Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today's State of the SOTU

More and more interesting SOTU tidbits to share this fine chilly day with our fellow speech junkies.  Here are the highlights so far.
  • ABC's The Note offers some historical catnip for speechers and preachers alike -- a compendium of notable biblical references in past State of the Unions, starting with FDR's address in 1936.  One of our favorites is Reagan's nod to Timothy in 1984: "Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith." 
  • The Washington Post got a wide range of esteemed business leaders, and policy works, and speech pros to offer their thoughts on the topics President Obama should focus on in this year's speech.  There are lot of votes for talking tough on the federal deficit and debt.  But former Clinton speechwriter and current Punditwire poohbah Bob Lehrman suggests a contrarian tack: They save lives every day - by fighting a forest fire in California, helping planes avoid collision or interpreting a new law that makes food safe. Who? The federal workforce. The Republican Study Group's recent spending-cut proposal targets those workers - by firing 3,000 food inspectors, for example. Apparently, the way to create jobs is to cut them. So while the State of the Union address will clearly be about jobs and the economy, President Obama should defend those workers. . . [He] should announce that he will not accept draconian cuts that take a meat axe to the federal workforce. "We're about putting Americans to work," he should say, "not putting these brave workers out to pasture."
  • Not to be outdone, the New York Times also posted a survey of Beltway expert types from the left, right and center on what President Obama should say.  Sadly, they didn't include one political speechwriter.  Among those who did get asked to comment, the award for unfettered optimism goes to Tea Party Patriot coordinators Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin: “Based on his newfound understanding and respect for the views of the majority of Americans, Tea Party Patriots hopes that he will encourage repeal of Obamacare in the Senate, and then sign the bill and begin to engage in true bipartisan negotiations to solve the nation’s health care problems.”

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