WASHINGTON — Sometimes a few brave White House speechwriters wage a silent battle for the kill State of the Union Address State It will no longer be the stylized theater as we know it, or at least scale back.
Worried that the annual speech has grown stale, the presidential advisers have tried for years to shake it. We’ve considered shortening it by a quarter or sticking to just one theme. No president wants to give up pomp and ceremony. Let alone the millions of eyeballs directed at him as he roams the chambers of the House of Commons after the eight-word cue rings out. Mr. Chairman, President of the United States! ”
Is the state of the union strong, Become strongerHowever, State of the Union countries address Immutable. I am not going to change.
“This is one of the largest audiences a president commands,” said Kathleen Sebelius, Chief Cabinet Secretary in the Barack Obama administration. It’s an opportunity to understand the themes and messages that are very important in setting it up.”
Joe Biden’s Tuesday night speech is expected to mirror, in many ways, every speech every president has made since Ronald Reagan perfected the formula in the 1980s. There are all the old conventions: calling out to guests at , self-congratulatory lists of accomplishments, and solemn promises to work on what remains unfinished.
Members of the president’s party stand and applaud throughout, while those in the opposite party mostly sit still.
There is nothing to say that addresses must be expanded in this way. Article 2(3) of the Constitution merely stipulates that the President “will keep Congress informed of the State of the Union from time to time, and recommend to Congress such action as he deems necessary and appropriate.”
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson made a direct report rather than a written report. This was to revive a tradition lost in 1800 with John Adams.
“I regret this cheap and vulgar imitation of British royalty.”
Senator John Sharp Williams (1913)
As recounted in Arthur Schlesinger’s three-volume history of the State of the Union address, Senator John Sharp Williams of Mississippi wrote that “the old federalist practice of addressing from the throne has been revived. “I’m sorry to see this cheap and vulgar imitation of British royalty.”
As the speech took on a more modern form, suspicion about the speech only increased, and each year it provoked a sort of rebellion among the White House aides tasked with writing it.
In 1998, Bill Clinton’s White House speechwriter Jeff Shesol wrote an internal memo calling for shorter, tighter speeches focused on one key idea.
no one was listening.
“I was essentially patted on the head and told, ‘You’re adorable,'” Chezsol recalls.
If anything, the bloating got worse. Two years later, Clinton delivered his hour-and-a-half speech. This is the longest State of the Union address on record. Clinton’s speech was his 9,000 words, nine times as long as the first speech given by George Washington in 1790.
“Speech is now more and more bankrupt for generations,” Chessol said. “It feels more and more rotten, often so hollow and removed from the reality of our national and political life.”
Viewership is declining. Biden’s first State of the Union address drew an audience of 38 million. in contrast, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Donald Trump Between 45 and 52 million people flocked to the first address.
The attendance rate of the Supreme Court justices who are invited every year is also declining. Chief Justice John Roberts said in 2010 that his speech was “pep rally”
“I don’t know why we are there,” said Roberts.
Neither do his colleagues. Last year he had four of his nine judges absent from the event.
One reason for scrapping the speech in its current form, according to a former White House official, is the growing political polarization in American life.Viewed from home, Americans tend to see addresses along solid ideological lines. study In 2020, we found that partisan divisions in the United States grew faster than in other large democracies, including the United Kingdom and Canada, over the past 40 years. rated the party 27 points higher than other major parties. By 2016, that number had jumped to near his 46 points.
In difficult times like these, it’s totally unrealistic to believe that a president can soften such divisions and deliver a national message that truly unites the country, said a past White House veteran. To tell.
Leon Panetta, who served as White House Chief of Staff under Clinton and later as Chief Cabinet Secretary under Obama, said the speech was “basically a domestic effort, rather than growing domestic support for what the president wants to do.” It strengthens the division of the
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/white-house-aides-keep-trying-torch-state-union-address-presidents-kee-rcna68926 A White House aide continues to try to set the State of the Union address under fire. The president keeps getting in the way.