A story posted on December 6th has been circulating Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet that claims Republicans are planning to cancel President Obama’s State of the Union address next year. While some Republicans would probably like to do it out of spite, this claim is little more than an exaggeration, wrapped in hyperbole and designed to get as many clicks and shares as possible. You see, outraged liberals and Democrats are at times just as gullible as the Republicans they like to feel intellectually superior to.
On December 6th, the website samuel-warde.com ran an article with the following headline: “Republicans’ Plan To Cancel ‘State Of The Union Address’ Gaining Traction.” They cited the wishes of one Republican congressman, Paul Broun, to not invite President Obama next year as proof the Republicans were going to cancel the event.
However, that request by Congressman Broun was just one of a number of petty suggestions by Republican members of Congress who want to do whatever they can to inconvenience, annoy or actually keep President Obama from doing his job – including cutting the funding for Air Force One. This was just a small part of a story published on December 2nd by The Washington Post which covered the current anger in Republican ranks over President Obama’s recent actions on immigration.
Late Tuesday, Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) called for Boehner to not invite Obama to deliver the State of the Union address next year. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) suggested that the budgets for White House operations, including for Air Force One, should be decreased. Other conservatives have mentioned censuring the president, impeaching him or suing the administration over its immigration actions. (Source)
On December 4th, Fox News reported that Speaker Boehner had no intention of breaking the tradition of inviting President Obama to deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress, but not because he suddenly had a momentary lapse of being the partisan hack that he is.
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday rebuffed conservatives who had been urging him not to invite President Obama to deliver the State of the Union address, in protest over his executive actions on immigration.
Boehner reasoned that giving Obama the floor would hurt, not help, the president’s cause.
“The more the president talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes,” Boehner said. “Why would I want to deprive him of that opportunity?” (Source)
Even if Speaker Boehner did go along with his request, Congress cannot stop President Obama from delivering the State of the Union Address, because Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution specifically lists it as a power of the president. The address doesn’t have to be delivered personally, it just has to be sent as a letter to Congress, as was done from the time of President Jefferson until Woodrow Wilson revived George Washington’s practice of delivering it in a speech before Congress in 1913. What’s more, as this section of the Constitution reads, he could convene both Houses and deliver it to them even if they were petty enough not to invite him – whether they like it or not.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States. (Source)
So why would a website run this story claiming that Republicans were planning to cancel the State of the Union Address 2 full days after Speaker Boehner stated that would not happen? Simply put, because they count on people not to fact-check and angrily pass it on as legitimate simply because it came from a website with a liberal label.
Sadly, more and more websites both on the left and right are trying to pass themselves off as legitimate news sources when they are really little more than generators of false outrage click bait. If we cannot take the time to check our facts before sharing articles like the one from samuel-warde.com and others like it, then we really can’t criticize conservatives when they do the exact same thing.
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