Today, the event is essentially a tool of legislative strategy. It’s no longer just an occasion for the President to present the details of his agenda to Congress and the public, though every President does do that. The real purpose now is for the President to take advantage of the unusual opportunity of having his political opponents before him as a captive audience. While the President can’t actually make Congress vote for any of his proposals, on this one night he can make every congressman and senator squirm as they are forced to decide, in public, whether to applaud for each of his ideas…
Ryan Lizza on the State of the Union address, and Obama’s new rallying cry: http://nyr.kr/VfMfvz
John Cassidy on “President Obama’s carefully plotted campaign speech, thinly disguised as a State of the Union address”: http://nyr.kr/X71G71
This is a year when the President needed to use the State of the Union to offer a coherent counter-argument to the Republican raging against government in all its forms. He succeeded reasonably well, with the help of [a word], one that gave the speech its emotional force: guns.
Amy Davidson on guns and government in Obama’s address: http://nyr.kr/XzOmuH
(Photographs: 1. Charles Dharapak/AFP/Getty Images 2. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images 3. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.)