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America Needs a Bit of the Loud, Rude, Uncivilized British System

America Needs a Bit of the Loud, Rude, Uncivilized British System

One of the major stories of President Biden’s State of the Union Speech was what was described as rude behavior by a few members of the Republican majority.  There were some boos on occasion – and even calling Biden a liar when he misrepresented the Republican position on Social Security.

In fact, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd led off his analysis of the Speech by saying that what “jumped out” at him was the behavior of the Republicans.  So typical of Todd.  The Speech dealt with the most critical issues facing America, and Todd finds a few catcalls in the headline news.

Keeping with the theme of GOP rudeness, a number of cable news talking heads brought up the time Republican Congressman Joe Wilson called President Obama a lair during his State of the Union Speech.

Oddly, not one of the lefty news folks brought up the singularly most notable example of rudeness associated with a State of the Union Speech.  Remember?  It was when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union Speech in front of millions of viewers.  (How could Todd have forgotten that?)

The Founders intended the President’s report on the status of the Union to be presented factually and objectively to the Congress.  It was not intended to be a presentation to the people.  The earliest presidents provided their reports in writing.  They later addressed Congress – but in the absence of radio and television, we the people, could only read scant newspaper reports.  And there was not a lot of those.    

President Coolidge was the first to present a State of the Union Speech on the radio in 1923.  The first televised State of the Union Speech was delivered by President Truman in 1947.  As was the tradition, they were given during the daytime working hours.  The first televised Speech in evening primetime was given by President Johnson in 1965.

Unfortunately, the evolution into a major political public relations event turned it into a presidential dog-and-pony show – a scripted reality event designed to persuade, not inform.  Gone was any effort to report on the state of the Union objectively.  It has transpired into the President’s annual exercise in self-praise and partisan bragging.  It also became less objective and accurate.  It is now nothing more than a campaign speech for the person and the party that holds the White House.  One reporter even called the speech Biden’s launch of his 2024 presidential election.

The modern State of the Union Speeches are riddled with propaganda, misinformation and … yes … lies. It is no longer a civic or constitutional event but rather a partisan political charade.

Personally, I would like to see us transform the State of the Union event into something more like the British Parliament’s weekly “Prime Minister Questions.”  We would not have to do it weekly but more than once a year would be great – maybe every quarter.

Imagine if after the President makes his remarks, the assembled members of Congress – House and Senate — could pose questions for the next hour or so.  Misstatements and lies could be challenged in real time.

One of the characteristics I like about the British system is the ability of members to express their feelings with moans, groans, cheers and the stomping of feet.  It is so institutionalized that it does not seem rude at all.  Democracy is at its best when it is boisterous.  We see that in protests and at government meetings at all levels.

I was driven to that understanding when I took a visiting Chinese intern to a meeting of our local village board.   She was astounded to see people in the audience openly disagreeing with the public officials – even yelling.  She said that such behavior would never be allowed in China.  People in her country had to quietly accept what government officials said and treat them as wiser than the public.  There is no opportunity for opposing opinions.  (Sound familiar?)   Silent politeness is how authoritarians operate, not democracies.  In a true republic, we the people are loud.

Congress itself was not always suffocated by decorum.  There used to be a lot of yelling and fist-shaking.  There was even violence, with members pulling out guns and, in one case, the severe beating of a Republican Senator on the floor of the Senate by a Democrat House member – although I am not proposing we return to that level of hostility.

We no longer have a real State of the Union report.  We now have the President’s personal political spin.  What Biden gave us is the state of his presidency as he sees it from a partisan perspective – or would like us to see it – and that also applies to all modern presidents.

“Questions for the President” would be more interesting, more informative than what the State of the Union report to Congress has become in the age of media.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

22 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    State of the Union has it’s place, it is what it is.

    The rudeness is unprofessional. Dressing like a pimp is pretty off center too. Did she kill that coat?

    Pelosi was off base, her rationale just made it worse. Unprofessional.

    Your idea is grand, but no need to replace, just augment. But Peter Doocy can’t attend :>)

    I like the British method of replacing the Prime; we should do that too. Then we all can have fun watching the RINO/Magarat and Elitist/Progressive cat fights.

