By Joe Sixpack
Yes, this is great theatre. Queen Nancy makes her move, threatening to cancel President Trump’s State of the Union Address by not allowing him access to the House Chamber. Then King Donald plays his trump card. He sends her a short, but official, letter canceling her week-long junket to three countries.
“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been canceled,” says Trump in the letter. “We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” he continues, twisting the knife a little by adding “I am sure that you would agree that postponing this public relations event is appropriate.”
This is classic Trump, the Trump that really gets the juices flowing among his hardcore base. This is the stuff MAGA is made of in their minds. You show ’em, Donald!
But it’s much more than that, whether the President realizes it or not. He has the instincts to master the stage simply by showing up, and this opens up the possibility that some voters will understand that while there are bluster and showmanship here, there are deeper meanings. It’s a fascinating object lesson, or several lessons, playing out in front of our eyes. In this age of trolling and return fire, Trump has proven a master. Pelosi floats the idea of doing something she may not even be able to do, and Trump responds with disproportionate power, doing something he can indeed do.
The first lesson here is that the President has put the Speaker of the House in her place. He did it in a polite note, but the message is clear. You have a knife, I have a gun.
The next lesson is to the taxpayers: while I’m trying to figure this thing out, Nancy and her pals are off partying on your dime. Thanks to half-naked photos of Bob Menendez on the beach with bikini-clad lobbyists on yet another taxpayer-funded junket, the image of Democrats partying while others suffer is reinforced. Point to Trump.
Number three? This is a memo to Mitt Romney and the Bush clan and to all Republicans who think you have to meekly accept the blame for a shutdown, or anything else: No, you don’t!
Nonetheless, the Democrats generally “win” these PR wars, for a number of reasons. One way they win is by picking and choosing what gets shuttered during a shutdown. Obama shut down War Memorials and National Parks because those kinds of things irk people, hiding behind the media’s onslaught against Ted Cruz - or going back to the 90s - the media outrage at Newt Gingrich. It seems that the media, part of the Democrat party, is always able to “blame” Republicans for any shutdown under any circumstances. And the compliant ‘low T’ Republican establishment complies by walking around all apologetic.
The polls indicated that this combination of media bias and an unwillingness to push back by the GOP does indeed equal voter problems for Republicans. Trump is a different animal. He is embracing the shutdown and choosing Pelosi’s trip to shut down.
Lesson four is to use the language to shape the narrative. I’ve no idea who actually wrote the letter to Pelosi, but the verbiage “excursion” and “public relations event” is an elegant way of saying that while I’m doing the important work, your pursuits are trivial. Perfect!
And finally five: This is a guaranteed refocus on the border - which is what started all this in the first place - in stark contrast to Democrats gone wild or yacking it up in three Muslim-dominated countries. And yes, Brussels now fits that definition.
The takeaway is this: the new sheriff is still in town.
About the author…
republished here with permission