The Corner

The one and only.

Our Worst Political Ritual


The State of the Union address is my least favorite American political ritual. Explicitly monarchical in form and origin, it is an affront to republican manners, a vanity fair for the political class. Jefferson, I read, had the good sense to skip the ceremony and send a letter; the progressive Wilson resurrected the dog-and-pony show. (And that should tell you something about the real fundamentals of American politics.) 

In its modern form, the State of the Union is an absolute embarrassment, no matter the president giving it. I liked George W. Bush, and liked to hear him talk: His SOTUs were ghastly, and the great-American-hero-in-the-gallery bits are particularly awful.

Obama’s a hip, modern guy, so here’s a thought: an SOTU Facebook update.