WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) became Speaker of the House last fall, his staffers say he marked January 12th, 2016 on his official calendar right away.
“He was really focused on the State of the Union address,” one aide told us on condition of anonymity and a case of various sports drinks, “because he knew that for nearly a full hour, people would be seeing him behind President Obama, and he wanted to make sure he portrayed himself the way he wanted to be seen.” That’s why, the same staffer said, he practiced his facial expressions during the speech for weeks.
According to another aide, Ryan told her he was going for a “smug, punchable” face during Obama’s final such address to Congress. Ryan was certain that if he “looked aloof and chewed gum the whole time” he’d come off as “just the right amount of over it all” and that he’d “give Americans the impression that he’d literally shit all over the president and his terrible ideas” if he had the chance. Ryan would tell his staff in the days leading up to the speech that he was beside himself with anxiety that “not enough people would want to reach through their TVs and sock him in the nose,” the aide told us.
“Boehner had his way of showing disdain for crappy ideas like treating immigrants fairly, addressing our changing climate, and giving all people a fair chance at a better life right from the start,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told us after the speech, “but I like that you could really tell that Speaker Ryan doesn’t think his feces has even the smallest soupcon of malodorous tinting.” Gowdy said he’d make sure he asked Hillary Clinton at the next Benghazi hearing he’s holding how she felt about Ryan’s performance.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on the campaign trail Wednesday morning that he was “relatively pleased” with Ryan’s facial expressions during the address, but he would have liked to see him at least hold up a sign that said “Obamacare is the Devil and Liberals Hate America, or something like that.” Cruz said when he’s elected this fall, he’ll sign an executive order the first day dictating that Ryan only smile broadly and give a thumbs-up gesture to everything Cruz says in his own State of the Union addresses.
“You know, that address was a yooge disappointment,” Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump told reporters outside his apartment this morning, “but I gotta say, seeing Paul Ryan up there not even applaud when Obama said we shouldn’t be racist, judgmental jerks? That was quite impressive. Only totally yooge losers aren’t at least semi-racist against someone, you know. It’s scientifical fact, and my toppest, yoogest advisers are telling me this so, blip, blop, blope, doodeedado!”
A flash poll conducted by CNN and Polls Upside Your Head showed that 62% of respondents noticed Speaker Ryan’s “smug arrogance” during the speech and 78% of them said they’d at least “briefly consider punching him in that puss.” One Ryan staffer said his boss was “quite thrilled” at the results of the poll and said he feels they “show that the American people understand we Republicans just want to act better than you all while we propose no real, workable solutions for problems we don’t even acknowledge exist.”
This was President Barack Obama’s eighth and final State of the Union Address.