Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

I Hate the SOTU

Tuesday night's State of the Union address is another reason to despise the ways of Washington. We should eliminate it or cut it back.

I Hate the SOTU

FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Facing a nation still burdened by high unemployment, Obama will center his upcoming Feb. 12, 2013, State of the Union address on boosting job creation and economic growth, underscoring the degree to which the shaky economy threatens his ability to pursue other second-term priorities, including immigration reform and climate change. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Facing a nation still burdened by high unemployment, Obama will center his upcoming Feb. 12, 2013, State of the Union address on boosting job creation and economic growth, underscoring the degree to which the shaky economy threatens his ability to pursue other second-term priorities, including immigration reform and climate change. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: I hate the State of the Union.

BE: You mean the over-spending, over-owing, over-medicated, overly-obese, dumbed-down state of the union, or the speech?

JB: The speech, as in the one to be delivered Tuesday night in Washington that I have to watch and comment on for Wednesday's newspaper.

BE: That's only because you'd rather be watching "Justified."

JB: That's not true. Well, okay, that's partly true. But the broader reason is because of what the SOTU has become: a repetitious litany of pipedreams and promises offered to a nation and a roomful of constantly clapping congress-people who are over-paid and unproductive, wallowing in a world of their own creation that's unconnected to the rest of us.

BE: But the Constitution requires it.

JB: Actually, the Constitution only says the President will "from time to time" inform the Congress on the state of the union. This president just gave an inaugural address. That should count. And these days there's so much constant information that the constitutional provision should be interpreted differently. From "time to time" should be once during a four-year term, maybe right in the middle.

BE: But it's a tradition. The pomp. The chance for America to see it's goverment, its president and its democracy in prime-time.

JB: America has that chance 24-7 thanks to technology, extensive print reporting and never-ending news coverage and blabfests on TV, radio and social media. Plus, presidents used to submit the SOTU in writing. More have done so than not: 24 of the 45. And Jefferson, who knew a thing or two about, governance and democracy, eschewed the speech saying it was too much like the British monarchs issuing mandates to Parliament.

BE: So you'll be watching at 9 p.m.?

JB: At least until "Justified" starts at 10.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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