Nancy Pelosi To Trump: Cancel The State Of The Union Until The Government Reopens

Nancy Pelosi is "suggesting" to the President that the State of the Union be rescheduled for a time after the government shutdown ends, but it clearly seems like more than just a suggestion.

In a sharply worded letter, Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter this morning to President Trump suggesting that the State Of The Union Address, currently scheduled for January 29th, be rescheduled in light of the ongoing government shutdown:

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, citing security constraints from the ongoing government shutdown, has asked President Trump to reschedule his Jan. 29 State of the Union address or deliver it to Congress in writing unless the government reopens this week.

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29,” she said in a letter on Wednesday.

Neither the White House nor the Secret Service had an immediate comment on Ms. Pelosi’s letter.

With the leadership of all three branches of government gathered in one place, the State of the Union is one of the highest-stakes events for federal law enforcement each year, requiring weeks of preparation. The Secret Service, the lead agency coordinating security for it, is among the agencies affected by the shutdown.

Both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,” Ms. Pelosi wrote.

But rescheduling would have other benefits, too.

With Democrats and Mr. Trump at an impasse over his demands for funding for a wall along the southern border, the speech would give Mr. Trump a nationally televised bully pulpit to hammer away at Ms. Pelosi and her party.

More from The Washingon Post:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address — or deliver it in writing — citing security concerns related to the partial federal government shutdown.

The suggestion, which could deny Trump an opportunity to make his case for border-wall funding in a prime-time televised address, came as White House officials were urgently lobbying Republican senators against signing a bipartisan letter that would urge an end to a shutdown, now in its 26th day.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, both of which have key responsibilities for planning and implementing security at the scheduled Jan. 29 address in the House chamber, have been “hamstrung” by furloughs.

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi wrote in the letter.

The White House had no immediate response.

Pelosi later told reporters that the letter was intended as a suggestion and that she was not rescinding the invitation for Trump to speak. “He can make it from the Oval Office if he wants,” she said.

State of the Union addresses are traditionally made in the House chamber at the joint invitation of the House speaker and Senate majority leader.

Pelosi stressed that no address had ever been delivered during a government shutdown.

“We would have the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, the entire Congress of the United States, the House and Senate, the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Cabinet of the United States, and the diplomatic corps all in the same room,” she said. “This requires hundreds of people working on the logistics and security of it. Most of those people are either furloughed or victims of president’s shutdown. … The point is security.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) responded on Twitter, suggesting Democrats were trying to deny Trump an opportunity to make his case to the nation.

“#ShutdownNancy shut down the government, and now #SOTU. What are Democrats afraid of Americans hearing? That 17,000+ criminals were caught last year at the border? 90% of heroin in the US comes across the southern border? Illegal border crossings dropped 90%+ in areas w/ a wall?” he wrote.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md). stressed to reporters that the Democratic-led chamber has already passed a series of bills to reopen shuttered government departments that have been declared dead on arrival in the Senate.

Hoyer said the House plans to pass another bill this week that would reopen government until Feb. 28 to “give us an opportunity to resolve differences in a democracy the way you ought to, through discussion, debate and votes — not through shutting down government.”

Although it’s usually just a matter of form, it has been a tradition that the ability of the President or anyone else to speak in the chamber of the House of Representatives has always been something that has been a matter of discretion for the House, acting through the office of the Speaker of the House. Because of this, the normal procedure since the tradition of President’s delivering a State of the Union in person was reinstated by President Woodrow Wilson has been that the Speaker of the House issues an invitation to the President to speak on a date that has usually been agreed to in advance by the House, the Senate, and the White House and the White House sends an acceptance of that invitation. Alternatively, there have been occasions such as situations involving national emergencies where the White House has requested permission to address a Joint Session of Congress, but in those cases as well it technically requires an invitation from the Speaker’s Office to allow the President access to the House floor. In part, this is meant to recognize the fact that Congress is a co-equal branch of government and that it does not exist to do the bidding of the President.1  It’s on this basis that Speaker Pelosi sent her initial letter on January 3rd inviting the President and this letter today.

