Fun fact: The Constitution requires that the President give information to the Congress about the “State of the Union,” but doesn’t specify a length, format or periodicity – for a little more than a century, the address was written by the President and read aloud to the Congress by a clerk. Although it feels like there’s only one way to do the “State of the Union,” the President has options – and I wish President Obama would step outside the box a bit for tonight’s speech (though I know he won’t)
I don’t like how the speech has such a “checklist” nature to it – the President has to hit each and every issue of the day and say something about it. The problem with that is when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
So I enjoyed this article, proposing President Obama make the SOTU a) 10 minutes long and b) accompanied by a Power Point presentation with graphs. I disagree with the “four points” the author says Obama should make, but I love the idea – make it short and sweet, and include some effective infographics to underline the key points. The “checklist” version of the speech could still submitted as a written addendum, to provide an official status of all of the executive branch’s authority.
In a perfect world, the speech (including all the pomp and circumstance) should be no longer than a half an hour, should have some powerful graphics to back it up and should focus only on a few key issues. It would be even better if it were followed up by a speech by the House/Senate leaders and then a Presidential rebuttal, but that’s probably too much to hope for.