Conway: No emergency declaration in tonight's SOTU

Too bad. At least that would make this the first State of the Union speech since 2002 with any news value. Kellyanne Conway began the SOTU expectations-setting game early this morning, informing the media that Donald Trump will demand action on the border wall in tonight’s address to the joint session of Congress. However, he won’t use that stage to pre-empt action with a declaration of emergency that would allow him to use Defense Department funds to complete the project:

Yesterday, however, Conway reminded the media that Trump has “the absolute right” to declare an emergency to build the border wall. Hint hint:

In other words: Nice leverage ya got there. Shame if anything *happened* to it. Still, it’s premature to drop a bomb like this. The CR still has ten days left to run, and the negotiators are still working on the competing interests. Trump knows that it’s better to get Congress to appropriate a significant chunk of his demand rather than having to run the gauntlet through the federal judiciary on an emergency declaration. He might have only two years left, and the sooner he can get any money, the quicker he can produce results.

So, no nuclear move at the SOTU. What can we expect? As Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells CNN, pretty much the same thing we hear at Trump’s rallies and political speeches:

“Unity,” in SOTU terms, means “agreeing with everything I want” — regardless of who’s president and from which party. That will make it exactly like every other SOTU in recent decades. The only one that stands out at all was delivered by George W. Bush a few months after 9/11, when the nation yearned to come together in actual unity and strength. Even that speech devolved into the standard laundry-list litany in its second half, though, and nothing before or since has made an argument for the necessity or purpose of a live SOTU address. At least a rally puts this kind of speech in its proper perspective; the imperial pomp and anti-republican spectacle of a presidential entrance is ghastly, given what inevitably follows.

Next time someone threatens to cancel the SOTU, can we please take him or her up on it?