I enjoyed Charlie Cook’s putdown of the SOTU spectacle (see post just previous to this one). The opposite feeling, expressed for the Daily Beast by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, tastes a tad treacly to me. But, in the interest of equal time and holding down my own cynicism, here’s why Favreau says we should watch:
Along with a few championship games and award shows, the State of the Union is one of the few annual events that tens of millions of Americans still watch together, as a country. For a brief moment, we get to witness our system of government as the proud, democratic institution it was meant to be, not the sad, partisan spectacle it has too often become. Elected officials of both parties gather in one chamber, and (minus Joe Wilson) treat each other with civility, respect, and even warmth. Republicans will line up early to pose for pictures with President Obama, just as Democrats would reach over their colleagues to shake hands with President Bush. Sure, there are many times during the speech where one party applauds and the other does not. But there are many more times when both parties stand to cheer their president’s words: about our troops or our veterans; our children or our workers; our shared love of this country and its special, indispensable place in the world.