Invited guests understandably disappointed.
LTHOUGH THE attention on tomorrow's State of the Union address has focused on the bipartisan seating arrangements, Republican House Leader John Boehner says he wants Americans to know that his party plans "to heckle in a more polite and respectful manner," in light of the recent violence in Tucson.
"We don't have to yell 'You lie!' when President Obama lies to the American people tomorrow night," began Mr. Boehner. "We can just respectfully say, 'You are mistaken, sir,' and then wave our fists in a non-threatening way."
Outright booing will also be discouraged, according to the Speaker, to be replaced by sullen murmuring or intense shifting in one's seat.
Said Boehner, "I am confident that our party's message will come across loud and clear even without the benefit of traditional heckling. Although it will take every bit of restraint that we possess, considering the lies coming out of that Hawaiian's mouth. Alleged Hawaiian."
Silence will also be used as an effective tool, according to Boehner, expanding its role beyond merely lack of applause.
"We plan to hold our breath until we turn red when the President tells a really big lie to the American people," explained Boehner. "But we absolutely refuse to turn blue."
And finally, Boehner said that "melodramatic stomping down the aisle and out of the chamber" will be, if not exactly civil, "a damn sight better than a lot of other things I can think of we'd like to vaguely threaten to do, but won't because people are so damn sensitive since Tucson."
Boehner concluded by hinting that he might also break out in tears throughout President Obama's speech to provide "a perfectly harmless distraction from all the lies."
Said Boehner, "It's not even heckling. And it's so damn easy to do."
© 1.24.11 Kate Heidel