Thursday, February 03, 2005

is booing a boo boo at the SOTU?

from the Senate Democratic Communications Center: a short history of SOTU BOOING.

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 House chamber, but they were quickly drowned out by applause. Some Republicans barely applauded, or refused at all to clap. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) were conspicuously silent. [Boston Herald, 1/20/99]

1998: Republicans Booed Clinton's Medicare Proposal
Clinton's health-care initiatives, chiefly in the form of a medical bill of rights, found support on both sides, especially his attack on managed-care health-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's previous 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]

I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I used to record Clinton's State of the Union speeches on the VCR and listen to them...taking notes! It was a habit that started at the student newspaper -- covering lectures from a tape recording. His speeches were so moving and eloquent, it was a pleasurable habit to get into. Cross-stitching for a political junkie. It's ugly and there's no methadone for a political habit.

Since it was during a time when I was taking notes and deconstructing Clinton for fun, I find it interesting that I don't remember these incidents.

There's possibly a few things going on here. I have an open mind about it:

A) It happened (people booed and WALKED OUT) and it got attention and my memory is failing me. It might have garnered repeated play on Crossfire or whatever yell-fests were popular back then, and I just don't remember.

B) It happened and didn't get any attention and that's why I don't remember it. It didn't make it into SOTU mythology because no one thinks it was unusual that Republicans would act like that.

C) It happened and didn't get any attention because no one was cutting Clinton any slack.

Probably a combo of all the above and stuff I haven't yet thought of. Strange, though.


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