A Very Weird Speech

Dan Pfeiffer: “Last year, 38 million people tuned in to watch President Biden deliver his constitutionally mandated report on the state of the union. A similar number will watch tonight’s speech. Absent a major national event on par with the Space Shuttle Challenger crash or the operation to take out Osama Bin Laden, the audience tonight will be more than ten times larger than that of any other speech Biden will give this year. The speech will also receive a ton of press attention. It has already been the subject of approximately one million thumb-sucking think pieces. The State of the Union really is a tradition like no other.”

“The State of the Union is also a weird speech. It’s a grand venue with a big audience in the room and across the nation. Even the least presidential Presidents look somewhat presidential giving the speech. In many ways, the State of the Union is a high-floor, low-ceiling speech. It’s hard to screw up, but it’s also hard to soar. The history, the moment, and the setting can be very restrictive.”

Jonathan Bernstein: “I hope Joe Biden’s State of the Union address is boring. It ought to be.”

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