Trump Backs Down In State Of The Union Standoff

President Trump has backed down in his showdown with Speaker Pelosi over the State of the Union Address, but that does nothing to bring us closer to a resolution of the government shutdown.

As the government shutdown enters day thirty-four, the President and Speaker of the House spent the better part of yesterday re-engaged in their tit-for-tat over the State of the Union Address. The result of all of this is that it appears that there will not be a formal State of the Union address next Tuesday, although the White House apparently has some alternative plan up its sleeve:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said he would look for alternative venues for his State of the Union address on Tuesday, appearing to capitulate after Speaker Nancy Pelosi again told him she would not invite him to deliver it at the House until the government reopens.

The decision came after a tit-for-tat between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi over the State of the Union address. Mr. Trump told Ms. Pelosi on Wednesday that he would deliver the speech in the Capitol next week as originally scheduled. Ms. Pelosi fired back that he was not welcome unless the government was fully open.

It had concluded, at least by late afternoon, with Mr. Trump declaring at the White House, “The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth.”

Ms. Pelosi had invited Mr. Trump to deliver the speech in a letter on Jan. 3. But on Jan. 16, she warned that there were security concerns about the president’s coming to Capitol Hill because of the partial government shutdown, which began about a month ago.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump responded, sending Ms. Pelosi a letter in which he said that he had checked — and that there were no such concerns from the Secret Service

“Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” the president wrote.

“It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” he wrote.

Within hours, Ms. Pelosi fired back with a letter of her own, telling the president she would not pass a resolution authorizing him to come until the government has reopened. “Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” she wrote.

Back at the White House, Mr. Trump appeared to have gotten the message, saying he would explore alternatives.

“She’s afraid of the super-left Democrats, the radical Democrats. What’s going on in that party is shocking,” he said. He called her refusal “a great blotch on the great country we all love.”

Mr. Trump’s announcement that he would come to the Capitol despite Ms. Pelosi’s concerns seemed meant to put the Democratic leadership on the spot. Republican leaders in Congress piled on. The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, released a video on Twitter of him signing the resolution formally inviting the president to the House.

“Retweet if you agree that the State of the Union should proceed as planned,” he wrote.

Before Ms. Pelosi’s response, Democrats had issued somewhat contradictory language on the president’s invitation. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, appeared Tuesday on Fox News and was asked if he would be willing to host the president. He gave a one-word answer: “Sure.” That led to speculation that he disagreed with Ms. Pelosi.

But on Wednesday, Mr. Hoyer spoke to reporters and said the United States Capitol Police would be fully prepared to provide security in the event that Mr. Trump delivered the address in the Capitol.

“Nancy and I are on the same page. She didn’t disinvite him,” Mr. Hoyer said of Ms. Pelosi. “What she said was she thought it would be appropriate to choose a different date. He has not done so.”

In a closed-door meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday morning, before Mr. Trump sent his letter, Ms. Pelosi made it clear that she still believed the speech should not occur, and advised lawmakers against arranging for their families to be at the Capitol for it.

After Pelosi’s response, the President suggested he’d deliver an address from an ‘alternative location’: 

President Trump said Wednesday he may do an “alternative” State of the Union after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocked him from delivering the address in the House chamber while the government is shut down.

“We’ll do something in the alternative,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

He provided no further details about such an event but said they would be revealed “at a later date.”

Speaking at a meeting with conservative leaders, Trump called Pelosi’s decision a “disgrace,” accused her of not wanting “to hear the truth” and bowing to the “super-left” members of her party.

Pelosi informed Trump in a letter earlier Wednesday that the House would not take the legislative steps necessary to host the address inside the House chamber next Tuesday.

The move denies Trump a major, nationally televised platform to deliver his annual message to the country.

It also ups the stakes in the battle of wills between Trump and Pelosi over the prolonged government shutdown, which was caused by an impasse over his demand for wall funding and has stretched into a 33rd day.

But by Wednesday evening, the President had backed down and said he would delay the address in any form until after the shutdown ends:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said late Wednesday that he would deliver his State of the Union address once the federal government reopens, capping a day of brinkmanship with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who told the president that he was not welcome to deliver the speech in the House chamber while the government is partly closed.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after 11 p.m., hours after he had said he would look for another venue for the speech. “I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

(…)

For Mr. Trump, it would have been a moment to command the stage — with television cameras rolling and Ms. Pelosi stuck behind him, trying to figure out whether to grimace or nod. Now, the president is trying to paint Ms. Pelosi as a left-wing radical who canceled the address for political reasons, despite her assertion that she simply wanted to postpone, not cancel, it because of the burden it would impose on Secret Service agents working without pay.

“It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “They’ve become radicalized.”

In the afternoon, Mr. Trump pledged to “do something in the alternative,” and it was not clear at the time whether he had completely given up on holding the speech in the Capitol. Some lawmakers raised the possibility that he could deliver it in the Senate chamber. But others, as well as some Trump advisers, suggested it would be better for him to issue the speech at the border or during a rally.