    • Wes kussmaul

      Howbout instead we encourage the Brits to import some of their famous civilized discourse from their private civil society into their loud, rude, uncivilized Parliament.

  2. larry Horist

    Wes kussmaul…. I find that authoritarian regimes a quite and “respectful.” The Chinese do not raise their voices in meetings, but support the decisions of the “wise leaders.” Democracy is boisterous by nature. So, I tend to like the British questions sessions. Too much respect for the top person is not good. I recall a time when a couple was arrested for screaming insults at President Clinton. That is what police states do .. no Republics. Show contempt for our leaders is what keeps them humble.

    • Tom

      Well I agree with you Larry!

      Um, but I got a question. If showing contempt for our leaders keeps them humble, and if you truly are the thought leader that I (and you) think you are, why do you hate and rail against Frank showing contempt for some of your thoughts, you know this alternate Larry thing that you say he creates? Do you not like being humble? Or is your alternate Larry theory just a way of masking an alter ego created by deep seeded personal feelings of authoritarianism? 🙂

      And how well does your theory stack up against Trump? Was he kept humble?

      I think you have stumbled onto the answer that all Frank is really doing is trying to keep you and GOP respondents humble. And the politically Independent/Unaffiliated, moderate Christian approach to this is God puts Frank in your life to keep you humble. 🙂

      • larry Horist

        Tom … You assume that I have contempt for Frank. I do not even know the guy. I strong disagree with many of his opinions ,,, call out his factual errors and his untrue statements. I never use the third–party personal (mis)characterizations. I do not respect the use of that sort of straw man as a debate cudgel. On the other hand, I do not get upset over being attacked. I may respond to them, but more like a boxer in the ring who punches back a bit. But I do not get emotional, angry or upset. It is what folks in a democratic Republic do.

        Being challenged is — or should always be — a humbling experience. I respect challenges to my facts and opinions — and in many cases, it is a learning experience. And I do not think God put Frank in my life for any reason — and more than God put me in his life. That is merely link in the long chain of events that created our past path — and the contemporary event that will lead us to the next step. Life is just a serious of divides in the road.

        I as sure that Frank is basically motivated to keep my humble, just as my responses are to have a humbling impact on him. Whether it does or not, is up to him.

        In the case of Trump, I am inclined to agree that is not humbled by much of anything. If you believe you are never wrong, you cannot be humble. But he is the exception, not the rule.

        At the bottom line, I think it is good for democrat for folks to feel empowered to insult our leaders — as opposed to bowing in supplication to the pretend wisdom and perfection of our leaders. I prefer a ruckus democracy to the manner of the Chinese, Russian and North Koreans.

        • Tom

          I agree. Thanks Larry. Great answer! So Frank is not attacking you based on what you said. In the past I felt confused because you said Frank was attacking you, but you really meant he was humbling you. . Your paths cross to humble each of you. Great! I do not always agree with Frank either, but I do always appreciate his opinion. Just as I always appreciate your opinion! 🙂

          • Frank stetson

            Well, that was creepy..

            Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that.

          • frank stetson

            I think Larry has contempt for most Democrats, at least it sure feels that way at times. I have not a clue what his personal peccadillo is with “third party mischaracterizations” or what it even means and I looked it up, and his “all out his factual errors and his untrue statements.” sounds commonplace when it is actually highly unusual. On opinions sure, but on the facts – rare, no matter what he says. Paper does not refuse ink and all that. And yes, I have gotten emotional at times when he gets personal and it sure seems he is emotional whenever he gets personal — at that happens a lot.

            It’s an anonymous website, the concept of being humble, much less humbled, does not quite fit the internet model, does it?

            I can’t speak to Russians, but in most of Asia, what Larry thinks is an improper political discourse is actually just their culture overall: business, politics, or everyday life. And, as far as I can tell, one-on-one many Asians are downright frisky at times. Just not so much in groups. I remember being warned about the listeners to my talks with heads in hands, eyes closed, was not rude and they were not sleeping, they were listening — it’s just the culture, so there it tis, people who conclude that different is wrong are generally wrong themselves.

