Friday, January 20, 2012

State of the Disunion?

Cue the "rockets' red glare" and the NFL's theme music: Are you READY for some State of the Union?! Yes, sports fans, President Obama is set to deliver his SOTU address to the Congress next Tuesday. MSNBC has been promoting the event like the Super Bowl. This, after all, is must-see TV. I mean, you remember the words from last year's SOTU, right? And who could possibly forget what Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush said during their star turns at the SOTU podium? If you are staring at these words as if I have lost my mind, rest assured that I am being facetious. In fact, anybody who does remember the said addresses is crazy, probably certifiably. And yet the typical SOTU is hyped as if it is a history altering event. It ain't. Like almost everything else on the American political landscape these days, the modern SOTU is a made-for-TV extravaganza (read 3-ring circus) designed to win ratings and little else. So strong has the media stranglehold on this "tradition" become that woe betide any president who refuses to give one. He or she would be run out of town on a rail. It wasn't always this way. As POLITICO'S Roger Simon noted today, the Constitution requires only that the president “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” In other words, a three-page letter sent via special courier (or Fedex) would do.

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