But ultimately, the president wrote on Twitter, he decided against an alternative site “because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.” He added, “I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”

Mr. Trump’s actions during the shutdown have often seemed in response to criticism from allies like the conservative commentator Ann Coulter and the prime-time hosts on Fox News. The network’s first reaction to the president’s decision to delay his speech appeared to indicate trouble ahead: “Trump Blinks” read the headline atop the Fox website.

Here are the President’s tweets:

Which led Nancy Pelosi to respond:

All of this began just over a week ago, of course, when Speaker Pelosi sent the President a letter regarding the State of the Union Address in which she suggested that the ongoing shutdown, and the fact that Secret Service agents and others who would be charged with providing security for the event are going without pay while being compelled to work created a security risk. Therefore, the Speaker suggested, the State of the Union Address which had been scheduled for January 29th, should be postponed until after the shutdown was resolved. Pelosi stopped short of formally canceling the address or the formal invitation she had issued on January 3rd. While the security issues were largely a pretext, it was clear that Pelosi was looking at the idea of not going forward with the address as long as the shutdown continued, something that Pelosi and other members of the House Democratic Leadership seemed to make clear without explicitly saying so. In the meantime, President Trump responded by canceling military air transport for a Congressional Delegation that Pelosi was leading on a trip to Afghanistan that had, before the President’s letter, been kept secret for obvious reasons. In the meantime, the actual status of the State of the Union remained up in the air since Pelosi had not formally revoked her January 3rd invitation, but also was reportedly not allowing White House personnel access to the House floor for the traditional pre-Address walkthrough and was blocking the consideration of the measure that both the House and Senate would need to pass to formally invite the President to deliver an address to a Joint Session of Congress.

In any case, this somewhat childish exchange puts to rest the question of whether or not there would be an address before Congress next week and whether or not the President would try to deliver a SOTU-like speech at an alternative location, or perhaps to hold one of his campaign-style rallies at a location outside of Washington, during which he would no doubt bash Democrats and misstate facts about the “state of the union.” It was even suggested that the President could seek to address just the Senate, although the logistics and precedent for that are unclear. In any event, it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi has won this little Mexican standoff, which isn’t surprising since she has sole control over access to the House floor and the scheduling of any joint address to Congress in the House of Representatives, which is really the only practical place on Capitol Hill for such a thing. How this helps solve the ongoing shutdown crisis, though, is entirely unclear.

Here are the letters sent by Trump and Pelosi:

Trump And Pelosi Letters On… by on Scribd

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. CSK says:

    It’s fascinating to watch the Trumpkins arguing whether this is a total cave on Trump’s part or some brilliant strategy.

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  2. KM says:

    this somewhat childish exchange

    Subtle bothersiderism. Trump tried to push the issue and Pelosi basically said “what part of NO did you not %&#%** understand”? How is sticking to her position childish? He’s the one who tried to bluff his way through and got called out on it. A guy would be praised for sticking to his guns and reminding Trump that he doesn’t have the power over Congress he used to. Show respect if you want respect, honor norms if you expect to be able to take advantage of norms.

    There is literally nothing stopping Trump from holding SOTU on schedule at a venue of his choosing other then the fact that he won’t get the audience he wants and the respect the event has usually garnered. If the speech and it’s message was so damn important, he’d hold it in a broom closet with a iphone on a self-stick and post it to Twitter. Nope, he wanted the clapping, the forced attendance, the hours of TV coverage and to bask in the gravitas that SOTU has come to represent. He said it himself – he wants the traditional trappings or it’s a no-go.

    In other words, he wanted to *play* the President instead of *being* the President. Pelosi took his stage away and now he’s pouting she didn’t back down when he fluffed his feathers.

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  3. Blue Galangal says:

    @KM: I concur. What was childish (and worse) was cancelling the Congressional delegation’s flight and risking their safety by exposing the trip. Nancy’s response was childish only insofar as any parent can be accused of being “childish” when telling a child what the boundaries are. That’s all she did: set boundary, reinforced boundary, offered an expectation of a positive outcome (i.e., opening the government) and moved on.

    Nancy is handling him like he’s a toddler (it’s notable that the Queen handled him like he was a corgi). Grandmas be knowing.

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  4. Jon says:

    @KM:

    Subtle bothersiderism.

    Not even that subtle. And premised on the mistaken (intentionally or otherwise) assumption that the initial gambit, forcing a government shutdown, was something other than the extortion it clearly is. How does one negotiate with somebody who clearly does not care who is harmed by their actions, as long as they get their way in the end? The only way to get to Trump is to take away something he clearly needs and cherishes: attention. So Speaker Pelosi taking that away from him is a legitimate, and smart, tactic to try and force him to the table.

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s just inexplicable. Who was stupid enough to let Trump try to bluff his way through this? Pelosi is Speaker of the House, she was never going to lose on this.

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  6. James Pearce says:

    In any event, it’s clear that Speaker Pelosi has won this little Mexican standoff,

    Yeah, if you can call that “winning.” The government is still shut down.

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  7. Teve says:

    I did chuckle at a number of dumbass Trump Chumps on Twitter saying “This isn’t Nancy Pelosi’s house this is the people’s house Mr. President I give you permission to make the speech sir!” Followed by people replying “That’s not now this works, idiot.”

    It’s amazing, when you’re scanning through comments online, how rapidly you can identify trumpers by horrible, utterly dysfunctional punctuation.

