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Tales From the Groom: The State of the Union

Carl takes a cue from one of his favorite speeches that combines his worst fears, today’s politics, and drinking cheap booze at his wedding.

By Carl Monaco Published WASHINGTON, DC—Groom Carl Monaco delivered an urgent plea for unity Wednesday night during his first State of the Union address, seeking to recapture the energy that has propelled his husband-to-be candidacy and to reverse his wedding-planning trajectory after a series of recent setbacks.

Twenty months after entering the relationship with a broad mandate, Monaco reframed his reception-planning agenda around a single issue: his drive to bring top-shelf alcohol to the couple’s open bar. He focused on high-end brand names, casting himself as the advocate of the average wedding guest, and acknowledged that his planning efforts had “some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved.

“What keeps me going, what keeps me fighting, is that despite all these setbacks, an attitude of determination and optimism—that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of fine American spirits—lives on,” he said.

The 71-minute prime-time address, delivered before the couple’s dog in their apartment, came at a pivotal moment. With his wedding-band set-list-proposal stalled, his filibuster-proof majority gone, his approval ratings sagging, and 62 percent of his family saying they thought the pre-reception cocktail-hour planning was on the wrong track, Monaco sought to reshape his candidacy around issues—particularly artisanal-cocktail ingredients—that are of greatest concern to wedding attendees and could yield swift results. A full two-thirds of the speech was devoted to the virtues of stirring martinis versus shaking them, so as to not “bruise the gin.”

“Let’s try common sense,” the groom said. “Let’s invest in quality, unsweetened, distilled, alcoholic beverages that our guests can enjoy, that don’t taste like they’ve been filtered through a used sweat sock, and that can somewhat temper the massive hangovers our guests will have the next day. Let’s meet our responsibility to the people who got us here.”

The groom accepted blame for his slow movement on this issue, saying that the open bar was a “complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly and expounding upon its importance.”

As expected, Monaco proposed a three-month freeze on discretionary spending and promised to let plans for a mechanical bull at the wedding expire. And he said he’ll issue an executive order creating a deficit commission to confront the long-term fiscal challenges of floral arrangements and engraved invitations.

“Let’s put aside the schoolyard taunts about who’s tough,” Monaco said. “Let’s reject the false choice between pampering our guests with booze and pampering them with table runners that match the color accents in the ballroom carpet.”

Monaco will take his message on the road in the week ahead, with trips to Illinois and New Jersey. He’ll fly to Chicago Thursday to agree to all pork-barrel projects for specific members of the bride’s family who can help him push this referendum through.

Read Carl's story from the beginning

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Posted at 01:04 PM/ET, 02/25/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs

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