Another politician’s speech. We just call it the State of the Union

When Presidents deliver their State of the Union remarks to a Joint Session of Congress, it can be hard to determine which of their legislative proposals are “necessary and expedient.”

At least the President Obama avoided references to school uniforms or the energy implications of switchgrass. 

These yearly traditions have become an exercise in legislative futility.  The President proposes–or in the case last night, proposes again–while Congress rises and falls in applause, often just half the house.  The Speaker denounced the speech before it was delivered.  Questions abound regarding what the seating arrangement near the First Lady says about the president’s agenda for the year.  The decorum with which the Supreme Court Justices arrive seems oddly out-of-place in the setting.  

The addresses are part valedictory, part partisan pandering, part blame shifting, part patriotism and all with an eye to electoral trajectories.  And they’ve been this way for years.  We might as well move them to a nearby football stadium.  My further thoughts on this were published in Worcester’s Telegram and Gazette.

About Peter Ubertaccio

Peter Ubertaccio is the Director of Joseph Martin Institute for Law & Society at Stonehill College in Easton and Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science & International Studies. His work focuses on political parties, marketing and institutions. He received his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Professor Ubertaccio and his family live on Cape Cod where he is on the Board of Directors of the OpenCape Corporation and the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation.
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