Standing Ovations

I'm glad I said no post-State of the Union blogging in my previous post. Because if I had said during, it would have been a lie. I don't see the downside of a President starting the State of the Union by saying, "Before I start, I want to thank the American people for taking an interest in what their government is doing. I recognize that their time is valuable, as is everyone's in this room. I therefore strongly request that all applause be saved for the end of this speech." Seriously, I would temporarily have liked President Bush if he had done that, and it's pretty tough to get me to like him, even temporarily. But pretty much the only President I could imagine actually opening a speech in that manner would be Bartlett, and as much as I would like to pretend otherwise, he's not real.

UPDATE: A discussion of moderate Republicans who don't completely approve of the President's agenda and how they showed their disapproval by either not standing to applaud or via other body language implies that the ovations aren't a misue of a valuable time, but serve an important communicative function. In the middle of the story, it says,
"Bush's speech was scheduled to last 40 minutes, not including the applause. But the reactions, which filled 10 or 15 minutes more, were in some ways the most important part -- an applause meter for members of Congress to demonstrate to the country how much, or how little, they support the president's objectives."