Kire Schneider Online

Thursday, February 7, 2013

C-Span: Video: Senate Historian Donald Ritchie: History of the State of the Union Address



The whole point of the United States State of The Union address is for the President to layout the situation of the country. Across the board and all sorts of issues and also for the President to layout where he wants to take the country for that year. And a lot of times it depends on how well the country is doing, how popular the President is. What's the situation with Congress, who controls the House and Senate and by what margins and how popular the. Congressional Leadership is that will determine what if anything the President will be able to accomplish that year. Ronald Reagan came in on a big wave in 1981 and even though Congressional Republicans only controlled. The Senate, Republicans were up in 1981, Democrats were down and not very popular and were essentially. Forced to work with President Reagan and the Republican Senate to avoid losing more power now that they only controlled the House of Representatives. But six years later thanks to Iran Contra and Democrats winning back the Senate in 1986 in the Congressional midterms and. Adding seats to their House majority, President Reagan lost a lot of his power base.

So State of The Union address's can be very effective or not memorable at all and not important. Depending on the President and where the President stands politically, what he wants to accomplish, how realistic it is. And what's his party's standing in Congress and what position the opposition party is in to either work with the President. And his party in Congress or try to derail what the President is trying to accomplish because they feel no need. To work with them or are too far apart.