House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech-ripping performance at President Donald Trump’s SOTU isn’t fooling disaffected Democrats, who want a leader who actually stands up to the president, rather than #Resistance theatrics.
Pelosi’s if-looks-could-kill glare and paper-tearing finale at the president’s yearly address to Congress on Tuesday may have dominated the discussion on social media through the night, but for every blue-check cheering for “Nancy the Ripper,” there was a jaded progressive wondering what happened to genuine opposition.
Democrats handed Trump a blank check to make war, a massive military budget and a new bad trade deal. Ripping up a speech is not resistance.
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) February 5, 2020
Pelosi, they reminded their cheerleader pals, has categorically refused to oppose the Trump administration on anything substantial – military spending, healthcare, even the self-consciously absurd Space Force – while hundreds of thousands of Americans languish without roofs over their heads. Worse, these decisions are somehow framed not as collaboration, but as victories.
Why does @SpeakerPelosi pretend to hate Trump when she agrees with him on everything? She funds his war budget, funds his baby concentration camps and supports his regime change ops. With “resistance” like that I shudder to think what collaborators would do. https://t.co/tQSpZxAuWp
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) February 5, 2020
I love Nancy Pelosi. How feminist of her to [checks notes] approve Trump’s military budgets, oppose Medicare for All, and cover up Bush’s lies about Iraq. Lean in, ladies! https://t.co/72y7OCuljw
— the wink tank (@piper_winks) February 5, 2020
Others felt the move seemed designed to alienate anyone on the Right who might be tiring of Trump’s drift toward Republican Party orthodoxy. With just that one gesture, liberals and conservatives were off to the races arguing about whether it was disrespectful, noble, necessary… Party leaders on both sides weighed in, and the conversation was firmly derailed from tackling any of the actual issues with Trump’s speech – from his decision to honor thrice-failed Venezuelan coup-master Juan Guaido to his revival of the term ‘Manifest Destiny’, the 19th-century quasi-religious American frontier philosophy used by some to justify laying waste to indigenous communities.
Pelosi wasn’t the only one who used the SOTU as a springboard for their own performative #Resistance. Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley publicly declined to attend so as not to “legitimize” Trump’s “lawless conduct,” while their fellow ‘Squad’ members Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib framed their attendance as its own act of “resistance” – only to walk out in the middle of the speech, drawing as much attention to their camera-ready “act of defiance” as possible. Ironically, Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan accused Trump of pro-wrestling levels of fakery.
I just walked out of the #StateOfTheUnion. I’ve had enough. It’s like watching professional wrestling. It’s all fake.
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) February 5, 2020
Progressive discontent with the social media #Resistance was not limited to the party’s scenery-chewing performance at the SOTU, of course. The theatrics of the impeachment trial have backfired so spectacularly they may have handed Trump a second term – the president was enjoying his highest approval ratings yet in a poll published on Tuesday. Yet the Democratic establishment, rather than recalibrating their strategy to reality, cheers when impeachment standard-bearer Adam Schiff suggests Trump plans to offer Alaska to Russia in exchange for election interference in 2020.
Such an incompetent and weak party, this is the most they can muster, ripping up a speech. They knew they wouldn’t be able to impeach trump, but they ran with it. They messed up Iowa and are determined to stop the 1 guy who can beat him. Consider me unimpressed w/ these theatrics https://t.co/WOyHYp8ygI
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) February 5, 2020
Winning the 2020 election would place Democrats in a difficult situation, forcing them to put their money where their mouth is and unwind the Trump programs they’ve railed so stridently against while quietly allowing them to pass. Given the party’s hostility towards anti-war politicians within its ranks, it’s highly unlikely a Democratic centrist would see a 2020 win as an opportunity to draw back from the brink of war with Iran, or regime change in Venezuela – one Trump initiative that even Pelosi applauded with a standing ovation on Tuesday night.
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