Roger’s Rules

State of the Union Blues

Like Justice Scalia, I am planning to give tonight’s State of the Union Address a pass. I am not quite ready for the 2012 campaign yet, and clearly President Obama is dusting off his clichés and contradictions for a big blow out tonight. “The economy’s in trouble, folks, but we need to spend more on EDUCATION. The United States must be more competitive, but we need to commit ourselves to green (i.e., economically ruinous) technology.” Etc. My personal stash of Dramamine just isn’t large enough. Besides, I think George Will is right: what the State of the Union is all about is the president, regardless of party, endeavoring to “stroke every erogenous zone in the electorate.” It’s a big country and the spectacle is bound to be unseemly.

No, instead of the State of the Union (which I already know to be bad), I might just hole up with Johnny Mercer. Glenn Reynolds has recently made it a habit to flag various links with the phrase: “the country’s in the very best of hands.” I always snickered at that because, well, just look at Washington or your state capital. Pathetic isn’t it?

I am chagrined to admit that it was only this morning that I learned the origin of that delicious phrase “the country’s in the very best of hands.” It’s from the great song writer Johnny Mercer. I should have known this but, hey, I had a provincial upbringing and was deprived of many such cultural benefactions. (Can I apply for a victim grant of some sort?)

I am happy to know the source of the phrase.  It says a lot on its own, but really to appreciate it you need some of the surrounding lyrics:

The treasury says the national debt

Is climbing to the sky

And government expenditures

Have never been so high

It makes a fellow get a

Gleam of pride when they decide

To see how our economy expands

The country’s in the very best of hands


Johnny Mercer died in 1976, by the way, just about in time to see President Obama’s great predecessor, James Earl Carter, muck things up.

The building boom, they say

Is getting bigger every day

And when I asked a feller

How could everybody pay

He come up with an answer

That made everything okay

Supplies are getting greater than demands

The country’s in the very best of hands

Prescient, eh?

If I had my druthers, they’d play Mercer’s song before the State of the Union address and keep it in reserve for presidential press conferences.  The president is said to be enjoying a little bump in the polls after he went to Tucson and gave a stump speech masquerading as condolences for Gabrielle Giffords and the other people slaughtered by a deranged pothead Paul Krugman believes is Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or maybe Sarah Palin. He suddenly finds that he has nice words for Ronald Reagan. Military commissions are OK for Islamic jihadists and the Bush tax cuts are dandy at least until he gets reelected. As I say, my stash of Dramamine isn’t large enough. Nor is my credulity capacious enough. What the State of the Union says about the state of the union is not encouraging.