the state of the union vs. xxx: state of the union


The Internet is abuzz today with responses to last night's State of the Union address. Some will compare it to Bush's previous State of the Union speeches, while others will take a more historical perspective, weighing it against big speeches made by other U.S. Presidents. I'm going to see how it measures up to the most recent State of the Union; that is, Lee Tamahori's xXx: State of the Union, the greatest action-adventure movie of all time about the State of the Union address.

xXx: State of the Union
STATE OF THE UNION bush.jpg cube.jpg
TITLE State of the Union 2006
Directors that have left since previous edition Michael Brown, FEMA Rob Cohen, xXx, The Fast and the Furious
Who have since moved on to... Public shame; a heckuva cushy job Stealth, a film about a robot plane that becomes sentient after getting struck by lightning
Controversial replacements since previous edition John Bolton, Ambassador to the United Nations Ice Cube, XXX
Controversial because? Doesn't believe the U.N. should exist Used to be a rapper
Returning characters Cheney, Hastert, Bin Laden, hypothetical/mythical WMDs Samuel L. Jackson; the guy who makes weapons and gadgets
Last-minute additions to the cast samuel_alito.jpg
Justice Samuel Alito
Early moments acknowledge the death of? Coretta Scott King Previous XXX Xander Cage
According to the President, is the union strong? Yes Yes
War-related quote from fallen hero "Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting." - Marine Staff Sgt. Dan Clay "Wars come and go, but my soldiers stay eternal." - Tupac Shakur
"Did the President just quote Tupac?" No Yes
Implausible plot point that is crucial to the storyline Osama Bin Laden plans to "seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world." The Secretary of Defense, Willem Dafoe, plans to assassinate everyone else ahead of him in the chain of command, including the President, during the State of the Union address
Is America threatened by terrorists? Yes Yes
Really? Not exactly Yes, really
Our villain previously terrorized... Afghanistan Spider-Man
Repeated phrase "A hopeful society..." "If it's got wheels, we can jack it"
How much decision-making should be in the hands of the military? "As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels -- but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C." The assault on the secret NSA bunker and subsequent assassination scheme is carried out by a military splinter group, led by the aforementioned Secretary of Defense, a former general. Clearly, important decisions should be made by Samuel L. Jackson, or XXX himself
How important is research and development? "To keep America competitive, we must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity." "To deal with these guys, I'm gonna need some serious gear."
What steps can we take to further technological advances? "Double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences, and make permanent the research and development tax credit." Have the geeky white guy make cool weapons and Xzibit will pimp out everybody's car
How does freedom defeat terror? "Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror." Ice Cube escapes prison by jumping off the prison roof onto a helicopter, and forty-five minutes later, he fights Willem Dafoe
Unrealistic goal Pass line-item veto, cut the deficit in half by 2009 Catch up to a bullet train by driving a souped-up car after it, on train tracks, so that Ice Cube can jump from the car to the train, rescue the President, and escape via helicopter
Budget Expenditures of $2.466 trillion, Deficit of $347 billion Expenditures of $87 million, Deficit of roughly $61 million
How do we make up for the budget shortfall? Um, make temporary tax cuts permanent? Um, DVD sales?
Interruptions by applause 67 0
Did Sean Keane watch it? No No
Why not? Unconvincing performance by lead performer, weak script Ditto
"God Bless America"? Yes Damn straight


The president's gotta respect the West Coast, homes.

oh man, you break my heart. the whole time reading it i was all, "finally! someone else who foolishly watched xXx 2!" and then at the end you're all like, "bitch-slap, michele, you're a loser."

through the pain of my smarting cheek i must give you kudos none the less. that is a strikingly compelling comparison.


Did the President actually suggest bringing back the line item veto? That's unconstitutional! Did he follow it up by saying, "You hear that Sam? John? I'm talking to you guys, here."?


Favorite "Interruptions by applause"

Yes, he really asked for the line-item veto. He snuck it in in a section on budget reform:

"I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto. (Applause.)

"We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements."

Nice. It's not quite "The West Wing," is it?

