The State of the Union address is not a celebration of the imperial presidency, as many have been opining recently. Rather, it has a high policy purpose that puts the president on the spot, Peggy Noonan argues in the WSJ.
The Founders Knew What They Were Doing
The Founders were not stupid and knew what they were doing when, in the Constitution, they instructed the chief executive to report to Congress on the condition the country is in.
America – a Democracy and a Republic
The speech is a public acknowledgment that America is both a democracy and a republic. Somehow we’re never reminded. But that’s the chief executive going down the street to Congress’s house, asking to enter, and trying his best to persuade that coequal branch as the judiciary looks on.
The fact of the speech forces a White House to concentrate on what it thinks. Suddenly it must determine and put into words its priorities for the coming year. Suddenly it has a deadline. Suddenly it has to take its own sentiments seriously. The speech forces the president to decide, to focus, and not to take shelter in the day-to-day and whatever crisis just came over the transom.
The president is forced to take stock. He must state with at least some measure of credibility that “the State of the Union is . . .” Is what?
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