Yes, of course, President Obama’s State of the Union address is a serious occasion, full of solemn portents for the nation and the world. But even Washington wonks have to have a little fun. Strangely enough, they’re likely to have fun this year by playing SOTU bingo.
For the uninitiated, SOTU bingo involves modified bingo cards, usually filled in with various words or phrases the president is likely to utter. It’s pretty easy to figure out which bingo-card-makers are friendly to Obama and which are foes. Some simply want to push a cause and hope Obama brings it up when he talks to Congress on Wednesday night.
The Center for Global Development offers a sober-sided set of bingo cards, with terms like “G-20,” “security,” “foreign aid” and “globalization” on its grid. “Will President Obama mention global development during his first official State of the Union address? Will he discuss girls’ health, immigration, or the environment?” the group asked on its Web site, urging folks to tally up whether Obama mentions any of these as they fill in their cards.
A more conservative slant shows up in a “Barack” card posted on various sites, including Chicks on the Right. Instead of the normal 25 spaces, it’s got 36, featuring such Obama-isms as “let me be clear” and “make no mistake.” There’s a bonus if Obama says “greed on Wall Street” and even “I” could fill in a square — but only “if used five times or more in same sentence.”
Obama isn’t the only public figure to face the bingo treatment. President George W. Bush got similarly lampooned during his State of the Union addresses. And former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s face was the center free space on bingo cards meant to be played during her October 2008 vice presidential debate with then-Senator Joe Biden. The cards featured some of Palin’s most memorable sayings, including “maverick,” “Joe Six-Pack,” “hockey mom” and “lipstick.”
Photo credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouser (Bingo, a dancer with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans, performs at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood June 18, 2006.)