January 25, 2011

EVEN DESPITE 9-11....:

What Would Clinton Do?: Some former speechwriters advise Obama to emulate his Democratic predecessor tonight. (Matthew Shaffer, 1/25/11, National Review)

‘The State of the Union address is a ghastly event,” Peter Robinson, a former Reagan speechwriter, tells me. “The only people who get a little bit out of it are political journalists,” a parasitic class of persons who “only this Tuesday get to show up and talk on camera on prime time,” as they comment on the president’s words and the audience’s facial expressions. It’s an open secret, Robinson says, that everybody else hates it.

The SOTU as we have come to know it — half pep rally, half national psychodrama, an hour-plus of standing ovations punctuated by pieties, economics-by-anecdote, and the Lenny Skutnik du jour – is actually comparatively new, with little basis in the law. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says that the president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend” sundry measures. Until Woodrow Wilson devoted his presidency to expanding the powers of the executive, the SOTU was delivered as a plain and short letter to Congress. But, lamentably, returning to an originalist SOTU, as Robinson would like, is infinitely unlikely.


...W should have followed through and started just submitting a written state of the union to Congress.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 25, 2011 7:04 AM
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