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  8. mattbernius says:

    Couple points:

    1. If anyone is questioning why Pelosi is speaker, this is example number 1.

    2. I think end game remains Trump declaring an Emergency sometime in early February. If he hadn’t of gotten into this spat, he could have done it sooner, but now he has to wait until after the SotU date. But that pushes us into February. Which means that, unless the find more money again, Federal Court staff get caught up in this as well.

    3. There is word of the Dems floating a funding proposal that increases border funding *without* releasing any money for the wall. Pop some popcorn.

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  9. Kathy says:

    Shame on Madam Speaker for engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    I accidentally down-voted you, sorry. Big thumbs.

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  11. Teve says:

    Mr. Trump’s announcement that he would come to the Capitol despite Ms. Pelosi’s concerns seemed meant to put the Democratic leadership on the spot.

    what Mayberry Machiavelli thought that was going to work????

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  12. Teve says:

    I don’t feel like checking conservative treehouse, Breitbart etcetera, but I bet there are some Trumper sites out there that are not happy with him right now.

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  13. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: no worries. I got down voted one time on a comment explaining the math of computer rounding. I’m used to a little idiosyncrasy 😛

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  14. Kathy says:

    Not very related, but I ran across a piece on the infamous Trump Shuttle yesterday. Here’s a link.

    The piece states El Cheeto lost around $120 million on the venture (in late 80s to early 90s dollars). Dennison says about this “The airline business is a tough business, [but] I did great with it.”

    More telling it’s this line: “At the launch of Trump Shuttle, once the string quartet had laid down it’s bows, Trump took to the mic stand to introduce his airline. But, instead of reeling off the benefits of travelling with Trump, he took the opportunity to rally against Pan Am, his nearest rival in the shuttle business.”

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  15. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    If anyone is questioning why Pelosi is speaker, this is example number 1.

    To buck up the troops by winning little “victories” on meaningless issues?

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  16. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I accidentally down-voted you, sorry.

    Never down vote.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump Starts To Lose Conservatives Who See Wall As Simplistic Fixation

    “President Trump was elected to put forth a multi-pronged approach to immigration, not just build a couple hundred miles of border barriers,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the pro-enforcement Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Politico. “It’s disappointing to see what he’s doing now.”

    “Ultimately a border wall is less important than interior enforcement, including E-Verify,” Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, added.

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  18. KM says:

    @Teve:
    I’d say it was a collective decision. See, Trump and his ilk are fundamentally bully types – the kind that think they’re “alphas”. They honestly thought if they showed up, the Dems wouldn’t lock the door in their faces and make Trump stand out in freezing weather in front of the cameras. Because bullies expect you to just knuckle under, give in to respect for manners or norms, avoid confrontation or just plain be a decent human being. Who locks out an old man in winter conditions in front of a live-camera audience? Who tells the President of the United States to go ^&*$ himself and denies him a venue Presidents have enjoyed for over a hundred years? Who’d risk looking petty and being both-sided as childish for their behavior? Who’d have the nerve to cause such a scene and keep it up while the cameras roll?

    Turns out, the woman who bothers him so much he can’t even come up with a nasty nickname for’s got the nerve. Whereas he’s got a spine of jello and immediately backtracked on his bluff.
    Sucks to be him, he made this into a reality-TV circus and discovered there’s people out there better at doing it then him. If there’s an alpha here, it sure ain’t Donald.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ross: ‘I Don’t Understand Why’ Federal Workers Are Using Food Banks

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the rhetoric surrounding the shutdown “hyperbole,” saying that even if federal workers never get paid, it would have a negligible effect on the GDP.

    He also expressed his bemusement that federal workers are being forced to use food banks to feed their families.

    “Put it in perspective: you’re talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers if they never got their pay— which is not the case, they will eventually get it, but if they never got it—you’re talking about a third of a percent on our GDP so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall,” he told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.

    Yes, you read that right. Doesn’t even acknowledge the effect on the economy of all the contractors and their employees not getting paid in addition to the federal employees, not to mention the downstream effects.

    trump hires only the best people.

    ETA or the loss to the economy of companies unable to do business w/o approval from the appropriate federal agencies

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  20. Joe says:

    @mattbernius:

    I am baselessly optimistic that the Democrats will throw a bunch of money at “border security” and Trump will announce that he has duped the Democrats into finally taking border security seriously, just as he planned all along. He can call that a win and we can all get on with our lives.

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM:

    If there’s an alpha here, it sure ain’t Donald.

    What surprises me is the number of trumpistas who haven’t noticed that it was Ann Coulter yanking on his leash that got him to sit up and beg.

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  22. gVOR08 says:

    Trump gives his opponents belittling nicknames. Did you catch him yesterday, ‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I call her …… Nancy.’ He’s been speaking of her respectfully. He tried to bully the House, and Pelosi stood up to him. Now Mongo love speaker Pelosi. He’s learned that she, with the House, has power and resolve. How does this help end the shutdown? Baby steps, Doug, Trumpy Baby steps. He gave up a small thing, with practice….

    And remember, ending the shutdown is a goal of the Speaker, but likely not the only goal. She’s setting up the next two years and the election.

