Last night was President Obama's first address to Congress. I admit, I did not watch, nor have I read the transcript. I watched a couple minutes of his Chief of Staff's explanation of what he said, and I watched the 11 o'clock news and saw some of the president's comments. I also did not watch Gov. Jindal's response, but I did see him talking as I flipped channels. I intend to read both speeches.
However, I wanted to make some comments similar to my comments from a year ago (seen here).
The purpose of the State of the Union, as prescribed by the Constitution, is to "from time to time" address the Congress. Think of it as the CEO telling the Board of Directors where he plans to take the company. It's a good time for him to challenge the congress on the direction he wants to take the company. He is, after all, the President. I'm not sure why, but the press all billed this as NOT the State of the Union, maybe because this administration is still new. He does need more time to evaluate before he makes an assessment. I wish more time had been spent evaluating things before the economic spending package was passed, but that's another story. I respect the president for addressing congress.
But I do have four specific problems:
1) This is supposed to be an address to congress. While I didn't watch, I suspect most of the speech was addressed at the TV cameras.
2) It's supposed to be "from time to time". Recent tradition has been to do this every year. Maybe President Obama will change things, we really don't need it every year. The current administration is still too new to make a "state of the union" speech, but I'll give a pass on that.
3) Why have a response? Why must the party not in power feel the need to contradict the president and give their own view? Typically, the response just sounds bitter. The response is written ahead of time without hearing what the president has to say. Who are they fooling? That's not a response. It's like voting on a Trillion dollar bill without reading it. But that gets to the economic spending package again.
4) The political pundits. I didn't listen last night. I'm sure they said how great the speech was and how President Obama reassured everyone. How he inherited the debt (and ignored that he's doubled it) and that this is the worst recession since 1929 (or was it 1982?). I'm sure there were some pot shots taken on Fox. Where in the Constitution does it say that political pundits are required and can we please only make it "time to time"?
It will be a couple of days at best before I can digest the President's and Governor's speeches. Not sure if I'll blog about them, but I do intend to read them.