There is one part of Pelosi’s letter that strikes me as largely nonsensical. The idea that there would be a significant security concern due to the fact that the government is partially shutdown is, as James Joyner put it, clearly just a pretext for what is largely a political move on Pelosi’s part as part of the ongoing shutdown showdown. As James notes the Secret Service personnel who would be responsible for Presidential security are exempt from furlough during the shutdown. Additionally, the shutdown does not impact the Capitol Hill Police due to the fact that the Legislative Branch was one of the parts of government whose appropriations bill was passed prior to the shutdown so the employees on Capitol Hill are being paid and not subject to furlough. The same is true about the District of Columbia police and other support personnel that may be called on to help with security during one of these events. While this is the excuse that Pelosi is using in her letter, then, it’s clear that this is yet another move in the ongoing chess match that is the government shutdown.

While the letter itself, which I’ve embedded below, reads as a suggestion to the President, it seems clear that this is effectively a revocation of the prior invitation and that the invitation will be more formally revoked if the President doesn’t agree to either reschedule the address or to deliver it in writing. As I’ve argued in the past, as you can see in examples herehere, and here, this second option is perhaps the ideal solution both to the current situation and to the extent to which the State Of The Union has become something akin to Queen Elizabeth’s address from the Throne that is delivered at the start of each new session of Congress. Contrary to what many Americans may think and what several cable news hosts have already stated on the air, there is no requirement in the Constitution that the President deliver a State of the Union Address to Congress, or that it be done annually. The only requirement is found in Article II, Section 3, which states that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” While it quickly became the tradition that a President would advise Congress of the state of the union and policy provisions he believes should be enacted on an annual basis as President Washington did, the idea of a formal address wasn’t the practice for a significant period of American history. From Thomas Jefferson to William Howard Taft, Presidents would satisfy their Constitutional duty by sending a written message to Congress addressing those issues, That tradition remained unbroken until Woodrow Wilson, whose Presidency saw the establishment of several bad precedents and bad decisions, opted to address Congress, a tradition that every President has followed since then. Even after Wilson’s decision, though, the State of the Union didn’t take on the air of importance it undeservedly has today until 1965 when Lyndon Johnson became the first President to have a State of the Union address televised on live television. With television now part of the tradition, the speech has taken on ever more over-inflated importance. The hype has only gotten worse since we started living in the world of a 365/24/7 news cycle thanks to cable news, the Internet, and political social media.

Given that, the government shutdown and Pelosi’s letter offers the President the opportunity to return to what had been the status quo for more than 100 years, but he also has other alternatives that could effectively amount to him calling Pelosi’s bluff. One option would be for the Republicans to invite the President to address the Senate exclusively. Although this would not be an address to a Joint Session of Congress and would lack much of the pageantry associated with that event, it would be a way for Republicans to hit back against House Democrats. Alternatively, the President could decide to deliver his form of a “State of the Union” from the White House, perhaps in the Oval Office or perhaps with a friendly audience of House and Senate Republicans in the East Room. Finally, Trump could choose to hold one of his campaign-style rallies before an adoring audience of supporters and use it as an occasion to bash Democrats in general and Nancy Pelosi in particular. On the other hand, Trump is perhaps even more aware of the value of appearances than most other Presidents and he clearly understands the value of addressing a Joint Session of Congress. Additionally, a State of the Union Address would get coverage on not only the cable networks but also on the broadcast networks. As a result, it seems likely he’d still want to do that. In order to get an invitation, though, he’s going to have to help bring an end to the government shutdown, or at least a significant part of it, and he shows no sign of being willing to do that.

Here’s the letter:

Letter to President Trump SOTU by on Scribd


1 An interesting hypothetical that rises out of this is the question of what the situation would be if the President were a former member of the House of Representatives. This includes both former members of the House and members who are now Senators, Governors, or hold some other office. Under the rules of the House, former House members are allowed access to the House floor although they, of course, cannot engage in debate or vote. If the President were a former House member, it’s unclear how that might impact all of this, but that’s not the situation here.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Steny hoyer just said the SOTU was “off” until the shutdown is over.

  2. Kathy says:

    House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) responded on Twitter, suggesting Democrats were trying to deny Trump an opportunity to make his case to the nation.

