Before the 24 hour news cycle and alternative communication platforms like facebook and twitter, the President’s address to the joint session of Congress was a unique opportunity. It was the epoch of the power of the bully pulpit and I devoured it ravenously. Now, it feels a bit anachronistic.
When Truman delivered the first televised address to a joint session of Congress, it was ground breaking technology beamed right into your living room. When Reagan paid special honor to guest Lenny Skutniks he created a new type of political message that all future presidents have come to emulate.
It was striking to me then that Pres. Trump’s State of the Union address on January 30th did not break similar ground. The President has successfully acted as a political disrupter so frequently that I have come to expect it.
On policy, I’m very interested to learn more about the administration’s specific infrastructure development strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a statement shortly after the speech stating that they “share the president’s commitment to modernizing America’s infrastructure.” I join them in the same commitment and look forward to essential progress here.
There was significantly more detail presented on immigration reform. However, the final deal is far from done. If Congress is to meet the March 5 deadline for a deal on the status of DACA recipients, then they must reconcile the proposal from (R-SC) Graham and (D-IL) Durbin with the administration’s position.
But neither party shifted the conversation on Tuesday. Though the president officially endorses citizenship for DACA recipients, the overall message was very much in line with his campaign rhetoric. Meanwhile, the Democratic response communicated just as clearly to the base on the left.
This tells me that it the State of the Union is no longer leading the conversation and I wonder aloud, is it worth our attention anymore?