Thursday, February 03, 2005

Short-Term Memory and State of the Union

Like most of you, I watched the pundit classes after the State of the Union Address. Many focused on the vocal Democratic dissent, stating that is was "unseemly," and even the reserved Mark Shields on the PBS News Hour commented that the opposition sounded like the British Parliament.

Really? I remember other occasions where the GOP acted as "poorly" as the Democrats last night, and I see that Atrios has compiled a list of news reports today from Clinton's various State of the Union speeches. The chattering classes do indeed have very short-term memory:

1999: Republicans Booed Clinton's Entrance. Many Republican lawmakers gave him a cool, though not impolite, reception.There were a smattering of boos when Clinton first entered the Housechamber, but they were quickly drowned out by applause. Some Republicans barely applauded, or refused at all to clap. House Majority Leader DickArmey (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) were conspicuously silent.[Boston Herald, 1/20/99]

1998: Republicans Booed Clinton's Medicare ProposalClinton's health-care initiatives, chiefly in the form of a medical bill ofrights, found support on both sides, especially his attack on managed-carehealth-care plans. ... Clinton's proposal to expand Medicare to allow Americans as young as 55 to buy into the system drew shouts of "no" and some boos from Republicans during his speech. [Chicago Tribune, 1/28/98]

1997: Republican's Booed Clinton's Opposition to the Balanced Budget Amendment. The Republican response was far warmer than perhaps any of Clinton'sprevious four State of the Union speeches. Time after time, Republicans jumped to their feet to join Democrats in applauding the president. Only once did they unmistakably and collectively show their disapproval--when Clinton spoke disparagingly of a GOP-sponsored constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Many Republicans hissed and some booed. [LA Times,2/5/97]

1995: Republicans Booed Clinton and Walked Out During Speech. The upheaval wrought by the Republican election landslide was visible throughout the president's State of the Union address - from the moment Speaker Newt Gingrich took the gavel to the striking silence that often greeted Clinton from the GOP. At one point, Republicans even booed. About 20 of them left as Clinton went on and on for an hour and 20 minutes. [AP,1/24/95]

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