Random Political Thoughts

Speaker chooses the date. So it’s Johnson’s choice to have SOTU after both primaries are effectively done and the speech becomes a quasi-campaign event.

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The Speaker of the House?

Did not know that. I assumed that it would be the POTUS who decided.

Yes, POTUS has to be invited because it is held in the Capitol.


And there was a lot of talk this year that the Speaker is not required to invite POTUS. There was serious discussion within the GOP of snubbing Biden.

I’m taking too long to research how long this Constitutional process has been maintained without breach - it appears to be at least since 1933, but I can’t quickly find whether the break in the process was due to an infantile Congress or an Executive decision or what.

Yes, Biden doesn’t do this (and Trump shouldn’t), but perhaps the reason why is that it wouldn’t be particularly effective. Murder rates in Alabama are high, but big cities here, and even smaller ones like Tuscaloosa, are run by Democrats. I am not saying the murder rates are the Democrats’ fault, but sound bite journalism or comedy doesn’t really make those kind of distinctions. Birmingham’s mayor, a young (and pretty decent) Democratic aspirant to higher office, has the misfortune to have a city with a murder rate that is 4 times that of Haiti. This is an unfair comparison in the sense of national vs urban, but again, that kind of shocker is eye-opening.

What break in process? In 1933?

If that’s what you mean, I wouldn’t call that a break in process. If you’re going to move something that happens at approximately 1 year intervals from December to January then that means skipping a calendar year. December 1932 to January 1934 is only 13 months. That’s not the longest gap between SOTU addresses… just the one that lapped a full calendar year.

Well, there’s the explanation. I was taking up too much time midday to figure out why Wiki noted “with the exception of Hoover in 1933.”

Also the 1 year interval is not constitutionally spelled out. It’s approximately 1 year by tradition, not mandate. The Constitution specifies “from time to time”.

There’s also no requirement that it be delivered in person and for many years it wasn’t. I think it started out in person, switched to a letter, then Woodrow Wilson decided to do it in person in 1913, as has every POTUS since.

Yes, it’s not required to be in person nor is the Speaker required to invite. It’s a non-binding standard procedure of our government by this time. The Speaker could always refuse, but that would be childish.

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Pelosi delayed one of Trump’s due to the border wall shutdown, saying he could deliver it in a letter instead.

Obligatory West Wing quote: He’s required to give Congress information on the State of the Union. If he buys Congress a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, he’s fulfilled his constitutional obligation.


Also, there’s a break every 4 or 8 years since the first year for a new president (‘21, ‘17, ‘09, ‘01, ‘93, etc) isn’t considered a State of the Union /nitpick

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So, it will happen eventually.

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No, did you look at my list? The only year there ever wasn’t a SOTU was 1933, and three years have featured two SOTUs. Such as 1981… Carter gave a SOTU in January 1981 before leaving office then Reagan gave another SOTU in February 1981 right after assuming office.

1933 didn’t have one, but there was one in December 1932 and January 1934, so only a 13 month gap (not the longest).

I believe the longest gap ever between SOTUs was between Donald Trump’s 4th on February 4, 2020 and Joe Biden’s 1st on April 28, 2021.

The closest SOTUs were Truman’s eighth on January 7, 1953 and Eisenhower’s first on February 2, 1953… a mere 26 days apart!

(Carter’s fourth and Reagan’s first were 33 days apart… a close second in proximity.)

You of all people should appreciate a nit. Your list is accurate in terms of Presidential addresses to Congress, but starting with Reagan, the President’s first address to Congress is not titled a SOTU but rather an Address to a Joint Session of Congress.


Yes, that’s why I replied.

Thanks. Yep, it struck me as the type of list that she would have corrected if someone else had posted it.

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There is criticism in some quarters that Biden broke with tradition and gave too politicized a SOTU address. I agree it was very political but given that a Trump Presidency may be a serious threat to US democratic institutions I have no problem with the politicization. In any event, SOTU speeches always have a bit of politics in them: Biden just dispensed with any subtlety.

Lol whaaaaa…

There is no way I’m going to reread an entire Trump SOTU, but I’m just pulling some quotes from the first several paragraphs of his 2020 SOTU.

From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy — slashing a record number of job-killing regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements. Since my election, we have created seven million new jobs — five million more than government experts projected during the previous administration.

And very incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country. True. If we hadn’t reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witnessing this great economic success.

Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my administration, seven million Americans have come off food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.

In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the work force. In just three years of my administration, 3.5 million people — working-age people — have joined the work force. Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by 47 percent — three times faster than the increase for the top 1 percent[…] Since my election, U.S. stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible[…] Jobs and investments are pouring into 9,000 previously neglected neighborhoods thanks to Opportunity zones, a plan spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott as part of our great Republican tax cuts.

Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens.

If forcing American taxpayers to provide unlimited free health care to illegal aliens sounds fair to you, then stand with the radical left.

That is why I’m also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies.

countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools[…] no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school.

I mean… I could go on and on and on, but you get it. The SOTU is a political address, whatever one’s thoughts about what it should be.

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Agreed. Everything else in the USA is politicized so why wouldn’t the SOTU be as well!