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  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Joe:
    Won’t work. The Great Deal Maker has signaled his servility to Ann Coulter and her ilk. Coulter and Limbaugh thrive in opposition, they’re looking for a moment to gin up some interest by attacking Trump, and he’s of course signaled weakness toward them, and weakness toward Pelosi. IOW bogus claims of victory are likely to earn howls of derision from Coulter etc…

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  24. James Pearce says:
  25. CSK says:

    Perhaps Trump should re-send this little billet-doux:

    “Nancy–you’re the best. Congrats. Donald.” — January, 2007

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Who was stupid enough to let Trump try to bluff his way through this? Pelosi is Speaker of the House, she was never going to lose on this.

    Actually, the answer to that question is depressingly obvious. Trump played a master negotiator on TV and in the eyes of his incredibly gullible fan base that is all it took to wipe away his serial bankruptcies, his incredibly stupid business ventures (genius idea: people will pay twice as much for a ticket on this air taxi (which spends a grand total of 1o minutes with the “Fasten Seat Belts” sign off) because we put Italian marble in the bathrooms!”), and his blatant connections to the Russian Mob.

    You know the movie “Stripes”? A lovable bunch of misfits screw off for months while their opposition spend hours practicing and learning their moves, and then pull it off with a days practice because they were so much cooler than the tight assed nerds. How many movies show that someone is a master poker player because at the end they are revealed to be holding.. a Royal Flush! Or how often a TV or movie character is shown to be a highly skilled driver because… they blindly speed through an intersection trusting to luck that there will be a gap in traffic at that exact moment! Well, that’s Trump in a nutshell. He played a master negotiator on TV and in fictional books and now is attempting to apply his “experience” in negotiating with Pelosi (and Kim and Xi). And the result is about what you expect if a lovable band of misfits with no practice time showed up to the Super Bowl.

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  27. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    The collapse of the Eastern Shuttle still annoys me. Running successfully since 1961, it was a fast, cheap, efficient way to get between Boston, NY, and DC. No reservations necessary. You paid for your ticket, grabbed it, and boarded, and 40 minutes later you where you wanted to be.

    Trump wanted marble toilets and solid gold fixtures.

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  28. charon says:

    @Teve:

    what Mayberry Machiavelli thought that was going to work????

    Story in today’s Post says Trump listens mostly to Jared Kushner these days.

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  29. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: There’s also a story today, Post or NYT, that Kushner’s taking credit for the criminal justice reform bill and claiming to be lead negotiator on the shutdown, while people on the Hill are saying Jared? Jared who? Never spoken to him.

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  30. Kathy says:

    If Pelosi’s actions here were not childish, her first letter was disingenuous. She could have cited the inappropriateness of holding the SOTU while the government is shut down, rather than make up a phony excuse about security. El Cheeto was in a position to shoot down that objection, seeing as his cabinet will say what they’re instructed to say.

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  31. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “Ultimately a border wall is less important than interior enforcement, including E-Verify,” Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, added.

    I arrived at OTB years ago looking for people who could make an honest argument for modern conservatism. I read Salam for a bit before I realized that he, and other, what do they call themselves, New Republicans?, spoke for, and to, no one but each other. Their influence on the 21st Century Republican Party is minimal at best. E-Verify, if improved and enforced, would effectively halt the flow of illegal immigrant workers. Which is why Republican pols never bring it up. Their corporate masters were OK with a wall because they knew it wouldn’t work.

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  32. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    The Jan 16 letter offered Trump the face-saving path of agreeing to a “suggestion.” I don’t know how forseeable it was that Trump would be too stupid to realize he had no actual choice about postponing the SOTU.

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  33. KM says:

    @gVOR08:
    Eh, he’s kinda not. “I call her Nancy” is still a power play men pull to subtly disrespect women. Men get the respect of last names and titles unless they’re super chummy, women get called their first name automatically. Socialization that men deserve respect in the workplace by way for formality but hey, just talk the chick like you’ve known her forever and it’s cool to be a first-name basis.

    I’m the only M—- in a building of over 300 people but ask any of the men I work with where I am with that name and they’ll give a blank stare for a few seconds before it clicks. I’m K—- to them, just like all the women are referred to by their first names, even our director. They don’t mean to be outright disrespectful but it’s rather jarring to be a call with a customer who greets us all by last name (because that’s what on the emails) only to asked “and will K—- be joining us too”? because that’s how my team refers to me when speaking with them. I literally have customers who think I’m two separate people since my underlings talk about K—- but the decisions come back from M—-.

    Trump thinks he’s throwing subtle shade by calling her Nancy because it’s clearly a girl’s name. Real respect would have been leaving it “Speaker Pelosi” (none of this Madame crap – her title should be the same since the job’s the same!)

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  34. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “To buck up the troops by winning little “victories” on meaningless issues?”

    Yes, Pearce, because we all know there is no point in winning battles if they don’t immediately end the war.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I think Eastern sold the shuttle, by then their only profitable operation, to raise cash to save the rest of the airline. It didn’t work, but if you need cash fast, then what will sell quickly, and at a high price, is a profitable operation.