            I find being impolite to be impolite wherever you find it. And jumping up during a SOTU speech wearing an attention-grabbing pimp-coat inside and screaming “LIAR” is impolite, at best. It’s a out-of-place cry for attention, at minimum. See me, hear me, touch me — she sure plays a mean pinball. It was neither the time or the place although I am not sure I can find one for that coat. 14th Street I think. Same with the last time Republicans pulled that stunt, or for Pelosi to rip it up. I called for Pelosi to be removed about that time, mostly because I thought her a political hack whose time had come, an artifact to things we had moved on from, like Harry Reid in the Senate, or McConnell today. Hindsight tells me I was wrong on that, will go down as one of the most legislatively influential speakers ever, not in Mike Mansfield’s manner, but her own, but the speech shredding was still wrong. Her ability to hold the administration accountable will be legendary. But still a terrible moment.

            Trump is not the exception as Larry states, he is the archetype, they are everywhere now. MTGreene is just the latest show dog in that ever widening ring where you will find both parties represented, just more Republicans, and hardly any Independents.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … I do not know where to begin. You post is overtaken by inaccuracies of opinion and fact. You seem to assusme too much.

            1. I do not have contempt for most Democrats. My criticisms are directed to polices and individual leaders. I think most Democrats are great Americans and wonderful people — including my closes friends and family members. I push back at the current Democrat narrative that calls virtually all Republicans from leaders to voters insurrectionists, cultists, anti-Democracy. crazies, etc., etc. etc. If you could read my commentaries rationally and with out bias, you would see I never attack Democrats as a class. I do not stereotype. You slipped into that at the end by saying that Trump is not the exception. So … everything you hate about Trump applies to Republicans generally. On that basis, it is YOU who have disdain for Republicans overall.

            2. You assume your opinions are facts. Often you produce a link to support your opinion, and that links to an opinion. There are very few facts in political debate. Even polls are opinions based on the models developed by the pollsters. You recently cited PEW re- cities. The result they announced seems totally wrong. Not sure what they were looking for. You even produced evidence of their error by showing research that indicated only 25 percent of the largest cities are Republican controlled.

            3. Like you, I have had extensive dealing in Asia. I understand the cultural differences — especially when it comes to negotiations. In fact, one of my jobs was to education business folks heading to Asia. However, what you see as politeness toward government officials, I see — and they see — as oppression. But you make me laugh. You choose to believe the person who told you that the closed eyes was their way of listening. LMAO. I cannot say that I ever experienced that “custom” when I gave speech in Asian.

            4. You miss the point on impolite. I do consider certain statements and certain actions to be impolite and even vulgar or provocative, but I accept that as a First Amendment right — not something to be cancelled or oppressed.

            5. An finally, you fall into one of the oldest human traps. You ASSUME that I am like you. You say that you do get emotional at times in our dialogues. And that when I get personal (in your opinion) it seems (to yo) that I am emotional. Not so. Nothing you say — the insults, the creation of the imaginary Larry Horist (of which this is another example), or you accusations — get me emotional or upset. In fact, you cannot get me emotional because I take the back and forth at face value. When you lie about me or misrepresent my in your characterizations, it is meaningless. Why should I get upset with a person who has only the narrowest existence in my life — and virtually no meaning? It just looks like you are projecting your personality onto me — a person you do not know at all. If you look over our exchanges, you would be hard press to find me criticize you as a person. I may say you are ignorant of certain facts. Or that you have misrepresented a situation — even lied. But that is all situational. I have, on occasion, even declared that I cannot comment on you personally because I do not know you. I most recently said that in these changes. I take your word that you are a successful businessman … a good family man …. a civic mined person … because i have not basis to challenge your contentions.

            6. In generally, I find you arguments to be less than compelling … poorly supported … and too tinged by both bias and a desire to “take me on.” But that is just my opinion.

          • frank stetson

            Larry, I “assusme” nothing; that is not a word.

            1. You may not have contempt for most Democrats. I never said that. I said “I think” and that “it sure feels that way sometimes.” I guess you are faulting me for my “inaccuracies of opinion,” a thing that really leaves open your opinions in turn to all sorts of “inaccuracies for anything Larry does not like. Guess that’s the power of free speech to disown someone else’s opinion on a whim. Like your entire response here :>). I dismiss all the opinions for inaccuracy. Why not. Not like you can prove it, right?

