A reader’s State of the Union wish

Rick U. writes:

It would be nice if our legislators and cabinet officers would sit quietly and listen to Obama’s speech. This would be a welcome change from the “high school pep rally” atmosphere that we have seen over the past two decades (I am not sure when it began, but I think in the Clinton years) of State of the Union addresses. It’s embarrassing to watch grown men and women, who supposedly run this country, stand and clap or boo in unison, like children. A 30 minute speech drags on for over an hour as this puerile display unfolds. Our nation faces very serious challenges—sadly, most of them won’t be mentioned in the speech—so, it would be refreshing to see “our leaders” act like grown-ups tonight.

LA replies:

The only way to fix the disgusting annual SOU spectacle is for presidents to return to the tradition, which was started by Thomas Jefferson and lasted over a hundred years, of sending their address to Congress instead of personally delivering it.

N. writes:

If I recall correctly, the President who broke with republican tradition (please note the lower case “r”) and chose to present the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress was the gnostic, progressive Woodrow “He Kept Us Out Of War” Wilson. Wilson, of course, was the author of “war socialism,” and many of the younger members of his administration showed up again in the FDR White House. Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” discusses Wilson’s corrosive effect in some detail. The choice to deliver the SOTU address directly is but one of the changes made by Wilson. Changes for the worse.

LA writes:

We forget that an “address” doesn’t necessarily mean a speech delivered in person. Washington’s Farewell Address, perhaps the single most notable and important address in American history, was not a speech but a document published in newspapers. Washington was addressing himself to the mind and understanding of the American people, not seeking their shouts and applause.

Rick U. writes:

I think you’re right. Perhaps, at some point the President—when we have a real one—will admonish those in attendance, prior to giving the speech, to hold their applause until he or she is finished. That would be some real leadership.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 27, 2010 12:08 PM | Send

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