State of the Union not always the made-for-media event it is today

jkidd@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 12, 2013 

The nation will be atwitter tonight â€" and these days, that is to be taken literally â€" with President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. I'm sure it will lead our newspaper tomorrow and be the subject of much punditry on newscasts for the next few days.

Strictly speaking, these addresses have always had a political bent to them, but as I pointed out in a blog post following Obama's 2011 address, they have slowly morphed into an extension of the never-ending campaign trail, more about the president's agenda than giving legislators a heads up.

As such, today's addresses are dutifully followed by a response from the major party that doesn't hold the presidency, a practice that begain in 1966. This exercise expanded in 2011 to include a third address from a politician speaking on behalf of the tea party movement.

It's doubhtful this is what the framers had in mind when, in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, they commanded the president to “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.â€

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