    Now, this is what I mean by stupidity: the implication that the most powerful man in the world (or Trump) has no means of making his case other than an official government event carried live on TV.

    Did he not make his case in his televised speech a few days ago? Can he not count on a major policy address to be covered by State Media (I mean, Fox News) and private media as well?

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  3. Ben Wolf says:

    @Resistance Ron: If three thousand dead is your idea of a party then it’s safe to say your immortal soul is in danger.

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  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump’s favorite Rasmussen has Trump 14 points under water, his worst number since mid-July. Gallup says 22 points in the red and the 538 average shows a 10 point gap just a few weeks ago widening to 14 points now.

    Pelosi is smarter and tougher than Trump and her base is just as determined as the deplorables.

    This is where Trump’s inability to appeal to anyone not already in the cult really begins to tell. Again using Rasmussen numbers, Trump’s ‘strong approval’ number is 32%, and his ‘strong disapprove’ is 46% . That 46% is unreachable by Trump. He has no path to majority support because he has no ability even to speak to anyone outside the cult.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    If so, Trump may be secretly pleased. He’s notorious for hating to deliver remarks written by someone else. If he could Tweet the SOTU address, he’d be happy. No need to get out of bed, for one thing.

  6. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Hoyer’s office retracted the statement that the SOTU is off.

  7. Jen says:

    @CSK: Dana Bash made basically that case today on CNN’s noon-hour program–that this cancellation/postponement/whatever one wants to call it actually probably helps Trump. There are just no good optics to be had here, on either side.

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    It will be interesting if the Senate invites him. We run the risk of a State of the Union presented only to members the President’s own party. I’m not sure how it would play, but to my mind there would be no better demonstration that the Republicans put party over duty, as well as party over preserving their institutional prerogatives.

  9. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Trump’s usual tactic when he needs a big ego boost is to hold a rally, isn’t it? Why doesn’t he do that instead? Of course, leading the crowd in a chant of “build the wall” might prove a bit…awkward.

  10. Teve says:

    @CSK: boo 😛

  11. Teve says:

    I’m sure Trump’s ego is pissed though especially it being denied by a woman. I’m sure the following conversation either has happened, or will happen soon:

    I don’t care what Nancy Pelosi says Nancy Pelosi isn’t the president so I’m going to give the State of the Union anyway.
    okay mr. President but we’ll have to do it on television from the oval office or something you won’t be able to address Congress.
    what do you mean I won’t be able to address Congress I’m the president I can address Congress whenever I want.
    Mr. President you can only address Congress if Nancy Pelosi invites you.
    What are you talkin about.
    (Advisor closes eyes tightly, exhales)

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  12. Teve says:

    So if Trump winds up addressing the Senate, he’ll almost certainly have to say the requisite line the state of our Union is strong. When he does, and a million Americans aren’t getting paid because of him, do the Democrats boo, or laugh?

  13. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Pelosi is smarter and tougher than Trump and her base is just as determined as the deplorables.

    I think you’re drastically underestimating the number of people who are going to come out of this really, really mad at the Dems for prolonging this nonsense.

    It might be too early to talk about a once-in-a-century realignment, but that’s the fire you’re playing with. I hope you know that.

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  14. Mister Bluster says:

    We would have the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, the entire Congress of the United States, the House and Senate, the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Cabinet of the United States, and the diplomatic corps all in the same room,…

    I agree. This is a dangerous situation.
    I think we should resecure this place, fill it up with Big Macs, fries and regular coffee (no decaf and no swill) and “invite” everyone of these homers to stay in this safe space till they not only reopen the government but negotiate a budget to cover the fiscal year.
    The Secret Bunker Congress Never Used

  15. Jay L Gischer says:

    Are they overestimating the security risk to the President, VP, etc? Probably. Is Trump exaggerating the security risk to the country because of the lack of wall? Definitely.

    I see this as tit-for-tat. I don’t like this stuff, but it’s a foundational part of human relations. I should probably never be a politician.

  16. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “I think you’re drastically underestimating the number of people who are going to come out of this really, really mad at the Dems for prolonging this nonsense.”

