I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump

The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Any questions?

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

California judgin’

The judicial confirmation machine looks to be starting back up in the Senate, and it has kicked off with a snubbing of senatorial courtesy, as the president nominated three men to open slots on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals without buy-in from California’s two senators, as is customary. Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris were not amused. 

Booker ’em, Dano

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker made it official Friday, declaring he was running for president and joining an ever-growing field of Democrats who want a shot at the title. For something different, check out this Roll Call column Brandon Wetherbee wrote about Booker’s interaction with wrestler HHH at a 2017 confirmation hearing for HHH’s mother-in-law, Linda McMahon, to be head of the Small Business Administration.


Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy, elected in 2016, is one of Capitol Hill’s most quotable and colorful characters. The Gridiron Club will judge for itself as Kennedy and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar keynote the club’s annual dinner on March 2. As Kennedy might say, it should be funner than a momma wasp landing on a baby crawfish in the middle of Mardi Gras. (Or something along those lines.)

Meet the New Dems

On the policy front, the New Democrat Coalition, the biggest ideological House Democratic caucus, “is ready to help the House majority craft its policy agenda for the 116th Congress, launching eight issue-focused task forces to develop proposals on party priorities such as health care, infrastructure and climate change.”

Talkin’ bout the silent generation

“The ‘silent generation’ is the phrase used to describe the men and women who came to maturity right after World War II and whose early lives were shaped by the Depression. But as the lives of Harris Wofford, Russell Baker and Nathan Glazer illustrated, sometimes the quiet (not silent) voices can leave the most lasting imprint on American democracy,” Walter Shapiro writes in a Roll Call column reflecting on the deaths of three of the silent generation’s most influential men. 

Punxsutawney Don

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