you can probably work out the year based on the color of the tie, and hairWhite HouseAre you excited about tomorrow night’s State of the Union, for the Reason livetweeting of course? The address has something for everyone: ritual pomp and circumstance for worshippers of the state, cheer lines for the party in power, jeer lines for the party not, and a slew of promises and claims, old and new, mostly broken and untrue, to serve as a reminder of the base nature of political discourse and action. The Obama White House spent the last few weeks pushing tomorrow’s State of the Union as the start of a “year of action.” Like a summer of recovery (or a winter of discontent?). With midterm elections in November and both sides looking to exploit any opportunity for political posturing or self-aggrandizement, any “action” they can muster is almost certain to be cringeworthy.

For those who can’t wait for Reason’s livetweeting of the State of the Union address tomorrow, here are some readings on the ritual gabbing:

  • Matt Welch jerry rigged what could pass as 2012’s, this, or any year’s State of the Union address using one sentence from each of the annual addresses to joint sessions of Congress from 1961 to 2011. Twirl towards freedom!
  • Last year John Stossel explained what President Obama should have said. It still applies, and the president will still ignore it.
  • Scott Shackford’s 2013 prediction on the big problems Obama was going to ignore in last year’s state of the union will be correct again this year.
  • Matt Welch presents seven (only seven?) forgettable states of the union by second-term (lame-duckish) presidents.
  • Obama for America Organizing for Action wanted to know what you wanted the president to say tomorrow night. He will certainly miss the opportunity again to tell young people he’s screwing them over big time.
  • Obama is expected to gin up income inequality as the greatest problem of our time despite the good news.
  • The president will be tempted to again insist America does big things. Peter Suderman explains why that’s not true.
  • Last year saw two responses to the State of the Union: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) bringing the libertarianism with the semi-official “Tea Party” response. This year will see a response from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) for the GOP, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) for the Tea Party, and Rand Paul for himself, in true libertarian fashion.
  • Thomas Jefferson put a stop to delivering the state of the union in person because it was too reminiscent of the British monarch’s “speech from the throne.” Woodrow Wilson brought the practice back into fashion, and with it launched into full gear the project of the “imperial presidency.”

And here’s a Reason TV riff on President Obama’s doubletalk from the 2010 address: