Democrats' behavior at the State of the Union was embarrassing
Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., said that her "first step" would be the "dreamers."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hopped from immigration to opioids, budget funding caps, Trump's self-congratulation and lack of vision. She briefly pivoted to the economy ("he pads the pockets of the top 1 percent") before returning to immigration, then Russia sanctions.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., chipped in mentions of #MeToo, Trump's insults of African nations, African-American unemployment, air safety, schools, broadband, the environment and clean energy.
All important issues. But when the whole thing was over, 40 long minutes later, the only message the Democratic leaders managed to convey was that they really do not like Trump, for any number of reasons. That there were no fewer than five Democratic speeches in response to the State of the Union only compounded the confusion.
The Democrats' need to keep focus is all the more pressing because of the uncritical devotion Republicans have decided to show Trump, applauding the leader Tuesday night like so many mechanical chimpanzees clapping cymbals, and offering over-the-top praise of his absolutely incredible, greatest-in-history speech. More ominous are their increasingly brazen attempts to protect Trump by taking down the Russia probe.
Now there's an attempt by Republicans to declassify a memo they wrote (possibly with White House coordination; the leader of the effort won't say) attacking the integrity of the FBI, refusing to declassify a memo by Democrats that would contradict the GOP claims, and ignoring a plea by the FBI (under a Trump-appointed director) that it has "grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy." Trump says he's "100 percent" behind this defamation of the nation's premier law enforcement agency for political purposes.
With so many checks on Trump's power failing, it's more important than ever for the opposition party to behave like one -- and not a patchwork of disparate grievances.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.
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