Outgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu drew the short straw—or the long one, depending on how you look at it—and became Tuesday night's "designated survivor," the grisly term for the one Cabinet member selected to sit out the State of Union in case disaster strikes.
In a tradition dating back to the 1960s, one Cabinet member is chosen to skip the speech because the president, vice president, lawmakers, Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices and members of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff are all sitting together in a confined space in the Capitol, making virtually the entire U.S. government vulnerable to attack.
Idaho's congressional delegation was in attendance, but according to their responses, they weren't too pleased with the exercise that derives from Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution: "[The president] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
GOP Rep. Raul Labrador responded by writing, "Life's been tough in the Obama economy," adding, ""It's time to get the government out of the way and let the free market work."
Labrador's senior colleague in the U.S. House, Republican Rep. Mike Simpson, said Obama "gives a good speech, but his actions rarely, if ever, match his words."
Idaho's Republican members of the U.S. Senate continued to pile on, with senior Sen. Mike Crapo writing, "The president did talk about tax reform tonight, yet his interpretation of reform means finding new ways to increase taxes on the American people rather than comprehensive reform."
And Sen. Jim Risch added that the president "looks to enforce a far-left philosophy on all matters rather than focus on individual rights and responsibilities and recognizing, as our founding fathers did, the preeminent role the states have through their sovereign status."