No one likes the State of the Union. The media hates covering it. The speechwriters hate writing it: They have to wrangle dozens of different departmental stakeholders all vying for attention while also managing a principal who never hears the word “no.” The sacrificial lamb tapped to deliver the opposition response hates it, because no one ever comes out of the rebuttal looking good. And voters don’t care about the speech, either. It’s an incoherent laundry list of pablum and no matter what is happening—fear, famine, war, recession—somehow the state of our union is always “strong.”
So now that Nancy Pelosi has asked Trump to postpone this year’s SOTU, he could do America a real service by declining to give an address at all. Instead, he could send a written version to Congress—which is how the SOTU was delivered by all presidents from Thomas Jefferson through William Taft. And then in 1913 Woodrow Wilson—a self-aggrandizing blow-hard if there ever was one—decided he wanted to give the speech in person. Like Washington had done.