President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Address this evening in accordance with Article II, Sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution which states, “The president shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
On January 8, 1790 our first President, George Washington, personally delivered his message to Congress. Back then “instant communication” was through newspapers only; and it remained so until 1923, when President Coolidge’s annual message was broadcast on the radio. Fast forward to today with instant communication, and our Presidents still adhere to the requirement of the U.S. Constitution.
Here’s my beef. Why does the opposing party – it doesn’t matter if it is Democratic or Republican – feel the need to offer a rebuttal? There is no provision the Constitution for this. In fact, the first official opposition response to a president’s annual speech didn’t occur until 1966. And then, as now, we had a Democratic president and a Republican rebuttal.
I’m probably too idealistic, but if the Constitution requires the President to make such a speech, why do we turn it into a political back-and-forth, especially at election time? For one night out of the year, why can’t we consider that the President is merely doing his job and doesn’t need a second opinion?