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  36. charon says:

    @charon:

    no actual choice about postponing the SOTU.

    What I mean by that is a written SOTU or alternate venue would not meet Trump’s primary objective of a captive live audience complete with Democrat dignitaries. Only the joint session in the House Chamber does that.

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  37. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Yes, Pearce, because we all know there is no point in winning battles if they don’t immediately end the war.

    What–exactly– did you win?

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  38. Blue Galangal says:

    @Kathy: Respectfully, Kathy, her first letter was tactful and professional. While anyone could have told her that wouldn’t work (I don’t think Trump has spent time in any professional way actually negotiating, as other commenters have noted), that letter threaded the needle well. It was professional, it treated him like a reasonable adult, and yet the meaning of it was clear. If she had sent the 2nd letter first, she would have been accused of “starting” something, being unprofessional, or even being “childish” *koffkoff*. (If there’s one thing Nancy has learned, as have all women in a professional arena, she can never afford to make it look like she’s “overreacting” or she’s “emotional.”) As it stands, she still looks like the adult in the room while Trump is overturning the game board and throwing checkers at the wall.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    I think Eastern sold the shuttle, by then their only profitable operation, to raise cash to save the rest of the airline.

    Rumor has it that their competition (Pan Am) was ecstatic that Trump was willing to pay such a premium for the Eastern shuttle, way, way over what anyone else was willing to pay. It immediately increased the valuation of their own holdings, and they knew it was going to be so loaded with debt it would be dead within a couple of years. I just checked and Trump bought it in 1989 for $365M, lost money every year, and ended up selling it for around $100M 3 years later. It’s little hard to tell exactly how much because the agreement was to assume a portion of Trump’s personal liability (essentially the last of Fred Trump’s money). As in everything Trump touches, everyone else associated with the product got totally shafted. It’s one of the reasons he lives off Mafia money now, or “develops” 52 story high rises where all the risk is assumed by the “senior partner” – a former professional wrestler (and yes, it went bankrupt, ended up in years of litigation and only Donny Boy turned out to a) have been collecting non-refundable fees from the beginning, and b) had no personal stake invested, much to the surprise of everyone else involved). No real businessmen believe his BS anymore and so he can’t get financing from a credible source. Years before the presidential run, when Trump Tower was going up in Chicago, a relative who worked for a firm that handled electrical systems for skyscrapers all over the world told me that everyone in Chicago was waiting to see just how much of a Trump operation it would be, because they knew if it was anything more than his name on the building no solvent company would bid on the work.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You know, this whole debate about whether or not Dennison wanted to be elected, I think it boils down that he’d run out of suckers and went looking for some new ones.

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  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    What–exactly– did you win?

    I’m going to answer this, not for you – you won’t understand – but for lurkers who might wonder. This is not sports. Sports is checkers – win, lose, end of story. This is the game of Power and the game of Power is much closer to poker than it is to football.

    Power has many iterations. It can be raw physical power, or it can be something as ephemeral as public opinion. Trump has some physical power (he controls the military) and he has some direct political power (he can veto bills). But most of his power is psychological, especially as it relates to his base. They are servile because they see him as powerful. Republicans in Congress are equally servile because Trump controls their voters. But a strong man has to actually be strong or sooner or later even his fanatical devotees will begin to look elsewhere for their dose of white supremacy and male dominance.

    Trump lost the SOTU fight to Pelosi. He’s losing the shutdown fight to Democrats. He’s losing the Russia fight to Mueller. He’s losing the corruption fight to the SDNY. He’s visibly losing, being beaten by others in plain view. He’s even letting himself be spanked by Ann Coulter.

    None of this should surprise anyone, it’s been obvious to anyone who cared to pay attention that Trump is a weak man. But for the slower kids we needed the unmistakable evidence. Pelosi slapping lard boy around the room is that evidence. The perception of power loss is power loss outside of raw expressions of power.

    Does Trump have the capacity to recover, to convince people he is as powerful as he pretended to be? Nope. Because he’s an idiot and a creep and that’s a bad combination. You can be stupid and pleasant like George W. Bush, or you can be strong and unpleasant like, say, Trump’s boss, Vladimir Putin. But stupid + scummy + weak doesn’t work for anyone. Trump supporters are themselves too stupid to realize that Trump is stupid, and they’re too morally depraved to be upset by his scumbaggery, but they can still notice (eventually, slowly) that he is weak.

    The perception of weakness is fatal to a weak bullsht artist like Trump. Dorothy Pelosi has thrown back the curtain and shown us all that the great and terrible Oz is just a silly old fart pretending. Once that reality settles in he will never, ever be able to pass himself off as as great and terrible again.

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  42. Joe says:

    You are a killjoy, Mr. Reynolds.

    The Great Deal Maker has signaled his servility to Ann Coulter and her ilk.

    I would hope even The Great Deal Maker would figure out from this experience that following Ann Coulter is turning into a trip down the rabbit hole for him and his numbers.

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  43. Scott F. says:

    @wr:

    The Democrats have been remarkably unified on their message that there can be and will be negotiations, but the government must be re-opened as a prerequisite. The message is resonating with most of the public. Discrediting extortion via shutdown as a political tactic will be far and away the most meaningful outcome of this face-off and it will happen if Democrats stay on message and stand firm. That’s a win for good governance in both the long term and short term.

