Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something I don't understand...

At some point in American history, the first clause of Section 3 of our CEO's job description,
"He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient..."
came to be interpreted as "Our Dear Leader shall, once per year, commandeer all our airwaves so that He might make the Divine Will known to us all. And then all the networks shall read the entrails of a goat. And there will be much rejoicing."

Thomas Jefferson, lor' bless him, thought that having the prez stand up and declaim in front of Congress was a bit too Ave, Caesar! for our young republic, and so he established the tradition of sending the annual report over to Congress in written form, the same way that I.N.C., Inc. lets shareholders know how things are going every year.

Then Woodrow Wilson, never one to miss a chance for a bit of public demagoguery, preferably draped in bunting, revived the practice of entering the House chamber in pomp and circumstance and laying down the law in person. With few exceptions, such as Silent Cal, the addresses have been public spectacles* ever since.

_____________________
*Chastened by his recent drubbing at the polls, Jimmy Carter, a humble man with a great deal to be humble about, sent in a written outgoing address in '81, but it's been Speeches From The Throne from then on.

21 comments:

Robin said...

I thought it was Washington that sent over a letter re: SOTU to Congress.

Tam said...

Apparently Washington and Adams both delivered the Annual Report in person.

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that TJ mailed his in because he wasn't a great public speaker and may have stuttered? Forget where I heard that...

--alexis

Middle Man said...

Once more Woodrow Wilson is a the root of something that is currently disgusting and vaguely socialist...

Old NFO said...

AND it was an hour of BS, mis-statements, contradictions, etc. as usual... Can we go back to a WRITTEN report please???

Nathan said...

Lincoln sent his over in writing and I believe they were read by the House clerk.

Tam said...

Nathan,

Everybody from TJ to Taft did it that way.

DirtCrashr said...

Wilson, such an everlasting academic, loved to dress-up in his robes of PhDiddism and speechify to the ignorant undergrads, proving and preserving his elite status.

GuardDuck said...

And not to neglect that it is now apparently eveel for the opposition to rebut the word from on high that is sermonized and proselytized by the won.

wfgodbold said...

If I were president, I would hand deliver the SOTU every year by climbing the steps to the capitol and nailing the address to the door.

Dwight Brown said...

Reason #3 why my admiration for Tam is like the universe (finite but unbounded):

Her ability to casually toss off a Churchill reference. In a footnote, no less.

Stuart the Viking said...

I tend to skip watching the dog and pony show and just reading the transcript the next day. Reading it, this one surprised me. I almost wish I woulda stayed home from the bar and popped popcorn and watched in person.

Did anyone else wonder if he was hinting at a flat tax in there a few times? Surely not, because he was also talking about sticking it to the evil dreaded free-loading rich people, but reading parts of the SOTU (without considering the source) it sure looks like it.

s

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. Let's put the SOTU on pay-per-view. I figure $2.99-$4.99 would be a fair price. Those that are interested can indulge themselves. The rest could enjoy their normal viewing schedule. (guess which camp I fall into) This would provide a little honest money for FedGov and a kind of backdoor polling for the temporary occupants of that office.

WIN-WIN....

Matt said...

Once again my belief that Woodrow Wilson is the most evil bastard in American history has been confirmed.

Is it wrong that I REALLY want to dig up his rotten corpse and smack it around a bit before presenting it to Congress for posthumous impeachment ?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you understand rather well.

Lewis said...

Matt:

Do him like Cromwell.

Tam said...

Dwight Brown,

I'm tickled shitless when folks catch those. I see no point in re-writing the wheel. ;)

Anonymous said...

who pays any attention to the ramblings of a socialist?All of the lies, falsehoods and utter garbage that it spewed just makes me want to play a dvd.

Robin said...

Ah, I got confused with the "advise and consent" clause I suppose. I recall reading a passage in a bio of Washington where he went to the Senate to chat about something and was so disgusted with the experience that he refused to return.

kishnevi said...

Churchill and Monty Python, too.

For some people, the greatest movie line is "we'll always have Paris". For others, it's "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn". For me, it's "and there was much rejoicing".

Buzz said...

How do I know my wife is a keeper?
When the newspaper ran a story that TehIwon would be giving his SOTU address, she looked up at me and said, "I think we'll be making a visit to Redbox."