StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

White House Had A Huge Communications Advantage With This Year's SOTU

26 Jan 2011
Posted by Stan Collender

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.


The real Washington

This post qualifies as wise analysis and commentary, AND truly scary. Do you think the following is an accurate prediction (unfortunately also based on objective data)?

The federal government is closed as of Wednesday the 26th of January, and will reopen for business as usual on Monday the 31st of January.

If you agree how about sending something to whatever 10-20 media sources will cover the majority of the country and suggesting a 1-800 number people can call if they notice anything? Since DC, Fairfax County, Montgomery County and as far up as Baltimore (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS) were essentially closed for a week last February, this is my guess. Fairfax VA and Montgomery MD county schools were closed for about a week last February - Parents in the area who work outside the local and federal governments were - and will be - having the time of it. Rochester or some other NY city has 50 more inches of snow than they typically have in late January, but I bet that that has less impact up there, than 1/10th the amount in the DC area has now.

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