Via the Corner, our Thanksgiving eve thread about whether the GOP should pull the plug on the SOTU to protest executive amnesty went for nearly 200 comments, so here you go. Enjoy the exciting conclusion. Boehner’s reasoning is cute, and in line with a point made many times by conservatives in the past: The more Obama talks, the flatter his popularity gets. If you want to undermine him, the best thing you can do is hand him a microphone. Okay, but … Obama’s going to deliver a SOTU address on TV no matter what Boehner does. Disinviting him won’t stop him from talking, rest assured; he’d deliver his speech from the White House instead. Or, to make the optics especially bad for Republicans, he’d book an auditorium somewhere and invite his own sympathetic audience — congressional Democrats, liberal veterans, DREAMers, Ferguson protesters, Hassan Rouhani. For once, he’d have an enthusiastic crowd for the SOTU instead of the usual boring half-applaud-half-silent partisan reaction. And all the media would want to talk about, of course, is the fact that Republicans didn’t show up to hear the first black president even though the Republican House that actually impeached Bill Clinton in December 1998 had him back a month later to deliver the State of the Union. How does Boehner win there?
The answer he really wants to give, I assume, is that disinviting Obama is a silly empty gesture, potent in its symbolism as a rebuke to a president who no longer respects Congress but totally meaningless in practical effect. He can’t give that answer, though, because the Ted Yoho bill on immigration that he pushed, which formally disapproved of Obama’s executive order, is … also a meaningless empty gesture, as it’ll either be vetoed by O or blocked by Senate Democrats. In fact, it’s worse than meaningless:
DACA, Obama’s 2012 amnesty for DREAMers, would still stand even if the bill passed. So there you go — rather than use the SOTU for a symbolic repudiation of Obama and risk angering non-Republicans, Boehner’s using the Yoho bill for a symbolic repudiation and anger Republicans instead. That’s our leadership!