State of the Union speeches always are accompanied by back stories, vignettes that give commentators something on which to, um, comment.
How many ovations will bring both parties to their feet? How long will the president speak? How many programs will he lay at the feet of Congress?
Here’s what I’ll look for tonight: Who will be hugging the aisle when the sergeant at arms announces: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States?
When the president walks down the aisle toward the podium, he usually shakes hands, gets high-fives, slaps a few members of Congress on the back, gets good wishes and does that silly “finger-point” to someone he recognizes.
During the two most recent presidencies — of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama — one could always depend on seeing certain lawmakers getting TV face time hugging or shaking hands with the incoming president. I think, for instance, of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat.
Members of Congress usually wait for hours prior to the speech to get their preferred place along the aisle. You could depend on seeing Rep. Lee greeting Presidents Bush or Obama as they walked toward the speaker’s podium.
There’s a new man in the Oval Office these days. Donald J. Trump’s the guy who’ll deliver the State of the Union speech.
So … the question: Who will we see leaning over the aisle looking to greet the president, and will one of them be Sheila Jackson Lee, the fierce Democratic partisan?
Let’s get real for just a moment. Democratic members of Congress — along with a few Republicans — have been pretty damn vocal in their criticism of the president; they’ve blasted him for his behavior, his rhetoric and, indeed, his policies.
What’s more, this president has been pretty fierce in his response to his congressional critics.
I believe I’ll look tonight to see evidence of grudges.