            After your inaccurate self-serving loving-the-Democrat blather, you note: “current Democrat narrative that calls virtually all Republicans from leaders to voters insurrectionists, cultists, anti-Democracy. crazies, etc., etc.” Source please. Especially the ALL REPUBLICANS are insurrectionists, cultists, anti-Democracy, etc. part. That’s a good one.

            “On that basis, it is YOU who have disdain for Republicans overall,” Yeah, source that one too, that’s an even better one.

            2. Do you have an example or are you guessing again?

            “There are very few facts in political debate.” There’s a quote for you.
            “polls are opinions based on the models.” Reminds me of Queen’s “… Nothing really matters, Anyone can see, nothing really matters,” where the only truth is what anyone (Larry) can see. And that’s SCARY.

            It gets better: “You recently cited PEW re- cities. The result they announced seems totally wrong. Not sure what they were looking for.” And you didn’t even have to look at it to be able to kvetch.

            “You even produced evidence of their error by showing research that indicated only 25 percent of the largest cities are Republican controlled.” Uh — PEW study was 1976 to 2012 and references Presidential voting preferences, not party affiliation, so a pointer, not a 100% fit. The later evidence I provided on the 25% was for 2022, and dealt with mayors, not Presidential preference or voter-party-demographics, actually looking a tad higher than 2021. So, some data apples-to-apples problems and your timing was certainly off. To accomplish this, you took two different posts, cherry-picked data out of context, and then, put them together to make your third eye comparison…. Now that’s some objective, analytical, fact-based sleuthing.
            And you did it all without glancing at the source material: superb.

            3. I am not sure what “gave a speech in Asian” actually means, but I am impressed you speak Asian. They must be impressed when you tell Asians that. As one of my hosts once said: “you know, Asia is a really big place.”

            In closing, I think you really summed up the humble, open, listening, caring, empathetic, Larry (NOT) when you said: “But you make me laugh. You choose to believe the person who told you that the closed eyes was their way of listening. LMAO. I cannot say that I ever experienced that “custom” when I gave speech in Asian.” How open minded and curious you must be. Or did you decide, fuck him, he’s a Democrat.

            http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/missconduct/2011/10/why_do_japanese.html#:~:text=Often%2C%20closed%20eyes%20are%20a,focusing%20only%20on%20the%20sound.

            “Often, closed eyes are a sign that a Japanese person is listening intently. Japanese believe that by closing their eyes, they can hear more effectively, because they are screening out the visual stimulus and focusing only on the sound.”

            You basically call me a liar, this time actually on the facts. Let’s get personal.

            You are too fucking arrogant to even check or jfgi.

            You call my Japanese host a liar (you don’t even know him and you get personal) who has fun fooling with Americans (OK, the fun part is right!)

            And your proof is that you never experienced it therefore it cannot pass. Very humble.

            That’s who YOU are, with all due respect, Larry, with my EVIDENCE and SOURCES provided. And a link. And your own words, as you said them, apparently unedited.

            Heck with the rest, you are already way off base and once again you just want to deal from your personal problems with me, although you love me or so you say and not deal with the issues, facts, or reality for that matter.

            BUSTED for not even bothering to look.

            Back to the issues …….

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson. … I now understand why you confessed to getting emotional. You latest contribution suggests very tender leaves … and is full of your usual innuendoes and straw man misinformation. You cannot stop obsessing over me and engaging in meaningless bickering. I do not have the time to engage — especially since it serves no purpose.

  3. Tom

    I think the SOTU should be a business meeting report on the health of the Federal Government. It should be fact based and detail achievement againts SMART goals. Government processes should have key department process metrics and indicators that feed into the report that is then given by the POTUS quarterly, with a yearly summation of the four reports. Since there may be many goals, each quarterly report can focus on one set of goals such as Q1 = Financial and Economic Health , Q2 = Environmental and Social Health, Q3 = Law, Justice, and SCOTUS Decisions, Q4 = Foreign Policy Health and Threats. Then the SOTU address is a yearly video and online with Powerpoint presentation (Ross Peroe style infomercials) that rolls up the four quarterly reports into how well over government is functioning and satisfying the people. Twelve year plans (so that at least three administrations can be spanned) should be created and adjusted based on how government is meeting its stated goals.

