The fight between Congress and the President is heating up. Ranging from mild political correctives to insults of almost no political import, Republicans in Congress are cooking up a battle plan for fighting Obama:
Late Tuesday, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) called for Boehner to not invite Obama to deliver the State of the Union address next year. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) suggested that the budgets for White House operations, including for Air Force One, should be decreased. Other conservatives have mentioned censuring the president, impeaching him or suing the administration over its immigration actions.
Not inviting the President to give the State of the Union address? What the…? Sometimes I wonder about the state of American politics. Well, all the time. But it is becoming especially ludicrous these days. The State of the Union address is supposed to be an accountability measure. I understand that in recent years, it has become more of a soapbox for the President, but that was not its original purpose. You can find the command for a State of the Union address in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution:
He [the president] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
This information was not meant to be a political tool to further the president’s personal agenda or establish the rosy terms of his tenure. Instead, the State of the Union address was intended to inform the Congress of real problems in the country that only Congress could help to fix. In that sense, it is meant to highlight those places where the civil government is failing—not so much where it is succeeding.
If Congress really wanted to move forward, they should ask Obama to give an address similar to the original constitutional intent. They could basically say, “Tell us what you think is most wrong with this country at present, and give us some practical measures we could take to fix it.” But Congress won’t do that. Because right now, our civil government is in the midst of the punchline for a partisan joke. If I had a desire to watch staged fights, I would tune into professional wrestling. It’s a lot more realistic.