The State of The Union and the State Of American Politics Of Division

imagesPresident Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address covered a wide array of domestic and international issues. At eighty minutes, it was long of the longest such speeches.  Putting the policies aside, Trump’s delivery last night was one of his strongest. Indeed, while many have objected to the content, it was a much better delivery than his inauguration in my opinion.  CBS News is reporting that 75 percent of Americans watching approved of the speech.

However, most of us in the Beltway were watching the awkward tension between the members, including the absence of boycotting members and at least one incident of loud booing from the Democratic members.  Rep. Luis Gutierrez was shown walking out as members chanting “USA, USA.” (He later remarked  “Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.”) Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led most Democrats out of the door immediately after the President finished and most Democrats did not applaud for most of the speech.  I have been previously critical of a Republican member protesting during the State of the Union\ and a serious breach of tradition by Associate Justice Sam Alito.

Here is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversy.

 

One year after various Democratic politicians boycotted the presidential inauguration, there is a growing list of members now pledging to boycott President Trump’s State of the Union address. As with the boycott of the inauguration, this protest misses the point of the State of the Union and, more importantly, the role played by members of Congress. To put it simply, it is not about him or them. It is about us.

Besides the inauguration, the State of the Union is the only occasion in which members of all three branches gather together in a formal joint event. It is a demonstration of civility and comity between the branches. It has become a symbol of a unified government where a president speaks to the body of representatives for the American people. This was not always the case. Indeed, the State of the Union as we know it is a relatively recent tradition.

Article II of the Constitution states that the president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” It does not require that such a statement be made in person or that members attend such a session.

Indeed, while George Washington gave the first in-person address on Jan. 8, 1790, many presidents simply sent a written account to Congress. Thomas Jefferson thought the gathering of Congress to listen to him was a bit too monarchical in appearance, a criticism that many have made with the increasing pomp and circumstance surrounding modern State of the Union speeches. It was Woodrow Wilson who returned to in-person reports, though Jimmy Carter in 1981 returned to the written option.

There are ample reasons to dislike the State of the Union addresses. They have become more showy and less substantive with every speech. Presidents now parade tragic or heroic cases in the gallery while both sides conduct ritualistic cheers or jeers. What follows is some of the lowest grade analysis as commentators pretend that the address was newsworthy for its content or omission. Fewer people are watching the addresses, which have declined from a 44.3 rating during the Clinton presidency to 19 or 20 for recent addresses. (Notably, Trump was responsible for a sharp increase to 28.7 in his Feb. 28 address.)

So if these addresses have been less substantive and less watched over time, why does any of this matter? The answer is that the modern address has one overriding redeeming quality: optics. When a president takes the dais, he stands before a body composed of all three branches, including the members of both houses of Congress. Despite deep divisions over the years, these gatherings have taken place as the legislative branch listens to the head of the executive branch on the state of our government.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has declared that she will boycott the address and asked, “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?” Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) says that she will not attend because “President Trump’s address will be full of innuendo, empty promises, and lies.” It is tempting to dismiss this content with the observation that, if we removed “innuendo, empty promises, and lies” from the congressional record, we would be left on some days with little more than a transcript the length of a haiku poem.

Yet, these statements reveal a troubling and fundamental miscomprehension of the role of members. First and foremost, it is not about these members as individuals. They represent hundreds of thousands of citizens, including some who support and others who oppose the president. As representatives, they are expected to attend these events to represent those citizens. They do not have to rejoice, but they have to represent.

 

Second, the view of a given president is not the material question for a member. Members have gathered out of respect for the office, not the officeholder. They gathered to hear Richard Nixon despite his criminal allegations. Indeed, Waters appeared to listen to Clinton, who not only lied under oath, but was impeached for doing so. Members often have significant objections to the conduct or policies or even the character of a president, but they appear because our government is greater than its individual parts.

Third, if members begin to engage in protests or boycotts of the State of the Union, we will lose the little decorum that we have retained in these increasingly poisonous, petty political times. If attendance is treated as an endorsement of presidential policies, more and more seats will be left vacant as partisan voters demand boycotts. The result will be further calcification of our divisions, where even the ceremonial joint sessions are no longer tolerable.

