The State of the Rhetoric
The first state of the union speech that I’m aware of having watched was one given by President Bill Clinton, and I remember being astonished at his series of promises to everybody. All hands out would be filled. Such speeches are little more than political drama, pumped by media organizations looking for some easy, pre-generated headlines.
It would be different if the speech were more of what one might expect of an annual presentation by the President before the legislature: A reckoning and one-night-only declaration of truth and principle. Instead, predictably, it’s all about how everything that the President has done has been wonderful and successful… but the work’s not done, so he’s got to do a lot more. And so on.
Personally, I’m way too busy to sit down for that sort of civic obligation. If I’m going to devote my limited time to pure drama, I want it at least to be entertaining.