I have to confess that I did not watch the State of the
Union speech. I will read the
highlights. There are too many
reasons not to watch the State of the Union.
First, half of the time is taken up by the entrance, the exit,
and the applause. Maybe it is more
than half. If you are really
interested in what is being said, you can probably read a transcript in 20
Second, I don’t really want to look at the expressions of
the Vice President and the Speaker of the House, who are sitting behind the
president. It doesn’t seem to
matter who they are. I just tend
not to like them. I like them less
than the average politician, which is pretty bad.
Third, I don’t believe a word that is coming out of the
president’s mouth. It is not that
everything he says is untrue, but anything that I am not sure about, he is
probably lying. I am not just
talking about Obama. I am also
referring to his predecessors. It
seems you have to basically be a liar to get to the top position in politics.
A fourth reason I don’t like the whole event is that it is
all so phony. Sometimes just one
side will stand and applaud. Other
times, the whole room will stand and applaud. It is a show for the American people to make them believe
that they have real disagreements over critical issues.
The two major parties will disagree over whether to have
50,000 troops in Afghanistan or 70,000 troops (or pick a number). They will disagree on whether the tax
rate should be 36% or 39%. They
will disagree over cultural issues, just to get their bases impassioned.
But then the two parties will agree and hold hands on
certain issues such as fighting terrorists, saving Social Security, getting
benefits for veterans, and saving puppies from falling trees. While I may have exaggerated on that
last item, Obama could have mentioned it in his speech and everyone would have
felt compelled to stand.
The politicians of both major parties are in complete
agreement over making government bigger and more powerful. They will frame it in different ways to
appeal to their bases, but don’t be fooled by the rhetoric.
And that leads me to my fifth point about why I don’t pay
attention to the State of the Union speech. Most of what is said, even if it were well intentioned, will
likely never happen anyway.
I can remember Bush talking about partially privatizing
Social Security. It was all
rhetoric in an attempt to placate his base. He knew this would never happen and he had no intention of
The State of the Union speech is nothing more than campaign
propaganda. The president will
attempt to take all of the credit for all of the good things happening. He will also blame all of the bad
things on the opposing party for being “obstructionist”, or difficult to work
with, or too rigid.
It doesn’t seem to matter who is president. And even if the same party controls the
presidency and both houses of Congress, the president will still try to blame
the problems on the other party.
It happened under both Obama and Bush.
I will read the headlines to make sure I didn’t miss
anything important, but that is unlikely.
It is even more unlikely given that Obama is a lame duck now. Even if he had anything interesting to
say, I wouldn’t believe it anyway.