What is most concerning is the view of boycotting members that there is no longer any value in listening to the president. Waters added, “I don’t appreciate him and I wouldn’t waste my time sitting in that house listening to what he has to say. He does not deserve my attention.” Rep. John Lewis(D-Ga.) has said, “I cannot, in all good conscious, be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it.”

When James Madison and others fashioned our constitutional system, they sought to create avenues in which factional interests could be converted into majoritarian compromises. For all of our divisions through the centuries, this system has survived because it forces disparate and divisive interests to communicate and negotiate. While we have many periods of “gridlock,” the modern State of the Union reaffirms the premise that all groups and parties remain committed to this process, and to each other.

While some refer to these speeches as an address to the nation, it was intended to be an address to Congress. It is the most visible manifestation of a system that seeks to create avenues for dialogue despite our differences. This is not some Tinder dating app where you swipe left to reject a president or some reality show where you can vote yourself off the island. Indeed, the Constitution is something of a forced date. It forces politicians to deal with each other. The State of the Union has become a symbol that our government remains unified, not on policy but process.

When we are deeply divided, the value of coming together for these events is more, not less, important. With our politicians unable to pass a budget to fund our government beyond the first week of February, this is the worse time for members to stomp off in a puerile fit. A president is coming to Congress on Jan. 30, and members should be there to greet him.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

193 thoughts on “The State of The Union and the State Of American Politics Of Division”

  1. A lawsuit has been filed against Facebook involving a murder- an interesting topic for a legal blog.
    Technology aimed at commerce, gathers data and, at lightening speed, identifies users and provides info. about products and location availability. But, apparently, those sophisticated algorithms fail to detect and warn about the threats of groups like neo-Nazi’s (and, fail to detect the source of foreign bots selling a GOP Presidential candidate).

    Z-berg and his wife should stop imposing the richest 0.1%’s tech products on public schools and work to contribute as citizens interested in preserving democracy and encouraging beneficial uses of technology, even when it doesn’t generate more concentrated wealth.

  2. It’s pretty late in the day to stand up for tradition and comity. In fact, too late.

  3. Forget about the ones who boycotted. Democrats refused to stand even when the President entered the joint session. Wow. So they are saying to President Trump: we’ll meet YOUR poor behavior and “trump it” by discarding ALL traditional etiquette in favor of embracing bitter partisanship above all else – flag, country, God. And they actually believe this is a winning strategy?

  4. Free Enterprise v. Communism

    If the Supreme Court weren’t communist,

    Democrats would have been declared unconstitutional long, long ago.
    _______________________________________________________

    The entire welfare state is unconstitutional.

    Congress has NO authority to tax for “individual welfare” which was omitted and, thereby, excluded by the American Founders.

    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1

    “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,…to…provide for the…general Welfare…”

    1. Make up your mind, if you say the entire welfare state is unconstitutional, then why does the constitution say to provide for the general welfare? Because the Supreme Court said so. Over and over.

  5. The rats are jumping ship, first J. Chaffets from the house over site committee, now T. Gowdy. And those two gave out as much crap as Nunes. So wait for that memo folks and grab a life vest.

    1. Here’s what Joy Reid’s Twitter post said:

      Church … family … police … military … the national anthem … Trump trying to call on all the tropes of 1950s-era nationalism. The goal of this speech appears to be to force the normalization of Trump on the terms of the bygone era his supporters are nostalgic for. #SOTU

      LOL! Bygone era!?

    2. IMO it was an excellent speech, very positive and based on the cultural direction of the US. The Democrats hated it because it was a very positive American speech opposite from the culture of death the left provides.

  6. Rearranging the deck chairs won’t help. The USS Trump had hit that iceberg a long time ago, and while his supporters cling onto their red hats and TIKI torches, Trump will ride off in the only lifeboat left and laugh his ass off when his very fine people are buying his book on how to make money running, and being President.

