Musical Chairs for the State of the Union speech

Our elected Senators and Representatives will now hold hands and sing Kumbaya during the State of the Union address.

Well, not exactly, but a so-called bi-partisan effort is underway to depart from the traditional divided seating for this year's address.  With one-half of the bi-partisanship on the Senate side being Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and the other half including New York's Charles Schumer, the cynics among us may be forgiven.

Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics reports:

"The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room - while the other side sits - is unbecoming of a serious institution," Murkowski and Udall wrote in an open letter to their colleagues. "And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two."

By inference, the letter seems to be saying that decades of previous Congressional tradition are unbecoming of a serious institution.

As several pundits have noted, Joe Wilson should sit in the front so he doesn't have to yell so loud.

The idea for the proposed seating plan came from a Democratic think tank, called Third Way, which features, among other luminaries on its list of  "Honorary Co-Chairs," HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. 


A Third Way to push the Obama agenda?

One might speculate that the Democrats would prefer not to be clearly seen in a divided seating plan as the minority that they now are, and that this is one more effort to take the sting out of the historic defeat at the polls last November.

It is worth noting that the Constitution says the President

shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

Presidents Washington and Adams delivered their messages in speech form, but Jefferson ended that practice and used a written message to Congress because he felt the speech "reeked of British monarchy," as the New York Times describes it.

The speech format was resurrected by the consummate progressive, President Woodrow Wilson, and was made a permanent fixture by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The proof will be in the pudding when members choose their seats on the night of the address, but at least one Democrat has expressed reservations, according to Politico:

Rep. Jesse Jackson, a Democrat from Illinois, said: "The president's speech on economic rights for the American people should bring us together, not the seating chart."

Which begs a much bigger question.  Franklin Roosevelt in his 1944 address to Congress proposed an "Economic Bill of Rights," also termed a "Second Bill of Rights."

Barack Obama has spoken in the past of such economic rights and "redistributive change:"

...generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf...

While the rest of us focus on the musical chairs, the President is focused like a laser on the next steps to implement his agenda.

Watch the other hand, as Rush likes to say.
Our elected Senators and Representatives will now hold hands and sing Kumbaya during the State of the Union address.

Well, not exactly, but a so-called bi-partisan effort is underway to depart from the traditional divided seating for this year's address.  With one-half of the bi-partisanship on the Senate side being Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and the other half including New York's Charles Schumer, the cynics among us may be forgiven.

Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics reports:

"The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room - while the other side sits - is unbecoming of a serious institution," Murkowski and Udall wrote in an open letter to their colleagues. "And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two."

By inference, the letter seems to be saying that decades of previous Congressional tradition are unbecoming of a serious institution.

As several pundits have noted, Joe Wilson should sit in the front so he doesn't have to yell so loud.

The idea for the proposed seating plan came from a Democratic think tank, called Third Way, which features, among other luminaries on its list of  "Honorary Co-Chairs," HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. 


A Third Way to push the Obama agenda?

One might speculate that the Democrats would prefer not to be clearly seen in a divided seating plan as the minority that they now are, and that this is one more effort to take the sting out of the historic defeat at the polls last November.

It is worth noting that the Constitution says the President

shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

Presidents Washington and Adams delivered their messages in speech form, but Jefferson ended that practice and used a written message to Congress because he felt the speech "reeked of British monarchy," as the New York Times describes it.

The speech format was resurrected by the consummate progressive, President Woodrow Wilson, and was made a permanent fixture by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The proof will be in the pudding when members choose their seats on the night of the address, but at least one Democrat has expressed reservations, according to Politico:

Rep. Jesse Jackson, a Democrat from Illinois, said: "The president's speech on economic rights for the American people should bring us together, not the seating chart."

Which begs a much bigger question.  Franklin Roosevelt in his 1944 address to Congress proposed an "Economic Bill of Rights," also termed a "Second Bill of Rights."

Barack Obama has spoken in the past of such economic rights and "redistributive change:"

...generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf...

While the rest of us focus on the musical chairs, the President is focused like a laser on the next steps to implement his agenda.

Watch the other hand, as Rush likes to say.

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