    I prefer to look at actual data, rather than my feelings on something like this. For example, today’s PBS/Marist poll, which found 54% finding Trump most responsible for the shutdown, 31% Democrats in Congress, and 5% Republicans in Congress. It also found the shutdown made them feel more negative to Trump 61-28, while the same question for Democrats in Congress had a significantly closer result, with more negatives 52-30.

    “It might be too early to talk about a once-in-a-century realignment, but that’s the fire you’re playing with. I hope you know that.”

    The realignment is already here. It’s why Republicans got wiped out in suburbia last fall.

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  17. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Government is shut down.

    The state of the union is: that government is shut down.

    He should be embarrassed to speak, as he has failed as the leader of government.

    No invitation, no access, no platform. No way.

  18. Neil Hudelson says:

    I think you’re drastically underestimating the number of people who are going to come out of this really, really mad at the Dems for prolonging this nonsense.

    I would ask for polling or evidence on this, but I know that would involve looking at a newspaper and journalists are bad. Is the evidence for this residing in the imaginary conversations with urbanites riding the light rail?

    All of the polls and data I can find on public opinion show some blame for the Dems, a whole helluva lot more blame on Trump. So any “once-in-a-century realignment” (eye roll) would seem to be probably a good thing?

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  19. Teve says:

    Rogue WH Snr Advisor
    @RogueSNRadvisor

    I’ll do the State of the Union for us:

    Our country is a shitshow, led by a treasonous moron who’s being propped up by a gaggle of corrupt tycoon butlers and 30 million inbreds.

    There, now we can skip it.
    10:35 AM · Jan 16, 2019 ·

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  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Resistance Ron was already deleted before I opened this post? I’m so sad. (A sad face emoji was supposed to go here, but didn’t show up.) It must have been something to involve 3,000 dead and such a quick response.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Resistance Ron was already deleted before I opened this post?

    He said he was partying with Trump in a porta potty… or something…

  22. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I prefer to look at actual data, rather than my feelings on something like this.

    Well, it is data, that’s true…

    It’s why Republicans got wiped out in suburbia last fall.

    No, Republicans picked up seats in the Senate and there was a swing favoring the Dems in the House. “Wiped out?”

    Seems to me that the Republicans are calling the shots here, leaving the Dems to stunt work like canceling the SOTU.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: 3000 dead from Trump in a PortaPotty? Wow. That’s some gas.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I bet Individual-1 is fuming…probably sitting in bed watching Fox News and power chowing Big Macs.
    Pelosi is fvcking him up, big time.
    Well played Ma’am, well played.

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    What did Resistance Ron…er…I mean…J-enos say that was so bad?

  26. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    No, Republicans picked up seats in the Senate and there was a swing favoring the Dems in the House. “Wiped out?”

    Take some time to understand the Senate map in 2018, and the upcoming map in 2020.

    Republicans underperformed in the Senate in 2018, if we use Trump as the benchmark. It was a very favorable map, where the Democrats were defending their most vulnerable seats, in an off year. And the Republicans got slaughtered in the House.

    With everything staved in their favor, the Republicans were only able to manage a small gain in one Chamber while losing the other by pretty historic numbers.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Is he eating the leftover Big Macs?

  28. Gustopher says:

    Denying Donald Trump the traditional trappings of the Presidency is really petty and disrespectful. I love it.

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  29. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “It’s why Republicans got wiped out in suburbia last fall.

    No, Republicans picked up seats in the Senate and there was a swing favoring the Dems in the House. “Wiped out?””

    Please read again, this time for understanding. As a helpful hint, I bolded some important words you missed last time.

    Here’s a useful analysis of what happened:

    “Democrats will have control of the U.S. House once again beginning in January, thanks, in large part, to their performance in America’s suburbs.

    Of the 41 congressional districts that Democrats turned from red to blue this election, 38 were suburban, according to an analysis by The New York Times. (Democrats may pick up one to two more seats, once all votes are counted and elections are certified.)”

  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It will be interesting if the Senate invites him.

    The Senate can only invite him to the Senate chamber, which isn’t big enough for a joint session.

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Democrats will have control of the U.S. House once again beginning in January

    You: “Republicans were wiped out in the suburbs.”

    Your link makes a more modest claim…

  32. Jen says:

    Secretary Nielsen has responded saying “security’s fine.”