      1. With luck, when Gowdy’s gone, settlement payments like the $150,000 to his former aide (taxpayer funds) won’t occur as often.
        Has the cost of the investigation into the ambush that killed 4 American soldiers, resulting from the attack Trump ordered, reached the same amount Gowdy spent on Benghazi?

          1. Thanks for the link. The organization that posted the article reflects a community that cares about America and its veterans, unlike the fake patriotism of the GOP and its leader, a draft dodger who denigrates POW’s and gold star families.

      2. Good. Maybe SC can get some Progressive candidates. LOL at the thought! Adelson owns the Republicans here.

  7. Calling for a conciliatory effort to honor the office and auspices of collegiality among separate branches of government, are we Prof. Turley?

    Dude, we are steps away from a dictatorship. The state of the union is fractured and sinking. Trump called for dictatorial power last night in case you missed it. Congress should have the power to fire employees?

    We already see a republican Congress calling for the cleansing of the FBI. Now they want to remove any employee, if Trump has his way, without cause.

    The same Congress that has been obstructing the Mueller investigation at every turn with nonsense conspiracies like Deep State, Secret Society, unmasking, wrongful wiretapping and FISA abuses by the DOJ. (I invite the memo criticizing FISA bc it is damn near impossible to misuse a program with layers of accountability, digital unalterable trails, and the FISC).

    Turley, make a fricken stand. From where i sit, you are backing the wrong pony normalizing this SOU experience and this presidency. The putsch is on.

    1. Dude, we are steps away from a dictatorship.

      Dude, and the more steps we take the further away we get. Here’s a trip down memory lane for you.

      “We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will.” Barack Obama

      Your welcome!

    2. “Dude, we are steps away from a dictatorship.”

      List what Trump has *done* that caused you to make such a statement.

      Alternatively, are you saying that former presidents have increased the power of the presidency and Obama abused it to such an extent that anything but a weak president today leaves us in that position.

      “Trump called for dictatorial power last night in case you missed it. Congress should have the power to fire employees?”

      Explain.

      Congress oversees the FBI (part of the executive branch). They are supposed to take action when they perceive wrongdoing.

      You have been watching too much CNN and never bothered to look at how the Obama administration misued presidential power. Examples: the IRS was used to target his enemies; The DOJ including the FBI was taking a political position in their duties to uphold the law.

    3. “Dude, we are steps away from a dictatorship… Turley, make a fricken stand. From where i sit, you are backing the wrong pony normalizing this SOU experience and this presidency. The putsch is on.”

      ****************************

      Admit it! Can’t we all picture DR as some stoned surfer Bro rolling out of barrel with some bongo drum philosophy about Hegel or Descartes or Lucy from Charlie Brown. Akaw or Barney (more koool surfer words) ? You decide.

    4. Obama was the near dictator.

      He persuaded Harry Reid to nuke the filibuster for judicial appointments so Obama could stack the judiciary with activists. Obama believed that would be necessary because he was going to by pass Congress to create policy, and he needed left wing activists in black robes in place to rubber stamp his actions.

      Sure enough, Obama gave a nationally televised speech from the floor of the People’s House in which he told America he planned to use his “pen and his phone” to impose his policy preferences. For promising to usurp their legislative authority, elected Democrats disgracefully gave him a standing ovation. The Founders would have been appalled. They anticipated each of the three branches would zealously guard their own power from the other and in that process individual liberty would be preserved and protected.

      Obama made good on his promise to usurp Congress’s authority. 1) He literally stole billions of dollars not appropriated by Congress to prevent Obamacare from falling apart. 2) He went around Congress and used the EPA to impose his energy preferences with his Clean Power Plan. 3) After saying almost 20 times he did not have the authority to change immigration policy on his own, he changed immigration policy on his own when he decided to give foreigners here illegally legal status with DACA and DAPA.

      His plan to stack the judiciary with leftist activists didn’t work. All three of those executive overreaches have been challenged in the courts.

