so tongue-tied if the line had been tee'd up a little more cleanly. But regardless, the silence was deafening — with innocent Muslim lives in peril all over the world, it would've been nice if the ostensibly progressive Democratic minority would've rallied for another round of applause on that (the Republicans, I wouldn't bother holding my breath). You can see the moment above, starting at 45:40.
"I Won Both of Them"
The undeniable, memorable barb of the night from Obama to the Republican Congress — his reminder that, hey, I did win two presidential elections — caused a bit of a stir, both in the instant and after the fact. As detailed by MSNBC's Steve Benen, some GOP congressional leaders took exception to the jab, which is pretty hilariously thin-skinned, considering he only said it after many in their ranks jeered his observation that he had "no campaigns left to run."
In other words, "Stop being such a jerk, just stand there while we taunt you!" Thankfully, Obama didn't take the derision lying down, instead offering up one of his most memorable off-the-cuff zings.
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