The State of the Union Speech was originally referred to as the President’s Annual Message to Congress. This was a message delivered to a joint session of Congress. It was not called the State of the Union until Franklin D. Roosevelt became President.
George Washington gave the first President’s Annual Message to Congress. It was only seven hand-written pages long.
President Thomas Jefferson stopped giving a speech to Congress and instead gave a written report to be read by a clerk to Congress. Jefferson felt the speech was too “Monarchical”. That is just one more reason Jefferson is my favorite President.
Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of a speech to Congress, but some Presidents have still sent a written report. Jimmy Carter was the last President to send a written report.
With the advent of radio and TV, the state of the union has become a public event. Citizens were interested in the health and future of their country.
Interest in the State of the Union has declined, and I understand why. I watched last week’s State of the Union. I did more than watch it. I recorded it, watched it again, took pages of notes, and studied it. I concluded that the State of the Union has turned into a partisan, political campaign speech. It has few accurate facts and even fewer realistic agendas for the future. The Washington Post corrected President Obama on eleven Facts.
President Obama’s speech sounded like a dusted off and revised 2007 campaign speech. It had little correlation with his actions over the last six years. He said he wanted to work with Congress, but if they did anything he didn’t like, he would veto it; and if they did not do what he wanted, he would do it himself with executive order.
The President took credit for the improvement in the economy, in spite of the facts showing we are making a very slow recovery. The improvements the country has made are primarily due to hydraulic fracing of oil and natural gas, and frac sand mining. America’s great resources, and America’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit accomplished this, in spite of the government doing everything possible to discourage oil and gas exploration and production. Fracing has given us new jobs, more disposable income, energy independence, and a stronger position in world politics in spite of the government.
A typical politician, the President suggested a lot of free things, but no way of paying for them. He did admit the richest 1% has gotten richer under his watch, and the working middle class has been hurt. He suggested tax reform, but unfortunately, the type of reform he suggested is just more of the same old tired unworkable solutions that will further hurt the middle class. Why not suggest the Fair Tax that could actually work? Sorry, that was naive thinking on my part, as a Fair Tax would hurt the political elite.
I will not go over the speech on a point-by-point basis, as my notes are considerably longer than this blog. It was interesting that some of the biggest challenges facing this country like Islamic Jihad terrorists were never mentioned by name. Our President never mentioned run-away government spending and debt, but he did make sure to plug his favorite wealth distribution plan, the global warming hoax. Any bets on what he does after the Presidency?
Joni Ernst gave the Republican response to the State of the Union. She is a freshman Republican Senator from Iowa representing a traditionally Democratic district. Her response was only seven minutes long with little pomp and circumstance. It sounded rather like a campaign speech, but gave more realistic facts and options than Obama did in an hour. She stated the last election showed that the American people wanted real change in Washington. I think that is true.
I can certainly understand why there is less and less interest in the State of the Union address and why the politically informed public is so disgusted with our federal government. It is indeed time for real change and not just campaign promises.