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    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    State of the Union Address - More Ceremony than Substance?
    Tonight, President Bush will give his fifth State of the Union address. Does anyone remember last year's? Here's how the White House summarized it:
    Read More
    President Bush laid out ambitious goals for the future, behind which all Americans can unite, and urged the Nation to move forward with the work that needs to be done this year:
    1. Growing our economy and renewing great institutions
    2. Saving social security for America's future generations
    3. Protecting America's families and promoting compassion across the nation
    4. Making America safer with decisive action to win the war on terror and spread freedom

    Given the State of the Union's reputation for being long on policy and empty rhetoric and short on real analysis and solutions it begs the question, has the State of the Union address become more ceremony than substance? You'd think that with a President addressing a joint session of Congress before a nationally televised audience that this would be the stuff of high drama, but in reality it has become a carefully choreographed performance complete with predictable applause and symbolic guest who underscore the President's message. This is not a criticism of President Bush, but rather an observation on a political ritual that seems to have become meaningless. Political junkie that I am - I'll probably still watch it, though.

    Here are some other interesting articles on the subject...

    In fifth State of the Union address, Bush to seek to rescue presidency from a bad year
    President Bush, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, will offer ideas for dealing with domestic problems like high energy and health care costs and international troubles like Iran's suspected nuclear ambitions. The unspoken agenda underpinning the address, Bush's fifth, is the rescue of his presidency from arguably its worst year.

    The State of the Union Is Unreal
    There are so many shining cities on the hill of bad State of the Union speechwriting. In preparation for tonight's exercise in forgettable dissembling, test your knowledge of the genre by matching the quote with the reality-challenged president who uttered it.

    Song of Myself
    Thomas Jefferson abandoned the spectacle when he became president, preferring to send his constitutionally mandated message to Congress in writing. His republican example succeeded in killing the ritual for more than a hundred years....Lately, things have grown worse. President Bill Clinton's final State of the Union expired after 9,000 words and more kitchen sinks than you'll find at Home Depot. The Gettysburg Address, by comparison, was 266 words...The Speech's cheap theatricality is finally beginning to grate, with some people calling it meaningless and ready for extinction.

    Shared by Silke @ 9:22 AM

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