If the State of the Union speech is the artisanal homebrew of the political year, State of the State addresses are buying tall boys in bulk.
History suggests that President Obama will deliver 7,000-odd words in his address. So far in 2013, governors in 44 states have laid out nearly 200,000 words of State of the State stock-taking. Carving this rhetorical thicket into what’s relevant to national politics and what’s not provides a survey of support for current policies, a sense of how new proposals may be received and a reminder that states churn with concerns far beyond the issues that will be wedged into primetime TV. Most used words in each 2013 State of the State address
Education and the economy dominate the 10 most-used words in each State of the State address . Governors riffed on one broad economic story this year — and Obama is sure to follow suit — of recovery from the financial crisis with a long road ahead. To hear governors tell it, the turnaround relied on state commitments to hard budgetary choices and careful rebuilding to overcome inaction in Washington, D.C. Obama must convince the nation, particularly the middle class, that he can wrangle Washington to prime the nation for growth amid sequestration and gridlock — perhaps with an emphasis on infrastructure and clean energy projects, which regularly featured in this year’s state addresses.
On education, it’s no surprise that governors touted programs aimed at teachers and students. Expect Obama to follow the governors’ lead on this perennial political winner, employing a strong anecdote or two and emphasizing the need to improve America’s academic standing.
Also expect a segue into gun control, particularly with gun violence victims from Newtown attending the address. Obama almost certainly will continue the push for stronger gun control measures that he unveiled in January. New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo called for new gun laws in his address that were soon enacted, and Massachusetts Democrat Deval Patrick and Maryland Democrat Martin O’Malley did the same. All three men have been mentioned as presidential candidates, and their proposals may later be seen as a step toward the national stage.