White House Had A Huge Communications Advantage With This Year's SOTU
Aside from the seating arrangements, the theatrics and choreography of tonight’s State of the Union speech were far different than usual and gave the White House a definite communications advantage as far as the budget is concerned.
The usual schedule is for the SOTU to be delivered 3-5 days before the budget is released. That means the president typically has a very short time to talk about the big positive themes included in the speech before the specific revenue and spending changes become the news. In some cases this has started to happen within just a day of the SOTU because the budget details started to leak.
This year will be different because the budget won’t be sent to Congress until the week of February 14 at the earliest. That will give the White House 3 weeks or more to keep the focus on the themes and dreams the president mentioned without having to shift to defending the specific proposals. That will make it far tougher for the GOP to criticize what the president talks about and push them to find creative ways of changing the discussion back to the Republican agenda.
Update: And it worked. The president's limited specifics may be noted (take a look at Ezra Klein's comments, for example), but the bottom line is that there were no specifics to talk about so the discussion is about the themes.