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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Five Years Ago, Conservatives Were Okay with Cancelling the State of the Union

In Defying the Odds, we discuss polarization in the 2016 election.  In response to the shutdown, Speaker Pelosi suggested postponing the State of the Union, or having POTUS deliver it in writing.  Trump supporters denounced her statement. But a few years ago, some conservatives suggested the same thing.

On November 20, 2014, Joel Pollak wrote at Breitbart:
Congressional Republicans are searching for ways–short of impeachment or shutting down the government–to respond to President Barack Obama’s seizure of arbitrary power over immigration law and enforcement. One way would be to cancel the State of the Union address next year, so that the elected representatives of the people do not have to listen to, or applaud, a man who is violating his oath of office and governing as a tyrant.
On November 21, 2014, Ace of Spades blogged:
Yesterday we saw a number of ideas floated about how to respond....rescission, lawsuits, de-fundingand withholding votes on nominees to name a few on the table. There's one idea I'd like to add that is in many ways symbolic but that would focus the nation on the seriousness of this problem, do not invite Obama to address a joint session of Congress to deliver the State of the Union address.
The Constitution simply requires that "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Nothing requires that he do so in person. The modern in person State of The Union dates back to Woodrow Wilson but Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all gave written reports as was the custom from Thomas Jefferson to Wilson.
And Presidents don't simply show up whenever they please to address the Congress, they must be formally invited. That's where Boehner and McConnell can strike a blow for the legislature...simply don't invite him.
On November 25, 2014, Jeremy Peters reported at NYT:
“Yes, there’s a risk to overreacting, but there’s a risk to underreacting as well,” said Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “And I fear that’s the way the congressional leadership is leaning.”
Mr. Lowry suggested one way Congress could react. “If I were John Boehner,” he said, referring to the House speaker, “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.’ ”