Here are links to SOTUS by President Bush and the Democrats response by James Webb (D-VA). VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT of Bush's SOTUS, and, here (Fox News). The Democrats' Response, and here (Fox News)
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his message in a speech to Congress. By 1945, FDR's speech formally became known as the "State of the Union" speech. The power of television and mass communication media have firmly established this annual tradition. There's lots of pageantry and planned posturing, but it is also an opportunity for both sides to score some political points. Yet, it is the President's hour to speak to the nation. Presidents have a great deal of power but perhaps the most important power they have it the power to persuade. They hold the biggest megaphone and when they speak everyone hears them--even if many people don't really listen or agree with them.
Obviously the popularity of the president affects his power to convince and how his message is received. Unfortunately for G.W. Bush, several polls that came out a couple days ago show that he's hovering around 28 to 34% approval ratings. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 75%, disapprove of his Iraq policy, including the latest escalation plans.
This is the first time for president Bush that he has to work with a Democratic House & Senate. In his 6 years in office, he used his veto only once--against stem cell research/funding. His veto stood. There is going to be lots of gridlock in the system in the next 2 years as the two branches fight for their agendas, but it is the Democrats who are more eager to pass legislation and win points with the American electorate. In less than 2 years, the whole House and 1/3 of the Senate are up for re-election, as well as the big prize: the White House.