I really dislike the State of the Union speech. Has there ever been a truly memorable State of the Union speech? In my adult lifetime, at least, they have uniformly been dull, much too long, and a grab-bag of turgid policy proposals tossed in to please various special interest groups and then quickly forgotten. Who can sit for an hour or more and listen to a President rattle on about investment tax credits, or off-shore drilling, or whatever program suggestion has been submitted by the Secretary of Education or the Secretary of Health and Human Services?
If I had only one wish, however, it would be that President Obama start the speech by asking Members of Congress to refrain from any applause until the speech is over. Nothing is more annoying than the forced and phony “standing ovations” and “speech interrupted by applause” incidents during the speech. We would all be better off if the assembled dignitaries just sat on their hands, listened respectfully, and then filed quietly out of the House chamber, so that we can all get back to our lives (and our regularly scheduled programming) as quickly as possible.