      Trump, the guy you pretend is some sort of dictator, told Congress – the legislature constitutionally responsible for creating the policy – to fix the Obamacare mess and the DACA mess Obama created with his unlawful actions.

      Obama acted like a dictator to trample on the constitution and individual liberty. You didn’t care. But now you have fantasies that the current guy is some sort of dictator. I guess low information people who are told for 18 months that he’s the Second Coming of Adolph Hitler eventually start to believe it.

      Trump is the opposite of a dictator. I don’t care what the ACLU says, Trump is shaping up to be more libertarian than any president in my life. He believes in gun liberty as demonstrated by his strong support for the 2A. Most dictators try to disarm their population to enhance their power and the state’s power. He is restoring religious liberty. The government no longer makes you choose between either buying government approved insurance or pay it the tribute it demands. By signing lower tax rates into law and deregulating commerce, he is strongly supporting economic liberty.

      Trump is empowering the individual citizen over the state. That’s what libertarians do. It’s not what dictators do. Your hero usurped Congress’s legislative powers. That’s what tyrants do.

      1. Exactly. “Trump is empowering the individual citizen over the state.”

        And let’s not forget the Obama administration’s ‘war’ on journalists, sources, leakers and whistleblowers. Obama spied on and prosecuted more sources and journalists than all prior administrations combined. But now Democrats and the MSM suddenly think it’s a patriotic duty for leakers to leak as long as it damages Trump.

        Also, not only did Barack Obama pay to seal all of his personal records from public scrutiny, but the Obama administration in its final year spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act. The most transparent administration ever? Hardly.

        https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-03-14/obamas-final-year-us-spent-36-million-in-records-lawsuits

      2. Top notch, Scot. The problem is to many their ideology has become their religion and religion is faith-based. Therefore the facts don’t matter to them and they believe you are engaged in blasphemy. They pray at the altar of Obama while Obama and his followers prey on honest people.

  8. Optics indeed. The SOTU delivered by President Donald Trump to a national audience. Hillary Clinton defending her decision to retain a sexual harassment staffer during her 2008 campaign on Facebook.

    Makes me want to watch the Wizard of Oz, just to see the house land once on Hillary’s sister.

  9. One consequence of the speech is that the outcome went badly for the Democrats. For them, the point of no return came when President Trump enumerated tangible and credible news on the employment numbers for Americans, most notably the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic citizens being the lowest levels recorded, something that traditionally Democrats proffer they hold dear, and all we saw from them was sneers and scowls on their faces. That is the face of the Democratic Party today.

    Their collective hatred of President Trump is so high, they refuse to acknowledge any benefit to their people. For them it seems a better outcome is to cause the president to fail even at the great expense to those in their constituency. So when the DNC claims they are first and foremost for the voter, it is a lie.

    The federal Democrats need a serious reassessment of what they value most but I expect they will not do so. They will continue to make fools of themselves.

    While the rest of the country improves its station in life, many Democrats will find themselves on the sidelines proudly polishing their red “resist” pins.

    1. :Like so many of Trump’s claims, most of the improvement in the employment numbers for African Americans happened during the Obama administration. The improvement continued during the Trump administration but at a slower rate and still due to Obama policies.

        1. Squeeky, I just clicked on to ask the exact same question and you beat me to it. Unfortunately, neither of us will get an answer.

          1. Which Trump policies created the job growth? Is it the yet to be felt tax cut that any monkey could have signed into law? A tax cut that has to be repaid with interest? That tax cut?

            Or maybe you’re right? Will Trump and his people enforce environment protections? Consumer protections? SEC / Wall street protections? Any regulation? I mean the guy bragged about removing more regulations than any president in history and one of the main functions of government besides allocating national resources is regulatory oversight.

            So for this ‘booming economy’ we get in exchange: polluted air, water, soil, with a big nod to expanding greenhouse gases ushering in the costs of global warming and the extirpation of the human race, no consumer protection, and on and on.

            But you’ll have an extra C note in your pocket from Trump’s payola tax cut.

