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January 28, 2014

Kevin Williamson on the Grisly Farce That Is the State of the Union

Why?

As I'm sure you all know, while the Constitution requires the President to deliver a state of the union report to Congress (Article Two, Section 3, Clause 1), it does not specify that this should be a live speech. And until FDR, I think, the requirement was observed by sending over a written report. (Update: Drew informs me it was Woodrow Wilson who brought the personal address back. Apparently Washington had delivered the address personally, but Thomas Jefferson stopped that practice early, and the personal address did not begin again until the twentieth century.)

It should also be noted that almost all State of the Unions are actually unconstitutional, inasmuch as they are not candid reports on the state of the union at all.

They are political advertisements. Especially in bad times -- and Obama has misgoverned the country in an extended period of bad times -- the State of the Union is as dishonest a document as one could wish.

A "state of the union" report, is, by definition, a document describing the current and near-past conditions of the country, not a prospective hypothetical as to what the President hopes to do (or pretends to hope to do) in the future.

We should simply scrap the process -- and perhaps Congress can help by demanding an actual candid, honest State of the Union report, and holding the President's feet to the fire for false or misleading statements made in pretending to satisfy this Constitutional requirement.

Kevin Williamson is himself sick of the practice.

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

It’s the most nauseating display in American public life — and I write that as someone who has just returned from a pornographers’ convention.

Margaret Thatcher at Question Time. Why do we allow our Presidents to just order us around and speak uninterrupted as if they were Emperors?

@tsrblike sends this great Thatcher response to a socialist, which could be ably applied to tonight's Carnival of Lies. It's also an example of a more democratic political spectacle-- Thatcher is not shielded from questions or criticisms. Like any other citizen, she is exposed to them.


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posted by Ace at 02:00 PM

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