It Will Not Matter

The new cycle changes so fast and the President will take himself off message. The speech will be forgotten.

I can write this before the speech is even over. The President has some great lines. “America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?” he asked. “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position,” he proclaimed as he set aside President Obama’s order on Guantanamo Bay’s detention facility closing.

But it does not matter.

He fooled me last year. President Trump addressed the nation and the Congress in a joint address to Congress. Though not a State of the Union address, it had all the trappings including notable, thematic guests. The news media portrayed it positively. Multiple pundits across the political spectrum, myself included, declared the President had finally become Presidential. Only a few days later, CNN itself noted the President had not attacked anyone on Twitter. The President’s speech continued to get positive airplay across the media for several days as Republicans breathed a sigh of relief. He had found his footing, or so they thought.

It was not to be. Less than a week after his speech, President Trump pivoted from Presidential to petulant. He accused President Obama of tapping his phone. The meltdown spiraled out of control from there. By the Sunday after his joint address to Congress, the nation had moved on to the FBI investigation, the partisan back and forth over whether the President’s phones had been tapped, and the Republican attempt to drag Barack Obama into the scandal.

The same thing will happen this time. There will be other news and other tweets. There will be many distractions and the President’s agenda will amount to nothing. To be fair, however, no State of the Union address goes anywhere. It is the one of the most monarchial trappings of the American Presidency — a Queen’s Speech without a crown or Queen. But the Queen’s Speech, written by her government, presents an agenda Parliament will enact. The President’s agenda, presented in his speech, rarely gets enacted.

Importantly, prior President’s agendas may not get enacted as outlined, but progress tends to get made on the administration’s priorities and even in a hyper partisan era, prior administrations have tried to find common ground on popular agenda items. Tonight, President Trump pledged to work across the aisle to find common ground. But by Friday, as insults are hurled and tweets fly, no one will even remember what his agenda is.

The State of the Union speech does not matter and it will not matter. It is a waste of taxpayer and media resources in terms of is preparation, coverage, and delivery. Next year, President Trump should just tweet.

Erick, hate what is evil; cling to that which is good. Last night was good. I've rolled eyes, felt the hair bristle on my back & sighed deeply many times over things that the president has done, said and tweeted. Those things speak for themselves. But last night was good. It was a speech of vision. It was a speech of hope. It was a speech of American contribution, goodness and shared identity. And I think that is all stuff worth celebrating.

Philippians 4 seems to resonate with me here: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

I believe that President Trump's speech last night was something worth 'dwelling on' as a nation. It was a night filled with truth, honor, rightness, etc. Yes, it may well be that things return back to the norm of incivility today, but for now, I'm going to appreciate the speech for what it was, and even if not embodied fully in the administration, I will at least rejoice that the country was exposed to what should be.

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The one drawback to the speech, was how is Trump going to pay for all of this. If more jobs are created, and companies return to the US more revenue may be collected. Only time will tell. Trump backed up his words by connecting people with everything he said. The Democrats are in deeper trouble with each Trump success. More Hispanics and African-Americans are now employed. More people realize that more gun laws will not curb general violence. One size does not fit all when it comes to immigration. His court appointment are more constitutional than activist. He has his ideas, but he wants congress to do their job, and not rule by executive order. Much of problems with immigration and Obamacare was because it was done by EOs.

Well said Erick. It's just a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Interesting you use the tweet claiming Trump was tapped. As we now know, as soon as Trump got a visit from the spy chief, the Trump organization decamped from Trump Tower as they were informed they were under surveillance there!

I agree, Indy. If there were a "thumbs up" button attached to your comment, I could have just done that. But since it isn't, let me add that the appearance and stories of the guests in the gallery was worth the entire hour and 20 minutes.

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Yes, the speech itself will soon be forgotten, but the guests in the gallery will never be so.
--The image of the North Korean amputee triumphantly waving his crutches as we learned his siblings consumed dirt to stay alive, having given him their tiny food ration--who will NOT be remembering THAT weeks from now? Not I.
--The infant baby girl now safely cradled in the loving arms of her adoptive mother, the cop's wife, rescued from the hell of a future with a heroin-addicted birth mom--who will not remember THAT 2 weeks from now? I'll remember it for life.
--Who will forget the young patriotic boy who made sure veterans' graves had flags?
--Or the pathos of the 4 African-American parents of daughters murdered by MS-13?

These are stories MSNBC/CNN/NBC/CBS/ABC viewers would never have heard, much less been able to put a face to, had it not been for last night's SOTU, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

After the meeting you referenced, almost all of President-Elect and, for several weeks after the Inauguration, President Trump's critical meetings were held at his personal [and therefore personally secured] estate at Mar-A-Lago. I think that it was the only place his "wires" weren't tapped. I also think it took his team several weeks to clean up OUR White House after the previous corrupt DoJ, FBI, and NSA had compromised it after the election.

What is the purpose of the State of the Union address? I believe that it 1) allows the President to tout his accomplishments (WHY? not) 2) propose solutions to problems (that's a crap shoot) 3) in eloquent terms speak to America's GREATNESS and EXCEPTIONALISM (nothing wrong with that) 4) offer HOPE for tomorrow (always positive) 5) be Presidential (aren't they all?)

..."He has his ideas, but he wants congress to do their job, and not rule by executive order. Much of problems with immigration and Obamacare was because it was done by EOs."

Actually, Trump has issued far more EOs than his predecessors.

@mlindroos Yes, but how many of those were to roll back Obama's executive orders, many of those illegal? Bush did not leave illegal executive orders for Obama to roll back. Trump had a massive job when he took over just to try and clean up some of the mess that Obama left. A roll back executive order is much different than one that creates a new or different direction for the government. Obama was also a lot busier with executive orders when the GOP controlled Congress, which was not the case during his first year, for which you compare. These are all important factors that make reality different than what they chart is designed to make people think. A comparison would be a chart showing how many patients died while in surgery under different doctors, and the top doctor has 10 times as many deaths as his colleague at the same hospital. One is a specialty neurosurgeon working on extremely high risk, life threatening cases. The other one is a general surgeon that mostly removes gall bladders. Once we fill in the background, the numbers mean something different.

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