Archive for January 24, 2012

State of the Union: Live

We’re live­blog­ging the State of the Union address here. Join us for the discussion.

The live­blog por­tion is after the jump, to keep the front page tidy. (more…)

Hate of the Union

Last year’s Hate-​​In

The President’s annual State of the Union address is a much-​​anticipated event. While the Pres­i­dent is required to “from time to time give to the Con­gress Infor­ma­tion of the State of the Union” (Arti­cle II, Sec­tion 3), the form of the address, and the pomp and cir­cum­stance which now accom­pa­nies the event, is a mat­ter of more long-​​standing tra­di­tion than law.

While pre­vi­ous Pres­i­dents have gen­er­ally been given def­er­ence, and dis­agree­ment has been masked with stony silence, Pres­i­dent Obama has not had that lux­ury dur­ing pre­vi­ous addresses to joint ses­sions of Con­gress. Recall Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Joe Wil­son’s (R-​​Springdale, SC) famous “You Lie!” dur­ing a 2009 joint ses­sion where Pres­i­dent Obama unveiled his health care plan. (Rep. Wil­son later apol­o­gized, then retracted his apol­ogy.) Dur­ing the 2010 State of the Union, Pres­i­dent Obama openly crit­i­cized the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens United deci­sion:

With all due def­er­ence to sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a cen­tury of law that I believe will open the flood­gates for spe­cial inter­ests — includ­ing for­eign cor­po­ra­tions — to spend with­out limit in our elections.

which then caused Jus­tice Samuel Alito, who had ruled with a five-​​to-​​four court major­ity, to mouth the words “not true”. (By the way, Poli­ti­fact agrees with Jus­tice Alito, rat­ing this state­ment by Pres­i­dent Obama “mostly false”.)

What can we expect from tonight’s address? Pres­i­dent Obama will make a baldly polit­i­cal state­ment, ask­ing Con­gress to advance jobs ini­tia­tives and fis­cal stim­u­lus that he knows has no chance of pass­ing. His oppo­nents will use their dis­sent as an oppor­tu­nity for their own ver­sion of grandstanding.

The jock­ey­ing for polit­i­cal advan­tage has already begun. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who will sit behind the Pres­i­dent dur­ing the speech, has already indi­cated he thinks the speech’s con­tent will be “pathetic”. Mean­while, the group No Labels will try to get Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Sen­a­tors from both sides of the aisle to sit together — literally.

What do you think? Pathos or bathos? Tragedy or comedy?

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