            1. The reduction in regulations, the coming tax cuts, taking us out of TPP, taking us out of the Paris Climate Charade, signing off on the Keystone Pipeline, and most importantly, giving Americans some hope that an adult now sits in the White House, not some ex-stoner Negro who used the phrase “lead from behind” to cover for his lethargy and general lack of competence.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

                1. That was an interesting link, and thank you for it. However, I do understand debits and credits. And the analysis there would be very misleading to someone less knowledgeable. I think the article was written more for the headline and the Trump bashing, than the reality.

                  The point they made was, taxes are going down now, but money will have to be made up in the future in a cosmic sense, and the inflation rate index is a source for a good screwing over of the public. But that obviates the current reality (a credit) with a very much put off future prediction (a debit).

                  Right now, and for the next few years, it is a massive tax cut, and who the heck really knows what will happen 10 years down the road??? Well, I guess me, but I ain’t talking!

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

            2. “Which Trump policies created the job growth?”

              Obama was keeping the economy down. Just knowing the next president would be reducing unnecessary regulations and then him doing so spurred the economy.

              Obama was a poor leader. One or two numbers can give a wrong impression, but too many economic numbers have to lead one to accept that the change in the administration has spurred the economy.

              1. I see now that Squeeky added a few more things. I’ll provide even a more extensive list since Darrin likes lists. I can understand if some of the achievements listed might be up for debate, but not the vast majority. Darrin can comment one by one if he wishes especially since this list was created at an earlier date.

                Jobs and the economy

                Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
                Increase of the GDP above 3 percent.
                Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent.
                Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs.
                A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
                A new executive order to boost apprenticeships.
                A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs.
                Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans.
                Killing job-stifling regulations

                Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.
                Signed 15 congressional regulatory cuts.
                Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations.
                Signed an Executive Order cutting the time for infrastructure permit approvals.
                Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry.
                Fair trade

                Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
                Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S.
                Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
                Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad.
                Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority.
                Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.
                Boosting U.S. energy dominance

                The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
                Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy.
                Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama.
                Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
                EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions.
                Protecting the U.S. homeland

                Laid out new principles for reforming immigration and announced plan to end “chain migration,” which lets one legal immigrant to bring in dozens of family members.
                Made progress to build the border wall with Mexico.
                Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.
                Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S.
                Doubled the number of counties participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged with deporting illegals.
                Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016.
                Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.
                Ditto for other amnesty programs like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
                Cracking down on some 300 sanctuary cities that defy ICE but still get federal dollars.
                Added some 100 new immigration judges.
                Protecting communities

                Justice announced grants of $98 million to fund 802 new cops.
                Justice worked with Central American nations to arrest and charge 4,000 MS-13 members.
                Homeland rounded up nearly 800 MS-13 members, an 83 percent one-year increase.
                Signed three executive orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations.
                Attorney General Jeff Sessions created new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crimes.
                Accountability

                Trump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
                Ordered ethical standards including a lobbying ban.
                Called for a comprehensive plan to reorganize the executive branch.
                Ordered an overhaul to modernize the digital government.
                Called for a full audit of the Pentagon and its spending.
                Combatting opioids

                First, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids.
                His Council of Economic Advisors played a role in determining that overdoses are underreported by as much as 24 percent.
                The Department of Health and Human Services laid out a new five-point strategy to fight the crisis.
                Justice announced it was scheduling fentanyl substances as a drug class under the Controlled Substances Act.
                Justice started a fraud crackdown, arresting more than 400.
                The administration added $500 million to fight the crisis.
                On National Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 456 tons.
                Protecting life

                In his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions.
                Worked with Congress on a bill overturning an Obama regulation that blocked states from defunding abortion providers.
                Published guidance to block Obamacare money from supporting abortion.
                Helping veterans

                Signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
                Signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.
                Signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, to provide support.
                Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
                Created a VA hotline.
                Had the VA launch an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with a way to access wait time and quality of care data.
                With VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology.
                Promoting peace through strength

                Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.
                Worked to increase defense spending.
                Empowered military leaders to “seize the initiative and win,” reducing the need for a White House sign off on every mission.
                Directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop space war strategies.
                Elevated U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.
                Withdrew from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, which Trump saw as a threat to borders.
                Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.
                Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.
                Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.
                Announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens support for U.S. forces at war with terrorism.
                NATO increased support for the war in Afghanistan.
                Approved a new Iran strategy plan focused on neutralizing the country’s influence in the region.
                Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.
                Prevented subsequent chemical attacks by announcing a plan to detect them better and warned of future strikes if they were used.
                Ordered new sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.
                Restoring confidence in and respect for America

                Trump won the release of Americans held abroad, often using his personal relationships with world leaders.
                Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
                Conducted a historic 12-day trip through Asia, winning new cooperative deals. On the trip, he attended three regional summits to promote American interests.
                He traveled to the Middle East and Europe to build new relationships with leaders.
                Traveled to Poland and on to Germany for the G-20 meeting where he pushed again for funding of women entrepreneurs.
                Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner

            3. Just to let you know Darrin, the tax law increases my taxes, so that C note you talk about doesn’t exist for me.

            4. Yoohoo! Darrin Rychlak! Where are you??? C’mon out and play! Allan just answered your question really good for you, down below! (Me too, to a much lesser extent.) Don’t you want to come out and tell Allan, “Thank you!” for taking the time to answer your very sincere and relevant question! Yoohoo! Are you in there somewhere???

              Hey, has anybody seen Darrin Rychlak??? Do you think he is OK??? He isn’t cutting himself again, is he???

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

          2. I suppose Betty Kath could have said, with an equally straight face, that 32 million babies were born during Obama’s term in office, with the implication being that he had something to do with it.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

      1. So Bettykath, if the economic numbers had gone down during Trump’s first year in office, instead of up, would that have been because of Trump or Obama?

    2. Darren:
      “For them, the point of no return came when President Trump enumerated tangible and credible news on the employment numbers for Americans, most notably the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic citizens being the lowest levels recorded …”

      *****************

      Too thoughtful, D. A little more visceral imho. It went way South for the Dims when they refused to stand for tributes to the military, the national anthem and the flag. We used to have a name for that kind of citizen.

      But you say potato, I say potahto!

  10. Prof. Turley — We know we live in a highly partisan, poisonous political environment. What will repair it? Or are we now doomed?

  11. I watched Nancy Pelosi whenever the camera focused on her and she looked as if she were sucking a lemon.

  12. So true:

    “It is tempting to dismiss this content with the observation that, if we removed “innuendo, empty promises, and lies” from the congressional record, we would be left on some days with little more than a transcript the length of a haiku poem.”

  13. For Trump to read his speech translated from the original Russian, was quite a show.

    1. “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”

      Chancellor Gorkon

  14. Indies not impressed with Joe Kennedy…. =)

    Glenn Greenwald Retweeted Lee Fang

    Good to see Democrats trying something new: it’s been 13 whole months since they ran a very rich candidate with deep Wall Street and corporate ties from a famous political family. Maybe it’ll work this time.

    Lee Fang‏Verified account @lhfang

    Joe Kennedy’s largest donors this cycle include Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, and Cardinal Health, the opioid distributor company.

    1. You just use a different angle than your partner squekkky. Both
      Part of da anti immimigrant group dat works this blog.

      1. I suspect during the speech last night Ken was howling in the basement like a dog on the 4th of July.

        1. You and squekkky were jumpin up and down in an orange frenzy. I snoozed after 5 minutes of da TelePrompTer.

          1. The color of one’s skin is always the measure of one’s character, according to “ken”.

        2. Either that, or he was on the edge of his seat for the entire speech, breathlessly waiting for the moment when Trump would devolve into a state of cognitive meltdown, and then, when the speech was nearing its conclusion, and the hoped for, the prayed for, the expected moment never occurred, he curled up into a fetal position, with his thumb in his mouth and cried himself to sleep.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

            1. So T rump read da Telepromter and did not have a fit, bigger deal to you. Don’t watch these readings no matter who is in or out.