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  44. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    As I noted with @wr, the Democrats are doing a good job of making this about principle, which is good for policy, and like you say, Pelosi is showing Trump for who he really is, which is good for power politics. Having the Democrats in control of the House and having Mrs. Pelosi as Speaker is making more of a difference toward restoring good governance than I dared to hope for. Hopefully, it can be sustained.

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  45. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Trump lost the SOTU fight to Pelosi. He’s losing the shutdown fight to Democrats. He’s losing the Russia fight to Mueller. He’s losing the corruption fight to the SDNY. He’s visibly losing, being beaten by others in plain view. He’s even letting himself be spanked by Ann Coulter.

    None of that is true, Michael. NONE of it.

    From another thread:

    Democratic leaders are drafting their own version of a funding bill to reopen the Department of Homeland Security, which is expected to include at least $5 billion for border protection efforts like new technology and more law enforcement agents, according to multiple aides.

    33 days of working people (aka not you) forgoing paychecks so “Democratic leaders” can give Trump the $5 billion he asked for “border protection efforts.”

    What if Trump is more than content to be seen “visibly losing” if he gets what he wants in the end?

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  46. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: because “border protection” does not equal wall.

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  47. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    Even by your standards, “33 days of working people (aka not you) forgoing paychecks so “Democratic leaders” can give Trump the $5 billion he asked for “border protection efforts.”” is remarkably disingenuous. Trump is going to have a hissy-fit over this proposal, as his manly wall is being denied him by a woman.

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  48. charon says:

    @Monala:

    Wall (definition): Nebulous undefined something or other the ostensible product of a 5.7 $B slush fund.

    Border Protection (definition): Various defined measures arrived at by consulting expert opinion and doing some cost/benefit analysis, with specifically allocated funds through the normal appropriation process.

    These things are not the same. (But if they save face for Needy Amin, great!)

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  49. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    What if Trump is more than content to be seen “visibly losing” if he gets what he wants in the end?

    I’m sorry, do you live in BizarroLand or something? Since when has Trump EVER been content with “visibly losing” in his entire life, let alone his recent political career? That would require a MASSIVE personality shift that’s frankly not happening at his age. This entire thing started because he was getting needled for “visibly losing” in the first place!

    I get that you are really dedicated to this whole “Trump’s got a plan Dems aren’t getting” BS but you have gone past reaching into straight up fantasy. This isn’t fanfic and you don’t get to re-write the characterization to fit your head-cannon. Donald J Trump has spent his entire life not being happy with losing, both in public and in private…. which explains a lot since the man’s such a damn loser. And if you are going to keep pursuing your belief that Trump’s not getting his ass handed to him right now and can’t get his way, hey it’s your fantasy. Just don’t expect people to buy your fan theories, ok?

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  50. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:
    Again, your position was first that the Dems should have given Trump everything he wanted without a fight.

    Then your position became, wait, Trump seems to be shifting his position, the Dems have leverage and should get a real victory.

    Now you’re at “Wait, the tactics that they are using to get the leverage I want them to use aren’t working…”

    My god James. Make up your mind!

    BTW, did you hear that your beloved Corey Gardner is voting with the Dems… What a loser to join in with losers like Pelosi and Schumer who are clearly doing everything wrong. Why would you ever vote for him?

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  51. Teve says:
  52. Kathy says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    Let me amend my post to say the security excuse given was disingenuous, because it was transparently an excuse, and easily shot down even by Dennison. The rest was ok.

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  53. James Pearce says:

    @Monala:

    because “border protection” does not equal wall.

    They shut the government down for 33+ days to split that hair?

    @Moosebreath:

    Trump is going to have a hissy-fit over this proposal, as his manly wall is being denied him by a woman.

    It’s only going to cost 5 bill to believe that nonsense…

    @mattbernius:

    My god James. Make up your mind!

    I saw the “shutdown” playing out just like this. A lot of posing and pretending to hang tough, before ultimately capitulating. That’s why I wanted Dems to give Trump the money. I was coming at it from a perspective of “You’re going to give it to him anyway, might as well do it now, instead of two weeks from now.”

    Trump’s offer did provide an opportunity to pounce, but I should have known Dems wouldn’t take it. All that “blue wave” talk may have convinced them that they would be writing the terms, despite only controlling the House. I guess making Trump look like a fool for a few hours on a Saturday would, in theory, have its upsides…but then, so would re-opening the government.

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  54. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    (But if they save face for Needy Amin, great!)

    You win the internet today!

    ReplyReply
  55. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    BTW, did you hear that your beloved Corey Gardner is voting with the Dems…

    Corey Gardner makes it so very easy to disbelieve the prevailing stereotypes about Republicans.

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  56. Scott F. says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I would hope all here would agree that “33 days of working people (aka not you) forgoing paychecks…” is something that should never have happened and should never happen again.

