Last night’s State of the Union was revelatory — not in the substance of the speech, which was powerful, emotional, energetic and hopeful — but in the stoney responses of Democratic leadership seated in the chamber and in the wildly negative, unrealistic media reporting today.
President Trump was at his very best, delivering an optimistic, bold, energetic, accomplished, emotional speech, the “presidential” act so many people have been claiming to want. It is possible we are seeing a guy not only learning how to govern in a deeply corrupt environment, but also perhaps showing a different way forward for America from here that looks more like the later 1980s than the 2000s.
That was some of the best Trump ever…unless you are in the media or a partisan Democrat. Americans agree with that assessment.
A CBS Poll found that the speech was very well received by Americans who watched it, with 75 percent being positive and 25 percent negative. Even 44 percent of self-identified Democrats found it positive. Similarly, a CNN Poll found 48 percent positive to 22 percent negative, the rest being “somewhat positive.” Those polls will likely shift with media “coverage.”
These have always have partisan affairs, with the party out of power not standing or clapping for elements. But last night was something totally different. At least 11 Democrats boycotted it, and one walked out during it. There was virtually no unity, even in the most basic patriotic, flag-waving, mom-and-apple-pie moments.
The speech and Democrats
The high points:
➡ For everyone who wanted Trump to be more presidential, there it was. In fact, that was almost a classic speech, quintessentially conservative, traditionalist and, most importantly, pro-American. Most Americans outside D.C. and the media don’t have a problem with a pro-American policy.
➡ There is nothing Trump, or Republicans, can do at this point to try to unify the most partisan Democrats (which is most of those in Congress.) The media is overboard in its bias, and Americans who watch the speech and then see the “reporting” realize just how little they can trust these media outlets. This is the largest driving cause of the bifurcation in the country — those who watch, trust and believe the media and those who do not.
➡ There were at least three tear-swelling moments. The very real stories of tragedies stemming from terrible policies. There was the story of two black girls brutally murdered in their school by six MS13 gang members who came into the country illegally. (Democrats embarrassingly groaned and the Congressional Black Caucus was stoney-faced.) There was the tragedy of the American student tortured and killed by North Korea and the North Korean defector who was tortured and escaped across China and Asia on crutches to reach freedom. These are brutalities previous presidents could have prevented or limited. If you didn’t feel something when the four parents of the girls’ murdered and the parents of the Ohio student killed by North Korea were trying to hold it together, unsuccessfully, you have no heart. Step far, far away from politics, far away from Trump news, and reassess your life.
➡ I kept wondering how many votes Democrats were losing with each of their sourpuss, angry, muttering, seething faces. How does that win support? And this all happening during a speech touting an awful lot of good stuff going on — and popular decisions taken, according to the CBS Poll. It’s not clear that the Democrats’ slam-dunk to win the House in November is any more assured than their (non) victories in November 2016.
➡ The Congressional Black Caucus stayed angry and hateful when Trump reported the black unemployment rate is the lowest in 45 years and incomes are rising. This was not a good look.
➡ Trump encouraged patriotism, standing for the flag, etc. Democrats sat on their hands. Perhaps the driving hatred of Trump by Democrats and the media is that he is pursuing traditional conservative policies at a rapid rate and seeing success, while wrapping those policy successes around an unusual and sometimes abrasive presidential personality.
➡ Trump proposed $1.6 trillion in infrastructure (which is a totally liberal policy) and amnesty for about four million illegal immigrants (DACA former kids, which is supportable, and chain migration for their families, which is also liberal.) So two liberal policies Democrats love and push for and both go beyond what Obama even tried. And still Democrats sat on their hands and seethed. It doesn’t really look like they want what is best for America — even when they are the very policies they think are best — if it comes from Trump.
The State of the Union media coverage
The high points:
➡ First, if you did not watch the address, do not watch or read any media coverage. It is a partisan divorce from reality. Watch the speech on Youtube, so you aren’t deceived. Even moderate, media-loving Hugh Hewitt has finally seen it, saying this morning “the media has totally thrown in with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. This is very bad for the country.” Yes. First I’ve heard anything like that from him.
➡ ABC’s Martha Raddatz called the speech “gloomy.” (How much do you have to hate Trump to listen to the content of his speech and call it “gloomy?” That’s a rhetorical question.)
➡ A CNN analysis called it “open-handed and clenched fist.” Clenched fist? The analysis went on to spend time on the “corrosive daily toll of the Russia investigation” and then returned to it later “as the Russia scandal races to a crisis point.”
➡ NBC Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd said that : Trump’s speech “set things back,” and “offended a lot of Democrats.”
➡ ABC News’ Chief Political Analyst Matthew Dowd said, “The last time (a super blue blood moon) was visible in the United States was in the 1860s and I think we are as divided now as we were then, back when that rose the last time in the United States.” That was a clumsy reference to a unique astronomical event.
➡ NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel conflated Trump’s comments on illegal immigration with a discussion of all immigration. “It’s the anti-immigrant rhetoric from a nation of immigrants that has many world powers confused,” he commented. Well yes, there is confusion here.
➡ Bloomberg’s headline and lead focused on the “divisive tone.”
➡ Fox News’ Chris Wallace immediately labeled the speech “way too long.”
➡ CNN’s Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza made fun of how Trump read the speech: “Trump reading the teleprompter is an odd thing. He always seems sort of surprised by the next words.”
➡ And amazingly, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett pondered out loud why First Lady Melania Trump went to the capitol separately from the president, implying problems, and then actually tried to suggest Melania wore white to protest her husband’s policies against women because last year female members of Congress wore white to the event.
You get the picture. The media response to the speech was as pre-ordained as the Democrats’ official rebuttal and is totally unrelated in a fair and honest way to the content of the speech.
Last night, the veil was pulled back on Democrats. Today, it is pulled back on the media.
Our country is not in a good place on the unity front. But less and less does it appear to be on Trump and more and more on the wildly inappropriate reactions to Trump by a deeply dishonest, partisan media and almost shockingly hate-filled Democrats.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.
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