I was impressed by President Trump’s State of the Union address. It was one of his better public speaking performances, and whoever helped him craft the remarks instilled some great message discipline. The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of which I thought could have been left for a different venue in order to tighten up the key points. But those key points shone through, as this analysis by Glenn Reynolds shows:
So one of the interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery. Consider:
Trump’s a Nazi: Praise for Holocaust survivors, and a touching rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (With Trump waving his fingers like a conductor).
Trump hates minorities: Brags about record low black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment — while white-clad Democratic women, overwhelmingly white themselves, sat prune-faced.
Trump’s a Russian tool: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty.
Trump’s a warmonger: Without me, Trump says, we’d be at war on the Korean peninsula. Also, I’m looking at pulling out of Afghanistan.
Trump hates women: Except he got even the prune-faced white-clad Democratic women up dancing (and chanting “USA! USA!”) when he talked about record female employment in and out of Congress.
And his rebuke to socialism was designed to strip the glamour that the media have tried to imbue it with by tying it to the abject misery of Venezuela.
In debate, I think this is called cutting across your opponent’s flow. ((As a former competitive debater, I can confirm that term. – Jemison)) And I think it’s Trump’s opening shot at 2020, as well as an effort to undercut the “Resistance” in and out of Congress. Plus, as Ann Althouse notes, despite the predictions of lefties like Robert Reich (see below) it was all wrapped in optimism and sunny American exceptionalism.
There’s one Reynolds missed. While I’m not in favor of the government providing taxpayer-funded family leave after the birth of a child, I was very glad to see him pivot from the “image of a mother holding her new baby” to the horrors of the recent pro-abortion legislation in New York and Virginia. The contrast was deliberate and well-executed, followed by a call to Congress to outlaw late-term abortion (it’s a start).
Overall I was encouraged by the way in which the speech was an invitation to work together for the good of the country, without retreating from strongly held policy positions. If the goal in politics is to capture the middle ground, I think Trump did a good job of it last night.
Naturally, many in the country today are dismissing everything he had to say. Some, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were dismissing it even before hearing it. No matter how reasonable Trump tries to be, nor how many facts he arms his talking points with, there will continue to be those partisans who refuse to listen. Not only because they are invested in the Democratic party, but because they abhor the vision of America Trump’s election represents — a return to the roots, if you will. The most “Reaganesque” moment of the speech in my opinion was when Trump pledged our nation would never be a socialist country. The fact there were audible boos in the halls of Congress to this rejection of socialism should be a wakeup call to Americans who value their freedom. It is not hyperbole to say there are members of Congress dedicated to subverting everything our Constitution and our history stand for. They will not be swayed by reasonable arguments, demonstrable facts or the evidences of history. They will have to be fought tooth and nail as if the survival of our nation depends on it.
Because it does.