    It seems like they don’t realize that they’ve essentially been uninvited. This is going to get awkward, as it always does when you rescind an invitation. It feels vaguely middle-school-ish.

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  33. Jen says:

    Trump’s support among non-college Americans has slipped during the shutdown.

    Can we please stop with the “the Democrats are going to be blamed more” nonsense?

  34. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Your link makes a more modest claim”

    No, it doesn’t. Read the whole thing.

  35. steve says:

    I think poor Donald has just been unfriended.

  36. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: Trump doesn’t care about policy, Trump doesn’t have ideological goals. Trump wants to be the bigshot looking like the King on TV talking shit about his enemies and humiliating them at the grandest podium he can find. By taking away the State of the Union, Pelosi hurts him worse than if she’d stabbed him.

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  37. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @James Pearce:

    Seems to me that the Republicans are calling the shots here, leaving the Dems to stunt work like canceling the SOTU.

    I’m not the biggest Nancy Pelosi fan, but there is a point about a SOTU during a government shutdown. That would sound ridiculous. Besides that, she only suggested postponing or sending a written SOTU.

    I do agree that Democrats should improve their share of Rural vote to win seats in the Senate, but Pelosi has a point. And I would do the same if I were speaker.

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: The best way to hurt a petty man is to do something petty to him. I approve.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Hmm. Is it big enough for all the Republican Senators and House members? Because that’s what it would be….

  40. Keith W Kallie Sr says:

    It’s not the President’s House. It’s the Speaker’s House. Run Your House, Speaker Pelosi.
    He comes when you’re ready for him to come.

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  41. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There’s 100 seats in the Senate chamber. There’s 199 House republicans.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: So people standing in the aisles won’t set off any fire marshall’s alarm systems? Funny how those pesky safety regs keep getting in the way of our free market overlords.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Read the whole thing.

    Yeah, still seeing a lot of modest gains and narrow margins. Where’s the “wiping out?”

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    I’m not the biggest Nancy Pelosi fan, but there is a point about a SOTU during a government shutdown. That would sound ridiculous. Besides that, she only suggested postponing or sending a written SOTU.

    I dunno. Her supporters seem to see the move as proof of her badassery, but I imagine Trump doesn’t really give a rip. He’d be content to submit a written draft prepared by lackeys and then go give a rally in some battleground somewhere, daring the networks to cover it live. If it was a competing “unofficial” SOTU? You know they would…

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  44. Paine says:

    Invitation should be withdrawn on general principles. If Turtle wants to establish the precedent that presidents can only appoint a SCOTUS judge when his/her party also controls the Senate, let Pelosi set the precedent that SOTU invites only go out to presidents of the same party. Who care about tradition and norms?

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  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: But they also have the floor space in front and around the sides, where they sometimes have people testifying, a few dozen cameramen and photographers, etc. You are probably right though, not enough to hold nearly 150 or so extra people.

  46. An Interested Party says:

    Seems to me that the Republicans are calling the shots here, leaving the Dems to stunt work like canceling the SOTU.

    Oy…no wonder you’re the object of ridicule and derision around here…the idea that the Democrats are just helpless stunt pullers while Republicans have all the power is ridiculous…polls have and will continue to show that most people blame the president for this mess, as they should, because it really is his fault…

    It feels vaguely middle-school-ish.

    Well, considering who is president, this fits perfectly, doesn’t it?

  47. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    While I REALLY hate finding myself in the position of even partially agreeing with Pearce, I think he has a point. All the numbers right now show Trump getting clobbered and the blame. That’s solid in the minds of the overall public. Pelosi and the Dems cancelling the SOTU becomes a separate event in people’s minds, and I agree with Pearce that it’s the sort of thing that COULD rebound badly, in a “pox on all of them” sort of way.

    Now, suggesting it be delayed or delivered via written means (as Pelosi did, as opposed to Hoyer, and wasn’t THAT a quick walkback) is smarter. She tweaks Donald who won’t react well with his famous self control, can get a ton of commentary about how parts of our security apparatus are on shutdown but Donald insists he speak in front of the entire government except the Designated Survivor anyway (thanks Hollywood!), let Donald walk himself into a likely ridiculous SOTU, and let the Dem response rip the stupidity and hypocrisy of the whole thing.