    Quick straw poll: Which strategy seen during this shutdown has the best chance of leading to the conditions where a government shutdown would not occur again? – – Pearce’s way
    – Pelosi’s way

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    …this somewhat childish exchange…

    Umm, not quite

    When Nancy Pelosi initially let it be known that President Trump would not be invited to Congress to deliver his State of the Union speech until he reopened the government, the widespread media take was that Pelosi had sunk to Trump’s level. “Washington these days represents nothing so much as an unruly sandbox,” sniffed one New York Times analysis, in which “septuagenarian politicians are squabbling like 7-year-olds.”

    This narrative purported to hold both sides accountable for the standoff, but it put the thumb on the scales for Trump in an insidious way. It did not permit space for a reasonable judgment as to whether one side’s use of the levers of power (Trump shutting down the government to force massively lopsided concessions from Democrats, versus the House speaker denying Trump a platform to profoundly mislead the country about that destructive act in the midst of carrying it out) might be more legitimate, mature and considered under the circumstances than the other.

    The result of this is that the obscuring fog of both-sidesism lying atop this whole situation has been dissipated. What has been laid bare, instead, is a simple reality: Democrats actually do control one chamber of Congress, after having won a major electoral victory, and that actually does give them some veto power over Trump’s conduct and agenda.

    This is the whole reason for shutting down the government: To break the influence that the Democratic House has over whether Trump’s wall will be funded, by threatening severe harm to the country until Democrats rubber stamp what he wants to end that damage. The theory is that they will care more about that damage than he does. The true nature of this staggering malevolence driving Trump’s misconduct here is also being obscured by a great deal of both-sides media coverage. Once again, the only antidote to it may be the power of “no.”

    Democrats are now operating from the premise that this is really what’s at stake: Whether Trump and McConnell will recognize the outcome of the last election going forward. As Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) put it: “This is no longer just about the wall, it’s about how Donald Trump operates with the Democratic majority in the House.” Rep. Tom Malinowski (N.J.) adds: “If we give in to this tactic in any way we will validate it, and there will be no end to these shutdowns.”

    These basic stakes have been badly obscured by the both-sides fog machine. Perhaps the only thing that can cut through that fog is the power of “no.”

    Corey Gardner makes it so very easy to disbelieve the prevailing stereotypes about Republicans.

    Actually, Corey Gardner makes it so very easy to see how he is defying the head of his party to save his own neck in next year’s elections…

    ReplyReply
  58. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Actually, Corey Gardner makes it so very easy to see how he is defying the head of his party to save his own neck in next year’s elections…

    As a resident of CO, a legitimately purple state where the clowns won’t be taking over, your welcome.

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  59. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    Corey Gardner makes it so very easy to disbelieve the prevailing stereotypes about Republicans.

    So the Democratic position *is* the correct one when Gardner takes it?

    James, I cannot keep up with your flip flops.

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  60. An Interested Party says:

    As a resident of CO, a legitimately purple state where the clowns won’t be taking over, your welcome.

    Not really, as it would be much better if Gardner is replaced by a Democrat…

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  61. mattbernius says:

    One other point on the “failure” of House Democrats… they’re version of legislation in the Senate got more votes in favor than Trump’s plan:

    A House-passed CR to re-open the government until Feb 8, introduced by Democrats, has FAILED in the Senate, 52-44, needing 60 votes to proceed.

    GOP YES VOTES ON DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATION:
    1. Alexander
    2. Collins
    3. Gardner
    4. Isakson
    5. Murkowski
    6. Romney

    Trump’s plan failed 50-47.
    (Note that 50 wasn’t even all Republicans in the Senate)

    Man the Democrats really are screwing this up left and right, huh?

    ReplyReply
  62. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    So the Democratic position *is* the correct one when Gardner takes it?

    My flip flops are in your head, dude.

    Gardner’s position is to re-open the government and argue about immigration later. Gardner’s position is not the Democratic position.

    @An Interested Party:

    Not really, as it would be much better if Gardner is replaced by a Democrat…

    We already have a Democrat. He’s…well, he’s there.

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  63. Moosebreath says:

    @Scott F.:

    Pelosi’s way. Pearce’s way ensures that Trump will shut the government down every time he doesn’t get his way, since there’s no cost to him for doing so.

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  64. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon:
    Kushner’s a twit, but I’d rather have Tiny listening to him than Steve Miller

    ReplyReply
  65. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Gardner’s position is to re-open the government and argue about immigration later. Gardner’s position is not the Democratic position.

    Pelosi and Schumer have been saying exactly that since the shut down started. Reopen government and then we’ll talk immigration later.. It’s all over the place in multiple interviews. How the fck do you miss that without being an intentional tool? Or is it just because a Republican is saying it instead of a Democrat?

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  66. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Pearce’s way ensures that Trump will shut the government down every time he doesn’t get his way, since there’s no cost to him for doing so.

    My way ensures Dems get egg on their faces for being so colossally stupid, but it negates the need for any more shutdowns. It recognizes that $5 in appropriations is a much smaller price than an extended shutdown and has a smaller downside than trying to “negotiate” with a madman. (Don’t forget: Dems only control the House.)

    @Matt:

    Pelosi and Schumer have been saying exactly that since the shut down started.

    But Gardner actually means it.

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  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Yep.

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  68. Kathy says:

    Hypothesis: Pearce cannot help but sympathize with a fellow goalpost mover who claims he never moves the goalposts.

