26 January 2011

The State of the Union - An Independent Response to a Constitutional Crisis

The State of the Union...a misnomer if ever there was one. When did we drop the state of the union from the State of the Union address? I don't think that any President since I've become politically aware has really talked about the state of the union. Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution states, "He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;" It's seems to have become a more pep rally, feel good about being an American speech with a little goal setting thrown in for good measure. Talk about a constitutional crisis! Not that any of that is a bad thing. We put a man on the moon in response to a challenge issued during a State of the Union address. And we all need a certain amount of rah-rah to keep us pumped up and moving forward. Sidebar: As a person who doesn't fly, I'm excited about the prospect of high-speed rail. But I digress.

The Republican response wasn't really a response at all. Perhaps they should consider calling it something else, or waiting until they have actually developed a response to deliver it. Representative Ryan of Wisconsin was well spoken, if a bit pedagogic, but he didn't deliver a response to the State of the Union and came off looking a little foolish. For example, the President asked for suggestions as to making changes to the health care reform law to make it better; the Republican response, we are committed to repealing it because it doesn't work. It was a childish response and not very constructive. The Republican response went on to say that they are for lower taxes. Wait. I'm confused. Aren't these the same people who not so very long ago, vowed to repeal the tax cuts implemented by a former....Republican.....president. So are they for lower taxes or aren't they? And for smaller government. Wait. How much did the Executive Branch grow when the alien and sedition act was passed in 2001 at the behest of a Republican president? So are they for smaller government or aren't they?

Both parties would do well to take a stroll down the National Mall and re-read the four pages of parchment dated September 17, 1787. Yes, that's right, just four pages set in motion this almost 225-year experiment in democracy. How long was the health care reform bill? A couple of thousand pages?

May we have James, Alex and company back please?

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