As some of you may know, Stacey Abrams, who recently lost her campaign to be Governor of Georgia, will be giving the Democratic Party’s response to President Trump’s State of the Union speech next week. PredictIt is starting to roll-out bets on what she and Trump will say during the Joint Address, and I am absolutely loving this one:
What a no-brainer. This is an easy “NO” buy. The only way that Stacy Abrams would ever mention Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s name in her speech is if Donald Trump showed up to the State of the Union with his head on a pike. Here’s why this is an easy NO:
(1) Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) didn’t mention the Mueller probe in last year’s response.
The closest we’ve ever been to a Mueller mention was when Joe Kennedy tossed-out the half-sentence, “Russia knee-deep in our democracy,” which, given the fact that it was literally a single-sentence fragment in a 12-minute speech, sounded more like a throwaway line to satisfy froth-at-the-mouth Resisters than a legitimate plank of the Democratic Party.
(2) The Democratic Party isn’t a bunch of dummies. They know that Trump wants to paint Big Bad Bob Mueller’s investigation as a partisan hack-job.
I generally believe that one of the biggest priorities of national political parties is to make strategic decisions that will harm their future candidates but benefit people already in power. Ex-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz put on an absolute clinic for how to do this during the 2016 Democratic Primary, when she rigged the whole election for Hillary Clinton and helped the Democratic nom empty the party’s money bags at everyone else’s expense.
However, even for the Democrats, stuffing Stacy Abrams’ mouth with talking points about the Mueller Probe would be beyond Zac Efron stupid. Their masterplan to get rid of Trump hinges on Special Counsel Robert Mueller releasing a damning report that rallies public opinion towards impeachment, resignation, or Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. And with Trump associates like Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone pinched by the feds, it feels like they’re gaining ground.
Knowing all of this, it would take a once-in-a-generation bonehead to run the political football right into Trump’s defense by elevating Mueller’s report to a partisan issue on a nationally-televised speech. Then again, people from the State of Georgia have been doing some very questionable play calling over the past few months. See below:
But I wouldn’t bet on Stacey Abrams blowing her speech the way that Kirby Smart blew this fake punt. She’s not going to fall for the Mueller trap.
(3) Stacey Abrams is the wrong person to talk about the Mueller Probe.
Stacey Abrams is a failed gubernatorial candidate who has never held federal office. I.E., she is completely the wrong person to put on TV to talk about a complex, ongoing, and secretive legal investigation involving a foreign power (Russia).
Yeah, I know she’s a lawyer by training. But Ambassador/Governor/GOP Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman is a keyboardist by training– and you don’t see him touring with Maroon 5. That’s just not what he does anymore.
If Democrats wanted to talk about Bob Mueller, they would have dialed-up a former prosecutor or state attorney general like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), or Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), and not an out-of-work state Congresswoman who has spent most of her career building small businesses and a political following.
(4) Talking about hard policy is against the spirit of this whole event.
If you have been paying attention to the State of the Union responses for the past few years then you are already a step ahead here. That’s because you know that there is 100-percent bipartisan agreement that the real purpose of these things is to use hacky identity politics to claim moral superiority over whatever president is in power.
For example, when everyone on planet earth got a big boner over Barack Obama becoming America’s first black president, the Republicans got extremely creative at finding ways to use their State of the Union response to prove that they were a party that included more than just golfers, Methodists, and old people protecting their money. In 2009, the GOP put Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), the son of Indian immigrants, up against Obama. In 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonell (R-VA) gave an address in front of a black woman and an Asian man whose looks of canned joy reminded me a lot of John McCain’s interview from a Hanoi Hilton prison cell.
And in 2013, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) carried the water for Republicans— and their hopes of winning the Latino vote– all the way up his lips in one of the most awkward moments ever caught on film.
So far, the Democrats have also been crushing the identity politics derby. After spending eight years of the Obama Presidency pissing off all of the white people in America who don’t eat kale or think that gender studies are cool, they’ve spent the last two trying to win them back in their post-State of the Union talks. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (2017) and Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy (2018) went on air after Donald Trump’s first two speeches to say that you can still be a Democrat even if you think that Serena Williams is occasionally out of line when she yells at chair umpires; and that “diversity and inclusion” means that you can still privately resent billionaires who want to program robots to take your job. The visual evidence agrees: these two Democratic Party speeches were whiter than a Dropkick Murphys concert.
Now that Stacy Abrams is giving the party’s response, you can bet that the Democratic message will pivot off of white identity politics and onto some one else’s. Sorry PC cops, but this is politics, and the Democrats just crushed Trump with their unity through diversity message in the midterms, so I fully expect Abrams to stay on message next week.
And that’s it– it’s all the time the Democrats will have. These 12-14 minute snore-fests only really leave time for the speaker to lay out some broad principles, so I am thinking 80-percent odds that Abrams doesn’t have time to talk about “Mueller” or that she just wisely avoids the topic is a good buy. I’d take it all the way up to 85 or 86.
Don’t expect to unload this one early though.