Yesterday, J.E. Dyer penned a thoughtful piece titled “Trump should accept Pelosi’s SOTU rejection and just deliver it his way.” In it, she wrote:
It’s hard to see a downside to this approach. Our government is not unified and in mutual back-slapping mode at the moment.
A number of commentators on the Right have adopted a similar posture, arguing its high time the address reverted to a simpler form, which appears to be what the founders had in mind.
Up until the time of Woodrow Wilson, who was the first president to deliver the State of the Union as a live speech, the address was frequently presented to Congress in the form of a paper document. It was reprinted in newspapers for Americans interested in reading it.
Since that era the SOTU has evolved into something of a media circus, with much of the pomp and circumstance that go hand-in-hand with a royal decree. The president utters a sentence or two articulating a policy, and members of his party applaud while the opposing party collectively folds its hands in its lap. The administration also invites special guests, who sit in the gallery and have been used increasingly in recent years as pawns to help the president plead his partisan case to the American people.
I’m not suggesting this is a good thing — it’s a cynical ploy at best — but I am suggesting that in this age of calculated media bias against the Right, depriving the president of this opportunity is tantamount to silencing him.
Which may well be Nancy Pelosi’s real motivation in denying the current president his bully pulpit on the floor of the House. We all witnessed her and Chuck Schumer’s reaction to his plan to address the American people from the Oval Office on the subject of border security. The Democratic leaders were so worried that his arguments might persuade some voters to come over to his side on the debate over a border wall that they insisted on equal air time — something unprecedented in the history of Oval Office addresses.
If the president gets his bully pulpit on Jan. 29, which is when the SOTU is scheduled to take place, many Americans may get a chance to hear for the first time of the tragedies endured by their neighbors who lost a son or mother or other relative at the hands of an illegal alien. They will have an opportunity to look into the grief-stricken faces of these family members in much the way they were treated to glimpses of sick people with no health insurance during the Obama years.
Is it manipulation? You bet. Should it be discontinued? Undoubtedly. But it should not be discontinued during the tenure of the current president, who is a man the media despise with a singular passion and will seek to misquote or subvert at every turn. The practice should also not be suspended at a time when the stakes in re the border crisis are so high.
On Tuesday families of victims of illegal immigration congregated outside Nancy Pelosi’s office. She refused to meet with them, which is un-American and perverse. But even more perverse is the fact that the mainstream media gave zero coverage to the event.
Pelosi was unwilling to greet the eyes of these people. The American people should not be denied the chance to do so.