    I recommend that several of us from this blog that have pontificated to never before scene levels of nausea form a consultancy to serve the Fed in this regard. Call it the FLAT Group, where FLAT stands for Frank, Larry, and Tom. 🙂

    • larry Horist

      Tom … based on the history of the SOTUS, you could argue that your model is more like what they intended. A communication of the state of the various functions of government provided to Congress. I do believe that Washington — and others — would be shocked and disappointed to see what a pile of partisan dung the report to Congress has become.

      • Tom

        I agree Larry! Many people do not even watch it anymore because it is so partisan! State of the Union should be about results against goals. Not about partisanship and jockeying for position.

  4. Darren

    Maybe the only reason Pelosi tor up Trumps speech in front of the cameras is because
    she new he was correct.
    She did not agree with anything he said, but non the less hard to refute.

    Most of Trumps speeches we done with him just talking to the people.
    He answered questions as they came from what I remember.
    It was hard to recall as CNN would cut from his speeches as they did on J6.
    Most people watching never herd him say march peacefully.
    I guess that would be the magic of Time Delay, you know incase he said a bad word.

    I heard the SOTU on the radio as I was still working, I did not hear any of the remarks being spoken of.
    When I saw in later that night I heard and saw what is being discussed.

    Again the remarks against the Presidents speech were hard to pick up.
    I guess once again that is the magic of Radio delay.

    When will congress address the issue of the media reporting ALL of what is taking place.
    I had disagreements with some of the younger voters about J6. Trump never said March Peacefully, Oh yes he did.
    Selective auditing is just as bad as denial.
    Maybe if there was a bit more commotion, at least the Radio listener would have had some ideas what was taking place.

  5. DOMINIC PASQUAROSA

    Chance to call out the LIARS, TRAITORS with the facts in front of them!! LOUD AND CLEAR, NO HOLDING BACK SLAMMING THE DIRTY DEMOCRATS!!

  6. ShadowMerlin

    Perhaps it would be more beneficial to completely do away with parties!!! Each elected official should be representing his own constituents, not a party.

    From the beginning the framers of the new Constitution desperately wanted to avoid the divisions that had ripped England apart in the bloody civil wars of the 17th century. In his farewell address, George Washington warned us against parties, saying: “You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together,” Washington declared. “The Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

    Now, at least on one side, all the people elected from that party are virtually forced to comply with party rules and ideology. The other side isn’t quite as demanding, but their openness allows the other side to walk all over them.

    • larry Horist

      ShadowMerlin … It is an enticing thought, but since there is always a divide in the philosophic approach to politics and governance — basically between a strong regulator central government and a bottom up limited government philosophy — there will always be a polarization. It is reflected in two parties — but even where there is one-party in charge, you see the polarization in internal factions. The binary foundation of government thinking leads to the polarization. Even in places where they have multiple parties, they tend to cluster on one end of the continuum or the other. If it was Washington’s hope not to have political parties, that hope was dashed the moment he took office — between the federalists and anti-federalists. For many reasons, the two-party system — for all its faults — is the best and most democratic form of government. It enable the people to swing the pendulum.

    • Tom

      I have thought this for a long time. And if we cannot do away with parties, then everyone should be an Independent/Unaffiliated voter like me!

      • larry Horist

        Tom … We all know how proud you are of being an unaffiliated independent. There is nothing wrong with being unaffiliated, but there is also nothing wrong with be a member of one party or the other. Independents are not morally or intellectually superior to folks with partisan labels — and there are times your self-praise suggests that.. With some exceptions, independents take themselves of out the process of choosing the candidates who will be on the ballot. That could be seen as a dereliction of civic duty — or at least a disinterest in the first stage of the process. Also, the greatest relative proportion of non-voters are unaffiliated. I am sure you are not one of them, but that is one of the results of non-affiliation . And after decades in politics, I can say with certainty that most independents lean heavily in on direction or the other in terms of their philosophy and vote habits. I consider myself an independent Republican. I operate through that Party because it mostly — not perfectly — represents my conservative views. So, you might call me an independent with a party affiliation. lol

  7. Jpop

    Yawn..same ol talk…blah blah blah. blather blather blather.

    • larry Horist

      Jpop … Glad to see the commentaries continue to attract your attention. Thanks.

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