    But actually cancelling? I don’t see that as a good political play, even though she absolutely has the power to do so. Why do something that your average relatively poorly informed voter will see as nothing but petty political revenge and risk giving Trump an opening to start reversing some of those shutdown blame numbers?

  48. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Yeah, still seeing a lot of modest gains and narrow margins. Where’s the “wiping out?””

    This is pretty funny coming from the person who thinks Republicans winning Senate races in North Dakota and Indiana proves that the Democrats really lost the election. That said, some examples from the article you clearly didn’t read:

    “In 2016, six of the seven suburban Illinois counties around Chicago voted Republican. This year, all of them voted for Democrats.”

    “Consider that before these midterm elections, Republicans held four of the six congressional seats in Orange County. Come January, Democrats will control all six.”

    “Nowhere is Trump’s brand worse than in the Northeast, and within just four states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York — there were 11 Democratic pickups in districts that included suburban counties.”

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: Yep. It’s a risk. But I think letting Trump get up there and rant for 90 minutes while Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the Dems are forced to sit and take it is a bigger risk. I hope she holds firm.

  50. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @James Pearce:

    I dunno. Her supporters seem to see the move as proof of her badassery, but I imagine Trump doesn’t really give a rip. He’d be content to submit a written draft prepared by lackeys and then go give a rally in some battleground somewhere, daring the networks to cover it live. If it was a competing “unofficial” SOTU? You know they would…

    I think that part of the problem is that the SOTU is generally used to push for policies and future ideas. And other than wasting a LGV Est on the Mexican border Trump does not have policies nor ideas.

    But it’s a bizarre situation where Trump has taken himself as hostage. Unfortunately, Trump seems to manage to survive these bizarre situations that he himself had created.

  51. Jen says:

    I think postponing the SOTU until the shutdown is over is 100% a good idea. The optics would be horrible for everyone–including the President, whether he realizes it or not–to have a big, ceremonial dog & pony show while they are in the middle of this…mess of Trump’s creation.

  52. SC_Birdflyte says:

    IIRC, Presidents from Jefferson through Taft delivered their SOTU addresses in writing, not by personally delivering it to a Joint Session. But asking Agent Orange to step out of the limelight and provide a down-to-earth assessment of things is asking the impossible.

  53. Teve says:

    Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said Wednesday night that there could have been “collusion” between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials, but if it did happen, Trump didn’t do it.

    “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign,” Giuliani said

    -politico

  54. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    This is pretty funny coming from the person who thinks Republicans winning Senate races in North Dakota and Indiana proves that the Democrats really lost the election.

    Maybe you should ask yourself why it’s so important for Dems to have had a “blue wave” in the last election. Is it so that you have a more accurate view of the results? Or is it to give the results a better (rose-colored) shade?

    Democrats did lose in ND and IN, bolstering Trump in the Senate, effectively reducing the gains in the House –not to nothing, but to the point where Dems are relying on stunt politics. “But look at the president’s approval ratings.”

    Yeah, they’re in the toilet. So what?

  55. mattbernius says:
  56. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:
    Since you are so convinced that you are smarter than the rest of us, how about putting your money where you mouth is. I propose three bets on the 2020 election:

    1. That a Democrat will win the Presidency.
    2. That the Democrats will hold the House.
    3. That the Democrats will retake the Senate.

    Since you are convinced that the Democrats are utterly crap and are going to screw everything up, these should be easy wins (frankly I’m not convinced that 3 will happen, though I full expect them to flip a number of seats).

    These don’t have to be large bets, and if you prefer, they can be paid to a charity of the winner’s choice.

    What do you think — do you believe in your analysis enough to actually back it up?

  57. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: holy shit

  58. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius: I am a betting man, but I’m also kind of a cheapskate about it. How much are you willing to risk? I’d be willing to risk…about twenty bucks.

    1. That a Democrat will win the Presidency.
    2. That the Democrats will hold the House.
    3. That the Democrats will retake the Senate.

    1) If Trump runs, I think he wins re-election, despite his low approval ratings. Accepted.