  15. Turley said, “First and foremost . . . [a]s representatives, they are expected to attend these events to represent those citizens. They do not have to rejoice, but they have to represent.

    Second . . . Members have gathered out of respect for the office, not the officeholder.

    Third, if members begin to engage in protests or boycotts of the State of the Union, we will lose the little decorum that we have retained in these increasingly poisonous, petty political times.”

    Firstly, it used to be that representation meant voting for proposed legislation. Evidently Turley thinks representation means attendance at an speaking event wherein no votes are cast for any proposed legislation. Gee willikers, Professor, that’s a rather frightening thought you’ve entered into evidence: No representation without attendance to The POTUS’ SOTU.

    Secondly, R_E_S_P_E_C_T. Think what you trying to do me. Now think. Who is disrespecting the Office of The POTUS??? The U. S. Representatives who won’t listen to The POTUS? No. That’s dissing the officeholder–not The Office. Could it be, shall one suppose, that the officeholder [Trump] is disrespecting The Office of The POTUS???

    Thirdly, on what planet is protesting or boycotting a Don Juan di Mar-a-Lago speech indecorous??? Aldebaran IV??? Then go to, you ancient Sumerian Foo Fighters, you.

    1. Melania does not to ride with him and neither do many of us. He tried to be a little better cause his polls are in the shit. Miller wrote da speech not Bannon. He was oranger than ever but da TelePrompTer was working.

  16. I think the Democrats represent some of the most ignorant group of politicians in Washington and last night they proved it completely. As I watched their faces as the chant USA went up I could see the hatred in their eyes for this nation. Imagine how these fools are putting illegals above the American people and the rule of law. They have orchestrated the biggest lie to the American people since President Trump was duly elected. I hope the eyes of the Independent voter is opened on publication of the FISA memo and more Demoncrat politicians will be sent packing. The Independent voter will ultimately make the difference.

    1. You will come fall and so will da rest of us, By by Nunez. California says move to DC full time and work for T rum’s admin
      On da legit.

    1. From the AP Fact check link on the previous page:

      TRUMP: “In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, (Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released.”

      THE FACTS: Trump is correct that al-Baghdadi had been released after being detained at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq. But Trump made his comment while announcing that he had signed an executive order to keep open the controversial U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. If he meant that “hundreds and hundreds” of Guantanamo detainees had been released only to return to the battlefield, his math is off.

      The office of the Director of National Intelligence said this summer in its most recent report on the subject that of the 728 detainees who have been released from Guantanamo, 122 are “confirmed” and 90 are “suspected” of re-engaging in hostile activities.”

        1. Paul, she doesn’t know what she is talking about. Even the fact check says: “Trump is correct that al-Baghdadi had been released after being detained at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq.” That means Trump was aware of the many prison camps that exist (not just Guantanamo). Diane keeps searching for things to say but she wants so much to put Trump in a bad light she makes herself look exceedingly foolish.

          1. AP Fact Check said, “But Trump made his comment while announcing that he had signed an executive order to keep open the controversial U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

              1. My comment was nothing but AP Fact Check. I didn’t make a comment of my own–you dolt, you..

                1. You accepted the AP statement. Therefore, you indirectly conflated the statements as well. Of course, you are free to disagree with the AP statement and then your comment would be totally correct.

      1. Even if all your nitpicking bullsh*t was correct, I would still care less. Because the alternative is Nancy Pelosi, whose rich white family lives in gated communities, while she complains that immigration laws are racissst! if the silly b*tch wants to live in a darker country, then she should move her demented a$$ to Haiti, or maybe Venezuela.

        That is why nobody except you, and twerps like you, gives a flying f*ck about your silly fact checking. Has AP done a “fact check” on whether Trump is a racist??? Has AP done a fact check on CNN, or MSNBC??? You are simply trying to get everybody down on some micro level, pretending that you really, really care about “facts” while ignoring the macro. And, while being a commenter who routinely posts every stupid rumor and phony DNC talking point you can get your paws on, Sorry, but I ain’t falling for it.

        Great Speech President Trump!

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

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