It Will Not Matter

The new cycle changes so fast and the President will take himself off message. The speech will be forgotten.

I can write this before the speech is even over. The President has some great lines. “America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?” he asked. “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position,” he proclaimed as he set aside President Obama’s order on Guantanamo Bay’s detention facility closing.

But it does not matter.

He fooled me last year. President Trump addressed the nation and the Congress in a joint address to Congress. Though not a State of the Union address, it had all the trappings including notable, thematic guests. The news media portrayed it positively. Multiple pundits across the political spectrum, myself included, declared the President had finally become Presidential. Only a few days later, CNN itself noted the President had not attacked anyone on Twitter. The President’s speech continued to get positive airplay across the media for several days as Republicans breathed a sigh of relief. He had found his footing, or so they thought.

It was not to be. Less than a week after his speech, President Trump pivoted from Presidential to petulant. He accused President Obama of tapping his phone. The meltdown spiraled out of control from there. By the Sunday after his joint address to Congress, the nation had moved on to the FBI investigation, the partisan back and forth over whether the President’s phones had been tapped, and the Republican attempt to drag Barack Obama into the scandal.

The same thing will happen this time. There will be other news and other tweets. There will be many distractions and the President’s agenda will amount to nothing. To be fair, however, no State of the Union address goes anywhere. It is the one of the most monarchial trappings of the American Presidency — a Queen’s Speech without a crown or Queen. But the Queen’s Speech, written by her government, presents an agenda Parliament will enact. The President’s agenda, presented in his speech, rarely gets enacted.

Importantly, prior President’s agendas may not get enacted as outlined, but progress tends to get made on the administration’s priorities and even in a hyper partisan era, prior administrations have tried to find common ground on popular agenda items. Tonight, President Trump pledged to work across the aisle to find common ground. But by Friday, as insults are hurled and tweets fly, no one will even remember what his agenda is.

The State of the Union speech does not matter and it will not matter. It is a waste of taxpayer and media resources in terms of is preparation, coverage, and delivery. Next year, President Trump should just tweet.

Comments
No. 1-25
etbass
etbass

@mlindroos Yes, but how many of those were to roll back Obama's executive orders, many of those illegal? Bush did not leave illegal executive orders for Obama to roll back. Trump had a massive job when he took over just to try and clean up some of the mess that Obama left. A roll back executive order is much different than one that creates a new or different direction for the government. Obama was also a lot busier with executive orders when the GOP controlled Congress, which was not the case during his first year, for which you compare. These are all important factors that make reality different than what they chart is designed to make people think. A comparison would be a chart showing how many patients died while in surgery under different doctors, and the top doctor has 10 times as many deaths as his colleague at the same hospital. One is a specialty neurosurgeon working on extremely high risk, life threatening cases. The other one is a general surgeon that mostly removes gall bladders. Once we fill in the background, the numbers mean something different.

esotericwy
esotericwy

What is the purpose of the State of the Union address? I believe that it 1) allows the President to tout his accomplishments (WHY? not) 2) propose solutions to problems (that's a crap shoot) 3) in eloquent terms speak to America's GREATNESS and EXCEPTIONALISM (nothing wrong with that) 4) offer HOPE for tomorrow (always positive) 5) be Presidential (aren't they all?)

YJ77
YJ77

After the meeting you referenced, almost all of President-Elect and, for several weeks after the Inauguration, President Trump's critical meetings were held at his personal [and therefore personally secured] estate at Mar-A-Lago. I think that it was the only place his "wires" weren't tapped. I also think it took his team several weeks to clean up OUR White House after the previous corrupt DoJ, FBI, and NSA had compromised it after the election.

CarolAnne
CarolAnne

Yes, the speech itself will soon be forgotten, but the guests in the gallery will never be so.
--The image of the North Korean amputee triumphantly waving his crutches as we learned his siblings consumed dirt to stay alive, having given him their tiny food ration--who will NOT be remembering THAT weeks from now? Not I.
--The infant baby girl now safely cradled in the loving arms of her adoptive mother, the cop's wife, rescued from the hell of a future with a heroin-addicted birth mom--who will not remember THAT 2 weeks from now? I'll remember it for life.
--Who will forget the young patriotic boy who made sure veterans' graves had flags?
--Or the pathos of the 4 African-American parents of daughters murdered by MS-13?

These are stories MSNBC/CNN/NBC/CBS/ABC viewers would never have heard, much less been able to put a face to, had it not been for last night's SOTU, and for that, I am eternally grateful.