The State of The Union speech is an opportunity for the President of The United States to lay out how the country as a whole is doing. At least as he and his administration sees it and hopefully as it is and to layout where he wants to take the country for that year. What's been accomplished the last year, what are the challenges ahead and how he and Congress should. Approach them and they generally come with a laundry list as well. I want the Congress to pass these policies and these bills for the good of country and so fourth depending on what the. Challenges are and depending on the condition of the country and where the President stands politically and the. Situation in Congress both in the House and Senate will determine how successful the President will be in pushing his agenda through if any of it through Congress. Who controls the House and Senate and where the opposition party stands with the country and what position they are. In politically to deal with the President or try to obstruct what the President is trying to accomplish.
Jimmy Carter's Presidency was fascinating for lots of reasons especially the time he served as President. In the late 1970s and early 80s because he came in with a lot of power to move the country and was fairly successful politically and in popularity in 1977. He didn't have much of mandate coming in barely being elected President in one of the closest Presidential elections. Of all time in 1976 but he had a Democratic Congress with a House that was almost 2-1 Democratic. And a Democratic Senate with a 3-5 majority meaning it was filibuster proof. If all of the Democratic Senators voted yes. Meaning Congressional Republicans at least early on being both the opposition party but also the minority party in Congress. With small minorities had very little if any power to force President Carter's hand or try to stop him. But as it turned out instead the Senate Minority Leader at the time Howard Baker turned out to be one of. President Carter's best friends in Congress because the Democratic Party was divided between. Northern Progressive-Democrats and Southern Moderate-Conservative Democrats.
After 1977 and especially after Congressional Republicans picked up seats in both the House and Senate. And with a Democratic Party that was divided not only between Progressives and Conservatives but also with what I call Reformed-Liberals or New-Democrats. Which where Jimmy Carter falls into in the Democratic Party, President Carter had to be able to work with. Congressional Republicans especially Minority Leader Baker to get anything done in Congress. Because the Democratic Leadership in Congress controlled buy Progressive or Social-Democrats ran Congress. And with President Carter's approval rating falling by 1978 when the economy went South and looked like we were headed for recession. President Carter had a very hard time moving Congress even a Democratic Congress and the country on anything. And what happened in 1979 and 1980 with economy and the crisis's in the Middle East especially with the hostages. It made President Carter's job very hard when it came to these speeches.
As I've said before the 1980 State of The Union address was a speech that Jimmy Carter didn't want to give. Because he was dealing with one crisis after another all at the same time. Russia on the move in Afghanistan trying to replace a friendly government with Communist regime. The economy tanking, the Iranian hostage crisis and of course being up for reelection with a. Democratic primary challenger from Progressives in Senator Ted Kennedy. Which made President Carter's job almost impossible.