The writing of a State of the Union – SOTU in the internal White House parlance – is a central organizing tool of an Administration.  At their worst, after all the departments and agencies and sleeve-tuggers in Washington have had their say, State of the Union addresses become the cliched laundry lists you hear so much about.  At their best, they are thematic addresses that use specific policy initiatives to illustrate the direction in which the president will lead.  The question is which direction Bush will take.

--Andrei Cherny