Why Wait For His Speech? 

Posted: 9:58 pm Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

By Jamie Dupree

Last night’s address to Congress continued a growing tradition amongst lawmakers of sending out their reaction to a Presidential speech before they’ve even read a word of it.

Instead of reaction, or “react” as we like to call it in the radio business, this is classic “preact” – as in a reaction to a speech given before the speech has been delivered.

The preact began with a notice early on Tuesday morning from the press secretary for Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, who told news outlets that Nelson would have a statement recorded in the afternoon for use after the Obama address.

The real winner though of the HFR (Hold For Release) Sweepstakes goes to Rep. David Scott of Georgia, whose press release hit my email inbox at 3:40 pm.

“The President has spoken with confidence that we will make it through this economic crisis and has instilled in each of us that we are all in this together,” Scott said over five hours before the speech began.

Let’s be honest.  It isn’t too hard to write something that will sound just fine after the speech.  Such are the ways of politics in both parties.  In other words, we already know what we are going to say before the other guy says it.

On the other side of the aisle at 5:15pm came a missive from Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, who took dead aim at Obama’s speech, even though no one had seen a word of it yet.

“We want to do everything that we can to work with the President but he’s got to stop spending money we don’t have.  Washington is robbing our children’s future,” Kingston said.

House GOP Leader John Boehner waited to weigh in until about 90 minutes before the Obama speech, noting the historic nature of the event, but then zeroing in for a jab.

” Republicans want to be partners with the President in finding responsible solutions to the challenges facing our nation, but thus far congressional leaders in the President’s own party have stood in the way,” said Boehner.

Because I was watching from home (I’ve got a stomach bug that should knock ten pounds off of me) I didn’t get to see the really entertaining “preact” in the old chamber of the US House.

That’s where dozens and dozens of reporters wait for lamwakers to exit the House chamber and say meaningful things like “He hit a home run,” for inclusion on the morning news.

What’s always interesting is to see who is first out of the chamber and to the TV cameras.  If you get there slowly, then you are stuck in line like some lowly schmuck. 

Why wait for the speech to be over?  I guess it’s sort of like leaving the baseball game in the top of the 8th.

And everyone knows what everyone is going to say anyway, right?