However, this year's speech appears to be a little different with the "Date Night": several Senators and Representatives have volunteered to sit next to a member of the opposite party. Presumably this is a nod towards a new era of bipartisanship, which is somehow going to be different than all of the other eras of bipartisanship that seem to occur every two years right after election day.
Still, there is one added benefit:
McCain called it "a good idea," but also said it was "a bit overblown." One benefit he hoped for was fewer of the automatic standing ovations by Democrats for a Democratic president, or Republicans for any right-leaning proposal Obama might endorse in the speech.There may be hope for me yet. Also, Chuck Schumer and Tom Coburn fighting over an armrest just seems like a blast to watch.
"I frankly think the cheerleading side of it has detracted from the ability of any president, Republican or Democrat, to speak continuously to the American people without so many interruptions," McCain said. "I think there will be plenty of interruptions, and it doesn't matter where you sit, but it might be nice to have a few less."
Update: I had read, and subsequently forgotten, that Paul Ryan is giving the Republican response. Probably a good choice; he's a rising star, not a Tea Partier but has distinct sympathies; has been around for a while (in political terms); from a swing state; and is reasonably charismatic. He may be a little bit too wonkish to give a rebuttal speech, but a little bit of policy may be exactly what the GOP needs (as they have displayed very little of it as of late). I like Ryan; he has Newt Gingrich's ideas and is not afraid of bucking Republican core values for the sake of innovation, but doesn't have Gingrich's abrasive personality and poor judgment. This almost--almost!--makes me want to watch it. But I still won't.