It’s two days till Obama delivers the State of the Union address, with, no doubt, lots of warbling about ‘change’ etc etc. The origin of it is quite specific, according to the US Constitution:
He shall 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.
Inevitably it’s been debased by party politics and all that, not just by the Democrats. Here is the far more memorable phrasemaking of the incomparable Kevin D Williamson, over at National Review two years ago, now a web favourite. He truly is one of the journalistic greats
The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.
It’s the most nauseating display in American public life — and I write that as someone who has just returned from a pornographers’ convention.