Shortly after the President has finished the State of the Union, and the TV commentators have offered their views, the opposition ( Democrat or Republican) party presents its version of the State of the Union in the form of a rebuttal. I can not take the rebuttal seriously. How can they thoughtfully and properly rebut something they have just heard minutes before? The President’s staff have been working for days, probably weeks crafting a speech around what they consider key ideas and issues and how to deal with them. What is the President’s plan to move our great nation forward? Whether I agree with that plan or not, I at least have to recognize that some smart people gave the ideas and proposals a lot of thought. I recognize that the opposition party has its own smart people who have been studying condition of the nation (state of the union) and have well thought out ideas of where we are and where we need to go, BUT that is not the same as rebutting the specifics of the President’s State of the Union. They don’t allow themselves any time to study his proposals and determine what they might be willing to support, at least partially. Nor do they allow themselves time to properly craft alternative proposals, so I cannot or will not take them seriously.
My proposal: 1) The “Opposition State of the Union” should be held the night after the President’s State of the Union, showing respect for the office of the President. 2) The opposition rebuttal should be presented a couple weeks later, after (at least a pretense of) studying it. “Just say NO” politics does not move our nation forward. 3) The rebuttal itself should be presented by a ranking U.S. congressman, preferable THE ranking opposition party Senator or Representative, not the governor of some state, who is essentially irrelevant to the rest of us.
The present format strikes me as just more media (TV) theater, like the Home Run Derby or the run-up to the Super Bowl.
If we are to give our Grandchildren a better world, our country’s leaders must engage in honest, respectful, and well considered exchange of ideas, opinions, and solutions. Further it would be beneficial if the TV news conducted themselves as more than political theater.