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January 21st, 2015

Yet Another Disqualifying Event

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Memo to the Memo to Disingenuous Whining Fucks: YOU ARE DISQUALIFIED.

Normally, at least in recent years, I have not discovered within me the capacity to give one shit, much less two shits, about the State of the Union Address. And this year is, for all practical intents and purposes, no different. Because the only thing that interests me about it wasn't supposed to be part of it, and it's yet another illustration of why, ultimately, politics will doom us all.

Any regular reader of this column knows that I firmly believe that there are certain things people do that should disqualify them from participation in the public discourse, which includes politics and punditry. And one of those things is blatant mendacity. Not just lying, but lying in such a painfully obvious way that the lie is less of a crime than the belief that anyone could or should believe it.

Which brings us to the State of the Union Address, to the moment where Obama said he wouldn't be campaigning for office again, and Republicans, making no pretense of comity, applauded. Which caused the President to ad-lib "I know, because I've won both of them."

A quick aside. This has been generally reported by the press as a "zinger", which I think is overstating things by a factor of about eight. As heckle comebacks go, it's no "I don't come down to where you work and knock the lobbyist's dick out of your mouth." It's a stretch to even consider it a smooth transition from his previous sentence. I mean, I appreciate the underlying message about "fuck you, I'm the President, bitches", but the actual execution left a lot to be desired.

Anyway, certain Republicans responded to Obama's jab in ways that so utterly count as Disqualifying Events that they should have been marched off the national state at gunpoint.

For example, Tom Cole, the senator from Oklahoma we rarely pay any attention to because the other one is a globe-murdering madman, said "Probably not helpful when you rub the other guy's nose in the dirt a little bit."

I need to be clear here, Cole was talking about what Obama said. Even though "rubbing the other guy's nose in the dirt" is precisely what applauding the term limits on a guy you don't like is. And it certainly is helpful, if the other guy doesn't have enough dirt up his nose. Plus, of course, there's the broader societal benefit.

Ted Cruz actually criticized the president's "tone". TED CRUZ. TONE. TEDCRUZTONE. I don't know how much clearer I can maake it. Ted Cruz criticizing Obama's tone is like Ted Cruz criticizing Ted Cruz for being Ted Cruz holding a kettle also named Ted Cruz and calling it Ted Cruz.

It's not even hypocrisy. It's too calculated to be hypocrisy. There's a weird aspirational aspect to the whole thing, and also a weird reflexive aspect to it. They throw the double standard around so instinctively, so casually, and with so little regard for whether or not it'll work. And that's because there's absolutely no downside, no consequence, to just being incredibly transparently awful.