For all the buildup, tonight's State of the Union speech will be a lot like all the others: "The state of our union is strong," we're moving forward, here are some exceptional Americans that I'm going to highlight for my political benefit. The SOTU speech, in other words, is strikingly similar to another fixture in public speaking: The technology keynote.
What would Obama's annual address look like if he were giving it to a bunch of Silicon Valley bloggers?
The doors are supposed to open at 8.
Instead, they don't open until 8:15. Obama doesn't take the stage until 9:30, a half-hour after his scheduled start time. (This actually isn't far off from Obama's typical M.O.)
Speaking of stages…
Obama has abandoned the podium. He's walking around on the House floor — in dad jeans instead of a suit.
There's a livestream of the speech.
Just like in real life. But this one stutters. And it only works if you're watching from a device the NSA's already hacked into.
Obama lists all the big product launches from the past year.
"We had an incredible year. We signed up 3 million people for Obamacare. We passed a bipartisan budget agreement that'll ensure Congress stays crisis free for at least another two months. And we're confident that the next time I see you all, we'll have solved the Israeli-Palestinian crisis."
After listing all the big hits and his dreams for the future, Obama offers a bit of reasoned spin.
At this point, Obama transitions into product-launch mode.
"— I'm proud to announce the first piece of an amazing, revolutionary new product you're going to love. We designed it precisely with privacy in mind and it's going to reshape your whole experience with the Web. It's the next generation of what we lovingly call Healthcare.gov. Best of all — it's free."
Behind him, an animated slide drops to reveal the price: a big, fat zero.
Obama then proceeds to demo the new and improved HealthCare.gov.
But for some reason, he can't quite seem to get past the account creation screen. He laughs nervously as the browser displays a blank page. Turns out it's just loading, though. (The Wi-Fi in the House chamber is being slowed by all the bloggers Instagramming the reveal.) Finally, Obama makes it through.
"Aha, great!" he says, a little too loudly.
The presentation continues with a video.
It's a polished piece of work, focusing on a family that's skiing someplace and using Snapchat to document a sprain. The photo gets magically sent to the doctor, who through HealthCare.gov 2.0 is able to diagnose the injury and make treatment recommendations.
"Amazing, isn't it?" Obama whispers in awe.
Like any good CEO, Obama now hands the stage off to a deputy. It's Joe Biden.
The vice president unveils the next big product launch. It's a high-speed rail project.
Obama comes back onstage.
By this time, the bloggers in the audience are about exhausted. The livestream has completely cut out for most online viewers.
"Thanks, Joe. You're doing some incredible work, and I can't wait to see the next phase of that remarkable project."
Obama details all the exciting things to come in the next fiscal year. And then:
"But there's one more thing." A collective intake of breath in the audience. We've been waiting for this moment all year.
"We're going back to Mars." Amid raucous cheers, as if the mission has already been completed, Obama lifts the cloth from a display that had been hidden under the House clerk's table. It's the biggest rover NASA has ever built. Obama grins. Then he walks off to the sounds of Jay-Z, leaving the audience to file outside to Statuary Hall to test out this newfangled, revolutionary thing called Healthcare.gov.