State of the Union 2006: Make Your Party Plans Now

What's a gal gotta do to get taken off the Republican National Committee mailing list?

The expiration date on my GOP membership card has long since passed (just think, when I was a Republican, Saddam Hussein was our ally, George Bush owned a mediocre baseball team, and Michael Jackson was still black). Nevertheless, just about every week -- and sometimes twice a week -- I dutifully receive the latest "Dear Republican" e-mail from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, filling me in on all the great new things President Bush is doing. For me. Personally.

Truth be told, I don't really want to be taken off the list; Mehlman's e-mails are an endless source of entertainment. But his latest missive is such a classic that I have to share it with you -- even at the risk of being scrubbed from the GOP rolls and losing my weekly chuckle.

This week, Mehlman invites me and my fellow Bush backers to show support by hosting a State of the Union House Party on January 31, when the president, according to Ken, will be "laying out his bold agenda for the coming year." I bet he will.

For those Republicans who haven't kicked out the jams in a while and "don't really know what a house party is, let me explain," writes Ken helpfully. "A House Party (why the sudden capitalization, Ken?) is a great way to carry the President's message into your community, while having fun with friends old and new." Sounds like those guys are gonna tear the roof off the mothersucka!

As an added enticement, the e-mail contains the image of a TV set, its screen filled with a beaming Bush delivering one of his previous SOTU speeches, Dick Cheney and Denny Hastert applauding behind him. Two colorful cartoon balloons float beside the TV, above the words "Join the Party!"

From the RNC

Unable to resist that come-on, I clicked on the image and was taken to -- and the House Party page. It features a very short slide show of previous Bush house parties. Boy, do those folks look like they are having fun -- especially this group of College Republicans seated on a rolling green lawn in the shape of a "W." Crazy kids!


Another click and I arrived at the Party Packs section of the George W. Bush Online Store. There you can choose from 5-Person, 10-Person, and 25-Person Party Packs. Each Party Pack comes with a "Stand with President Bush" yard sign, and collection of bumper stickers, stadium cups, and lapel stickers -- all adorned with a presidential seal-style "W" logo. It's $19.95 for the 5-person pack, $29.95 for the 10-person, and $59.95 for the 25-person. You can also get a discount on a baseball cap with the "W" seal logo (normally $14 each), if you order it along with a Party Pack.

This whole SOTU House Party thing sounds like a lot of fun. The only thing missing are some party games, so here are some suggestions:

Guess the Guest. Every year, the White House invites a host of special guests to watch the president deliver his State of the Union -- usually people connected to programs or policies the president is highlighting or particularly proud of. For instance, last year, his special guests included a group who supported private Social Security accounts, two people who helped in tsunami relief efforts, the parents of a soldier killed in the assault on Fallujah, and an Ob/Gyn who stopped delivering babies because of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. Who will it be this year? Have your party guests predict what issues the president's guests will symbolize. Bonus points for whoever can correctly guess who will get the coveted seats next to Laura Bush. Last year it was Safia Taleb al-Suhail, the leader of the Iraqi Women's Political Council, and Homira Nassery, a woman who voted in the Afghanistan election. Could one of this year's chosen two be someone involved in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast (the contractor rebuilding Trent Lott's house, perhaps)? Booby prize to anyone who guesses NSA whistleblower Russell Tice.

Beat the Speaker! This game requires fast reflexes, as you see who amongst your partygoers can best anticipate when Speaker of the House Denny Hastert will spring (sort of) to his feet and start one of the many "spontaneous" standing ovations that'll undoubtedly occur during the president's speech. Every time you beat Denny to his feet, you score a point -- but don't pop up too fast, House Party standing ovations that are not matched by at least half the GOP Senators and Members of Congress will cost you a point. Bonus Gift for whichever partygoer comes closest to guessing the number of times the president's speech is interrupted by applause, as well as the number of standing ovations. Tip Sheet: His 2004 SOTU speech was interrupted by applause 67 times, including 35 standing ovations. The 2005 version was interrupted 66 times (a downtick of one) but included 44 standing ovations (an increase of nine).

And, finally, no Bush House Party would be complete without some version of the HuffPost Presidential Speech Drinking Game. Although a lot has happened since we first premiered this game in June, a lot has stayed the same. So look for many of the same drink-inducing phrases, and get ready to bend an elbow! Bottoms Up Bonuses for '06: chug-a-lug anytime the president mentions "Saddamists," "rejectionists" or "terrorists" (down a triple shot if he mentions all three in one sentence) and every time he defends warrantless NSA wiretaps as "necessary for our national security."

Party on, Ken!