Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State Of The Union - Whatever, Listen To This

I didn't listen to the State of the Union address last night. I hate 'em. I hated Clinton's SOTUs too. In the vast Kabuki which is politics, the SOTU is like some play within a play, a guy miming a puppet show. It's a mighty waste of time and effort, and everyone knows it.

I believe that the original intent of the speech was for the President to report on the State of the Union. This is ridiculous on its face. The President has no more information than congress or the Senate does, and if he does he's going to keep it to himself. Therefore, the exercise has mutated into a policy statement, in which the President pretends to ask congress for things he pretends to want, and Congress pretends to listen. It's a pageant, made even more unnecessary by the refusal of everyone to wear top hats.

The President says something like, I call on Congress to tax oil companies! Congress applauds. The next day they pretend it never happened. We, the American public, turn off the TV and say, "wow, I didn't know the president wanted to tax oil companies! He's not so bad after all." And then we forget it ever happened. Or if we don't forget, the President can say he called for it but he doesn't make the laws. Congress can say they're working on it. The oil companies wire another sum to a series of offshore accounts. Everybody wins.

The SOTU is, and has been for its history, an infomercial. There is, possibly, a slight chance that the president would ask for something he really wants, and be so convincing that Congress would listen to the American People and give it to us. You see that happening? Me either. So it's an infomercial which everybody knows is meaningless before it starts. No wonder McCain nodded off. The amazing thing is that everyone else doesn't.

I'm pushing for next year's SOTU to be a memo.

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