    2) The Dems should retain the House, but you never know. This shutdown is going to result in a lot of “throw the bums out” thinking. Not confident on this one.

    3) High confidence that “Dems retaking the Senate” isn’t going to happen, not in 2020, not with the divisive strategy the Dems have embraced these last few years. What good is retaking the Senate when a full fifth of your legislators don’t want to legislate and are just “putting in the time” before they can run for president? Accepted.

    2
    1
  59. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Hey, Trumpturds! One of these people is the b*tch and one is the Boss. Can you guess which is which? Bet you can’t! Don’t worry though; intelligent Americans can see at a glance.

  60. Tyrell says:

    Let me say this: I think that this would be a good time to take a look at the SOTU speech and all the folderall that goes with it. My opinion, and that of some others, is that it is antiquated, over – rated, and generally a big deal over nothing. Basically a fashion show. I will look up the viewer ratings on this by the years. Few people that I run into watch it. Trump talks too much as it is.
    The last one I watch was given by President Ford.

    4
    1
  61. Neil Hudelson says:

    @mattbernius: @James Pearce:

    Are these three separate bets? Or does Matt only have to lose one of the three items to lose the bet?

  62. MarkedMan says:

    @Tyrell: Tyrell, I’m actually going to agree with you. I haven’t watched a State of the Union in decades. But I would watch one that actually served to describe the State of the Union. Where are we at in Crime Rate? Pollution? Education? Foreign Trade? What is the state of our alliances with respect to emerging economies. What programs were started 5 years ago, 10, 15 and how do the results compare against the promises made. I would watch that. And, alas, probably 50 other people…

  63. James Pearce says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Are these three separate bets?

    I dunno.

    But the way I see it, I put in twenty and Matt puts in twenty, then whoever wins, some charity gets forty. You should hold the money and pick the winner, Neil.

    3
    1
  64. Pylon says:

    Remember the “this is good news for McCain” memes whenever some sort of news or event came out that was bad for the right?

    That’s Pearce, only with Trump.

  65. James Pearce says:

    @Pylon:

    That’s Pearce, only with Trump.

    No, for three years I’ve been listening to the Jerry Maguires of lefty politics making big unfulfilled promises and now my reaction is “show me the money.”

  66. Guarneri says:

    “There is one part of Pelosi’s letter that strikes me as largely nonsensical.”

    You guys seem to be rather attached to the term “lie.”

    I’m sure that’s what you meant here. (snicker)

  67. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce & @Neil Hudelson:
    I was thinking 3 separate bets. I think that’s the fairest way.

    So we can do $20 on each. Or a smaller amount. Or alternately, if I win, I’d be willing to settle for you admitting that Pelosi knew what she was doing. But that might be too high an ask ;P

    And just to be clear, I’m taking the “Democrats will win” in each. Which is in opposition to James’ “the Democrats will screw this up” position.

    BTW, kudo’s James to taking me up on this. I have no doubts that if you were to lose you will follow through — which I can’t say for JWest who still owes me $200 for a bet we made about Obama’s reelection in 2012. But he was banned by that point (and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t Jenos as I thought the two were contemporaries).

    For the record, my expectation is to go 2 and 1 (I’m not convinced of the senate). I’m not bullish enough on the Senate to link all three (though if you want to link 1 & 2, I’m all in).

  68. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    But the way I see it, I put in twenty and Matt puts in twenty, then whoever wins, some charity gets forty. You should hold the money and pick the winner, Neil.

    BTW, I am totally in for a charity of choice getting the whole pool.

    And if Neil’s up for it, I’m down with him being the official arbiter.

  69. mattbernius says:

    Ok, so final post on this, how about $30 each ($10 for each subbet)?

  70. Neil Hudelson says:

    I’m fine with being the arbiter. And I’ll look for a sound charity that is:
    A. Doing important work
    B. Perhaps under funded (so no United Ways)
    C. Either is wholly nonpolitical, or is tackling a politics-adjacent issue that we can all agree is a good thing to tackle.

  71. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    My vote learns towards CJ reform related — but that’s more a professional bias.

    Still need to hear back from James about all this — hopefully here, rather than hijacking another thread.