Anticipating the State of the Union

Tonight, President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union Address in dutiful fulfillment of his obligation as set down by the Constitution: “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.”

Since then, “from time to time” has become an annual ritual that the Washington Post’s George F. Will derided as a “tiresome exercise in political exhibitionism…As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary” in his column over the weekend.

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan disagrees with Mr. Will. She considers the annual ritual “a promising moment, a chance to wake everyone up.” In her weekend column she cited great moments delivered by John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. But she is dubious about Barack Obama:

He has been for five years a nonstop windup talk machine. Most of it has been facile, bland, the same rounded words and rounded sentiments, the same soft accusations and excuses… But nothing interesting was being said! Looking back on this presidency, it has from the beginning been a 17,000 word New Yorker piece in which, calmly, sonorously, with his lovely intelligent voice, the president says nothing, or little that is helpful, insightful or believable.

Is she correct? Or will Mr. Obama rise to the occasion?

The nation will find out tonight. Watch it. And tell us what you think.