“Some day my prince will come” — Larry Morey

February 6, 2010

BARACK OBAMA

It’s not that I don’t like ritual – I’m a Catholic, for heaven’s sake. And I can never be distracted when the managers exchange lineup cards before a baseball game. But there can be too much of a good thing, and the State of the Union speech is an example of that.

Every year I am disappointed after hoping that some president — I’ve been waiting since Franklin Roosevelt’s last term — will talk some sense into us. Every year I hope to see the sergeant -at-arms announce the president, and the president come in from the wings instead of striding down the center aisle as though he were George Clooney on yet another red carpet and Carrie Ann Inaba were waiting to gush all over his silk suit.

THOMAS JEFFERSON

The speech isn’t even necessary. The Constitution doesn’t require it; it only calls on the president “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.”

After George Washington and John Adams established the precedent of strutting into Congress to give that “information,” Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice, and it wasn’t revived until Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Presidents in the meantime sent only written messages. The republic survived the hiatus.

WOODROW WILSON

I’ll probably still be alive in 2013. Maybe the man or woman who takes office that January will quiet the Members and speak as follows: “Let’s try this. Don’t applaud again until I’ve said, ‘And God bless the United States of America,’ and don’t get out of your chair again unless you have to use the bathroom.”

I realize that this would put a burden on the commentators who analyze the “state of the union” by the pattern of standing O’s, but maybe that challenge would make them better journalists.

I’m a little late in getting to this, but I wanted it on the record. And, hey, Irving Kahal, “I can dream, can’t I?”

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