I know I don’t.
While I will likely watch – sadly, yes, it’s a beltway thing, something like must-see TV of sorts – millions of Americans won’t. And good for them.
And honestly, I wish he wasn’t giving the damn speech in the first place.
Honestly, what is the point?
Many argue that President Joe Biden legally must give the speech – but that isn’t exactly true.
Here is what the Constitution says:
It explains that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” (You can find this in Article II, Section 3, Clause 1).
In fact, a brief look at U.S. history shows that the in-person, primetime speech is a more recent event than most people realize.
While such events are indeed history, let me get to the point of why they largely don’t matter: do you even remember what Joe Biden said last year? Thinks hard. I don’t.
Let me broaden this out a little more: Do you remember any of Donald Trump’s State of the Union speeches? And no, I am not talking about the time Nancy Pelosi ripped out Trump’s speech – that was pretty epic. I won’t forget that for sure.
My point is this: Is there any time in U.S. history when the standard State of the Union speech fundamentally altered the political direction of the nation in an epic or a massively historical way for a really long stretch of time?
I say no way.
While I will admit the speech does set the administration’s direction for at least a few weeks – maybe a few months if they are lucky – how much of a game changer is the State of the Union?
Is the speech something just simply obsolete we can’t give up? Is this just something from an era long since past, as we live in a 24-hour news cycle dominated by social media and news overloaded that relegated the SOTU to the ash heap of history long ago?
And considering the economic and political challenges Joe Biden faces these days, it might be best if he passed on this supposed tradition. It might do more harm than good. Even if he did look competent, well, would you even remember in a few weeks? Nope.
But if you care, the speech is tomorrow at 9 PM EST.
About the Author: Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar task force in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.