They say that it is a 'tradition' dating back to 1966 and that it was begun by Republicans Everett Dirksen of the Senate and Gerald Ford of the House. They were the first to counter a sitting President's State of the Union address with the response by the opposing party.
Well, that's a lovely bit of history, but for my money, it stinks. The State of the Union address, mandated in the founding documents of our nation, is not the function of one party or another. It should be the trumpet of our republic and people across the world should hail it as the authentic voice of these United States.
To immediately parochialize it into the voice of a single party, however ascendant, is to bring an unbeseeming crassness to the moment.
It may be around for forty years but that does not prettify it any. Palindromia does not a 'tradition' make.
Because Republicans started it, I suppose that it will be their job to stop it as well. The next time a Democrat wins the Presidency, I call upon the Republican leaders to voluntarily forgo this gray badge of smallness.