Kevin Rafferty’s Feb. 1 article, “President Obama’s dreams are suffering nightmares,” reads like a love letter to Barack Obama, calling him the “young, intelligent, telegenic president.”
Research by Matt Welch of Reason magazine shows that no speech varies less from president to president than the State of the Union address. Talking down to the American people at the eighth-grade level, as some say, is only a symptom of the underlying disease that infects virtually all politicians: paternalism.
Obama and his ideological allies see government as the one and only force of good in the otherwise chaotic and depraved lives of its citizens. Those who disagree with the president’s positions are immediately labeled “ignorant” or “incapable of understating his message” because of the supposed intelligence gap between the unwashed commoner and the genius in chief.
The State of the Union address has become a political speech, so it is natural to find short, simple sentences that are strong on impact and weak on details.
Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution states that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” The critical word here is “Congress,” not “the people.” Future presidents should return to the tradition of delivering a written address to Congress. Such an address would appeal more to reason and less to emotion, thereby raising the quality of political discourse in America.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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