The decline and fall of the State of the Union
Writing in the Washington Examiner, Gene Healy gives a good summary of the gross and embarrassing spectacle the State of the Union address has become. He suggests we all tune out. Personally, I haven’t watched them for years, except for maybe turning it on for a minute or two to get a sense of what’s happening then turning it off again. Who wants to see our assembled represenative giving repeated standing ovations like (as Healy puts it) “members of the Supreme Soviet cheering a Brezhnev speech”? I think the last SOU I watched was Bush’s disastrous one in 2002, when with unbelievable fecklessness (but that’s what happens when David Frum is your speechwriter) he declared that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were part of an “axis of evil.” That term was a virtual declaration of war against all named and unnamed members of the axis; but of course Bush had no plans to be at war with those countries, except for Iraq. For Bush to throw around words like that, casting his credibility to the winds, showed how the victory in Afghanistan had already led him to the imperial hubris that wrecked his presidency.