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  69. Barry says:

    @Kathy: “She could have cited the inappropriateness of holding the SOTU while the government is shut down, rather than make up a phony excuse about security.”

    I hold with the explanation that she was being gentle with him, and giving him an out.

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  70. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    We already have a Democrat. He’s…well, he’s there.

    And even Senator Milquetoast of Colorado is sick of this.

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/01/24/colorado-senator-is-tired-of-your-crap/

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  71. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, if you can call that “winning.” The government is still shut down.

    And, for the first time in this adventure, Trump has acknowledged that he cannot get everything he wants. Now, maybe, he will be willing to think about compromise.

    And, all of this is prelude to the debt ceiling fight in a few months. I’d rather have this fight now, as long and arduous as it ends up being, than then. The damage caused now, though painful, is minor compared to a default.

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  72. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    And even Senator Milquetoast of Colorado is sick of this.

    Thanks for that. That was nice to see.

    ReplyReply
  73. An Interested Party says:

    We already have a Democrat. He’s…well, he’s there.

    Yes, that would be Michael Bennet, not Cory Gardner

    ReplyReply
  74. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “My way ensures Dems get egg on their faces for being so colossally stupid, but it negates the need for any more shutdowns.”

    The only question this raises is whether you are that stupid, or you believe we are that stupid. It can only be one or the other.

    To spell it out for you once again, if the Democrats give Trump what he wants, what possible incentive does Trump have not to have more shutdowns to get more things he wants?

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  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, but Ann Coulter is the winner of any conservative round of “Quien es Mas Macho.” Ann Coulter es la más macho de todas.

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  76. An Interested Party says:

    Ann Coulter es la más macho de todas.

    Ciertamente comparado con el Señor Manos Pequeñas…

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  77. Tyrell says:

    I have stated my opinions on the so-called “State of the Union” speech. It is basically outdated and does not get into to real important issues: it does not do what it was origanally set up to do. Maybe this is a good time to phase it out. Just how many people go around talking about State of the Union speeches?

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  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Matt: Folks, keep reminding yourselves that Pearce sees himself as a contrarian extraordinaire and says whatever he thinks will keep him in that role irrespective of what he said 2 weeks, 2 days, or 2 minutes before. It’ll save you a lot of confusion.

    It’s all flummery. Pfui!

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  79. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    But Gardner actually means it.

    Holy shit you’ve become as delusional as my right winger nutcase family members who swear Obama hated white people. Because he didn’t really mean this or he really meant that and it always happens to be horrible.

    They do the same thing with Trump except it’s ALWAYS positive.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’ve been here since the early days and I remember him as Herb. So this whole behaviour change of his has been just unbelievable. It’s like he had a stroke or something.

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  80. JohnMcC says:

    @Matt: He has no analysis worth reading and no ideas worth considering. Just this contrarian, ‘you say this and I’ll say that and we’ll go round-and-round just like yesterday’ bullsh!t. I skip past his comments and rather resent all the replies he gets; everyone could just refuse to attempt to correct him, realize no points are awarded for contradicting him back, etc, etc.

    Let’s talk about something else. How’s the weather where you’re at?

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  81. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC: ditto. But people love beating up on those kind of trolls, because it’s easy.

    at the biology discussion board I help moderate, the dumbest creationists always get the most replies.

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  82. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    if the Democrats give Trump what he wants, what possible incentive does Trump have not to have more shutdowns to get more things he wants?

    Try and get re-elected as the guy who can’t get anything done without shutting down the government.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    keep reminding yourselves that Pearce sees himself as a contrarian extraordinaire

    Inhale: how I wanna be. Exhale: how I wanna be seen.

    @Matt:

    So this whole behaviour change of his has been just unbelievable. It’s like he had a stroke or something.

    I had a stroke? Democrats went from “we’re the United States” to “basket of deplorables” in the span of a decade and I’m the one who had a stroke?

    “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

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  83. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    I had a stroke? Democrats went from “we’re the United States” to “basket of deplorables” in the span of a decade and I’m the one who had a stroke?

    The second you and yours decided on the concept of “real Americans”, you lost the right to cite “we’re the United States”. Y’all are literally telling fellow citizens that they’re not “real” since the 90’s but it was someone pointing out how that kind of behavior is deplorable that’s the line?

    Take your victim-hood somewhere else. It’s not our fault someone held up a mirror and y’all didn’t like what you saw in it.

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  84. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Try and get re-elected as the guy who can’t get anything done without shutting down the government.”

    So you really do think we’re that stupid. Moving on.

    ReplyReply
  85. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    The second you and yours decided on the concept of “real Americans”, you lost the right to cite “we’re the United States”.

    I voted for Obama twice, so go project on someone else.

    @Moosebreath:

    So you really do think we’re that stupid.

    Well…

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  86. just nutha says:

    @Matt: Yeah, I know. As Herb he was not very interesting but at the start of his JP period, he seemed to be capable of saying thoughtful things. In some ways he reminds me of Eric Florak, who I didn’t always agree with but found to have an interesting blog of his own back about 1o years ago. Now they’re both just schlock jocks simply going for outrage or something.

    ReplyReply

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