Stellar as usual, Sean. The Alito/Xzibit juxtaposition is my favorite.

Incredibly amusing... the line-item veto, however, is not amusing at all. I think Bush has made enough ill-considered, probably-unconstitutional decisions during his reign to bring in the totally unconstitutional ability to hijack the legislative process whenever he wants - "legally"!

Constitutional considerations aside, I'm curious about everybody's strong feelings against the line-item veto. Only because I've been trying to think of the cons and none are immediately popping into my head. Well, I guess maybe Bush could undermine compromises in Congress by flicking off stuff that balances out other, not-so-great stuff in the bill. But I guess to me it sounded like a neat idea in the long term, post-Bush, when a more moderate president could use it to trim ridiculous ear-marks. Did it not do that successfully under Clinton? (That's not rhetorical, I'm curious). Though I guess maybe it could destroy any willingness at all to compromise in Congress, since quid pro quo would lose the quid as soon as it gets to the White House. I guess I should just read the papers, but if there's something scarier I'm not thinking about, I'd rather hear it from a friend first.

I think you've already got the idea. It subverts the already overly complicated and politicized process anything has to go through to get passed by Congress, possibly making the party is not represented by the President more wary of making any compromises. Just because we don't trust Bush and trusted Clinton (or would trust some hypothetical future moderate President), doesn't seem to make the idea any better. If Clinton had been able to use the (arguably sensible) Line Item Veto Act to cancel 1) any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority, 2) any item of new direct spending, or 3) any limited tax benefit that would i) reduce the Federal budget deficit, ii) not impair any essential Gov't functions, and iii) not harm the national interest, I have no doubt that he would have used it wisely to cut out things reasonable people would agree is total pork. However, in the hands of a less socially-conscious slave to conservative moral philosophy that's just plain scary because he'd be able to veto a mind boggling amount of social and health care spending that didn't fit his conservative, "security"-focused, supply-side economic agenda.

Well put, Kristina. Given the long list of, shall we say, questionable extensions of executive power that Bush has already implemented, it's troubling that he would casually propose another extension that has already been declared unconstitutional. The fact that he did it just as a new Supreme Court Justice was sworn in is revolting.

So social and health care spending proposals and the like can still get to the President's desk as part of larger, not uniformly wonderful bills, and could even be signed into law if the President likes the other stuff enough to not kill the whole thing. That makes sense. I'm also wondering, though, if another concern might be the possibility of a complete standstill in Congress, where nothing gets to the President's desk. What do you guys think?

And please keep in mind that I'm only putting the constitutional considerations aside to learn more about the line-item veto and its potential consequences, good and bad, since the fact that something is not allowed doesn't seem to stop it from happening these days.

In the words of Darius "XXX" Stone, "Tonight the fate of the free world is in the hands of a bunch of hustlers and thieves."

Though, as Agent Kyle Steele points out, "Why should tonight be any different?"

I think, as a practical matter, the line-item veto probably wouldn't be used to get rid of all pork-barrel spending. It'd be used to get rid of pork-barrel spending by members of the party that's not the President's. I would argue that this is worse than what we have now; it would further entrench the party in power, and they would likely end up expanding their own earmarks to fill the void left by the veto of the opposition's earmarks.

Also, from a partisan political perspective, the line-item veto is structurally good for Republicans and bad for Democrats. It gives the President an immense amount of power to reduce the budget, but no power to raise it. Now, it would be interesting if the line-item veto also let the president strike provisions out of tax cuts...

how do you know so much of the movie since you haven't even seen it?!?!

man, i wish i was good friends with the director of xXx2 like i am with john hazlett.

If you were a prostitute or an undercover LA police officer, you could become quite close with xXx2's director.

i could be a prostitute. someone pay me for sex.

As the Dude would say, Uh, I'm just gonna go find a cash machine.

yeah, so kristen can bash your head in.

are you having dinner with us tonight? it's going to be tasty. french pizzas, salads, bread and i'm making cookies now for dessert. molasses cookies. mmmm, covered in sugar.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on February 1, 2006 10:04 AM.

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