I agree with the conclusions.
My Fellow Americans, the State of the Union Is Stupid
Lowering the Bar (Lawyer blog)
The Constitution says only that the President “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….” U.S. Const. art. II, § 3, cl. 1. That’s it. All it says is that the President has the obligation (and the implied power) to make recommendations. George Washington interpreted this to mean he should actually walk over to Congress once a year and tell them about stuff in person, which he first did on January 8, 1790.
But when it was Thomas Jefferson’s turn, he decided to give Congress his information only in writing, explaining in this cover letter that he felt it would be inconvenient at that juncture to do so. (He also said doing this would relieve legislators “from the embarrassment of immediate answers on subjects not yet fully before them,” which I’m pretty sure is an insult, though a very polite one.
And maybe it was, but Jefferson also felt that the whole idea of having the Executive appear to address the Legislature in this manner was just a little too monarchical for what we still believed at the time was a republic. Following Jefferson’s example, annual messages were usually sent only in writing until 1913, when Woodrow Wilson decided to show up personally again.
And it has been all downhill from there.