For the Record: Only 95 of the 229 Annual Messages/State of the Union Addresses Have Been Delivered In Person.

In case you do not know the full history, some facts, courtesy of your United States House of Representatives:

Origins and Authorization

The formal basis for the State of the Union Address is from the U.S. Constitution:

  • The President “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.” Article II, Section 3, Clause 1.

The constitutionally mandated presidential address has gone through a few name changes:

  • It was formally known as the Annual Message from 1790 to 1946.
  • It began to be informally called the “state of the Union” message/address from 1942 to 1946.
  • Since 1947 it has officially been known as the State of the Union Address.

Earlier Annual Messages of the President included agency budget requests and general reports on the health of the economy. During the 20th century, Congress required more-specialized reports on these two aspects, separate from the Annual Message.

  • Budget Message, required by the National Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (42 Stat. 20) to be delivered to Congress no more than two weeks after Congress convenes in January.
  • Economic Report, required by the Employment Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 23), with a flexible delivery date.

Over time, as the message content changed, the focus of the State of the Union also changed:

  • In the 19th century, the annual message was both a lengthy administrative report on the various departments of the executive branch and a budget and economic message.
  • After 1913, when Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of presenting the message to Congress in person, it became a platform for the President to rally support for his agenda.
  • Technological changes—radio, television, and the Internet—further developed the State of the Union into a forum for the President to speak directly to the American people.

Technological Change

Source: https://history.house.gov/Institution/SOTU/State-of-the-Union/

Also see: Hoyer: ‘The State Of The Union Is Off’ Until Government Reopens – Talking Points Memo

The Freedom Caucus now supports asset forfeiture and presidential emergency declarations. Remember this next time

It’s all fraudulent, the invocations of freedom and limited government and “don’t tread on me” hatred of government. They mean none of it. They never have

Had a Democrat done any of this, they would’ve pretended to object on principle, but that was always a lie. What’s changed is that’s now been made obvious.

And yet,,,here’s one of the leaders of the House Freedom Caucus enthusiastically endorsing the second of emergency powers to seize private property inorder to advance their public policy agenda. By definition, whatever principles he has, they don’t prohibit this.

twitter.com/repmarkmeadows/status/1083733171106209792

Don’t forget this next time. Take none of their “principled” complaints seriously. They mean none of it. None. Of. It.

An Emergency Declaration would be an extraordinarily stupid precedent to set.

politi.co/2FdM1DT

Sure, this solves their short-term problem. Trump makes the declaration, attempts to comandeer the resources, and gets tied up in court while regular appropriations get passed. Ok.

But long term? Y’all aren’t paying attention if you don’t think the new generation of Democrats won’t use the same set of powers in the future for their own ends. It’s inevitable.

There’s a really simple rule to live by: never support the use of a set of powers by your pqrty that you arent willing to later recognize as legitimate when your opponents inevitably use them too.

Don’t built a surveillance state you don’t want your opponents running. Don’t start a war you don’t want your opponents managing. Don’t support the use of emergency powers you don’t want your opponents to use. Not now. Not ever. It will always end up a mistake. Always.

Paul Ryan’s legacy? Among other things, $22 trillion in debt

When they start up the talk of the coming debt calamity a few weeks from now, remember how we got here. Remember the role the leaders of “fiscal conservatism” played in all this.

When Paul Ryan became speaker of the House in 2015, the federal budget deficit was $438 billion. He blamed the “failed policies of President Obama” for budget deficits that had exploded to $1.4 trillion in 2009, the year after the Great Recession, though shortfalls began shrinking in the following years and were continuing to fall as Ryan took the gavel.

Today, with Ryan preparing to retire from Congress, the annual federal budget deficit is again approaching $1 trillion. Over his two decades in Congress, the total national debt increased from less than $6 trillion to nearly $22 trillion. Yet the years of his speakership saw no new foreign conflict or recession that forced the government to live beyond its means. The problem was a Republican-led Congress that pushed a small-government agenda only in part. When President Trump took office, he embraced tax cuts but rejected structural spending overhauls. But even he complained about the spending bill Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought him last year, which met Democrats’ demands for more domestic spending to keep up with the $716 billion Republicans pledged for defense in 2019 without imposing discipline in other areas to compensate.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-12/paul-ryan-s-legacy-of-debt

The Dam is Finally About to Burst

Marcy is going with the “walls collapsing” metaphor. I like the “bursting dam” metaphor myself. But either way, the point is the same. We are rapidly approaching the endgame, and everyone knows it. The people who have leverage over Trump recognize that the expiration date on what they’ve got is fast approaching, and so they’re starting to lean in on Trump and hard. That’s leading Trump to act even more erratically than usual, and more importantly, to cross some very serious red lines for the hawks that make up the backbone of the Republican establishment.

Trump is, on a dime and without warning our closest allies, rolling up the American Empire. And he’s doing it not because he’s a peacenik, but because ruthless, committed authoritarians have convinced him he needs their continued approval more than he needs the approval of even the Republican hawks in the Senate.

Source: The Moving Parts: The Walls Come Down around Trump | emptywheel

Mattis’ resignation today was the first visible crack in the dam. More resignations are undoubtedly going to follow over the next week, and each will mark another very visible sign that the dam is about to break. We have at most six weeks until Mueller delivers his report. I’d be willing to bet the dam holds until then. But after? No way,