State of the Union speeches are tough. Here’s why:
(1) By tradition, you have to lay out a laundry list of policy ideas.
(2) Laundry lists are inherently boring.
(3) By law, each president is required give this speech and to have guests in the audience, sitting next to the First Lady or First Man (yes, we will have a lady president one day, so this title needs to be discussed), and those people in the audience get talked about at some point in the speech. I believe Ronald the Reagan started this.
(4) Okay, giving a State of the Union speech every year is not actually a law. It’s really in the U.S. Constitution, as explained here.
(5) The audience is made up of members of Congress, which means half of them will applaud if the president successfully pronounces “America” while members of the other party will sit on their hands and sneer even if you go full Oprah on them and announce that free puppies and tax breaks for each of their districts are sitting UNDER EVERY SEAT. Continue reading “How Obama’s 2015 State of the Union tries to break the mold”