The national unemployment rate was eight percent, but the recent economic news was heartening. The president’s approval rating hovered below 50 percent, but his favorability was also showing an uptick. Meanwhile, the opposition party was divided by a bitter contest for the presidential nomination.
Respected by friends and foes alike as a great orator, the President prepared his State of the Union (SOTU) address to serve not only as a statement of his legislative agenda, but also as an elevated iteration of what would become the stump speech for his re-election campaign.
When it comes to campaign rhetoric, one of the most popular items on the menu these days seems to be “pork.” Candidates on both sides of the aisle have nurtured a political environment that rightfully condemns some of the past evils of earmarks and pork-barrel spending. But what this well-intended dialogue does not account for is the host of worthy projects which now benefit millions of Americans and whose existence can be attributed to congressional champions.