“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence –- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”
President Donald J. Trump, February 05, 2019
On January 31, 2018, I posted my response to Mr. Trump’s first SOTU speech. That was an extraordinary speech. The 2018 version was more so, and an enormous departure from the “soaring” but meaningless rhetoric of Barack Obama. Among the things I noted was Mr. Trump’s sparing use of “I” or any other element of first person discourse. Readers will recall, I’m sure, that Mr. Obama’s speeches were always all about him. Mr. Trump’s are about America and Americans, and he used those words in this second SOTU speech, some 76 times in a speech lasting about 82 minutes.
Response to the speech has been remarkably positive. A CBS poll of people that watched the speech found 76% approving. A CNN poll found the same number: 59% very positive and 17% positive, though they did their best to downplay the significance of that result. Some 71% agree there is a crisis on our southern border. A transcript and video of the speech is available at Real Clear Politics.
Mrs. Trump entered wearing black. What a graceful and classy woman she is—a beautiful, multi-lingual immigrant/naturalized citizen–and how much the Left hates her for it. Interspersed among the Democrats were many female legislators wearing white, which was billed as something to do with women getting the vote, or solidarity with women, or maybe a celebration of Fantasy Island. One wag suggested they appeared to be wearing straight jackets, and no doubt that was accurate as to their ideology.
Mr. Trump began with a theme he would continue throughout the evening by encouraging the new Congress to work together to “govern not as two parties, but as one nation.” He said he would lay out the agenda not of parties, but of the American people, and so he did. He spoke on four themes: infrastructure, healthcare, immigration and foreign policy, the latter he focused on putting America’s interests first.
Throughout the speech, Democrats continued their anti-Trump tradition established at his first SOTU speech: they sat, grim and scowling, rarely stood to applaud, and hatred and rage rolled off them in waves. Sen. Chuck Schumer was frequently seen with a death’s head, evil grin that would put The Joker to shame. They knew Mr. Trump was rhetorically beating them like a rented mule, and they hated him—and normal Americans—all the more for it.
They also hated his skillful and effective delivery. Gone are Mr. Trump’s early verbal pauses, such as “I can tell you this,” or repetition of points. As one might expect of someone used to accomplishing things rather than talking about accomplishing things, his points were substantive, and there was little or no wasted verbiage. He was also quick on his feet, taking good-natured advantage of unexpected opportunities to gently poke Democrats.
Over and over again, he forced Democrats to choose between standing and applauding core American values or sitting, scowling and angry. Most chose the latter most of the time, though Nancy Pelosi was seen to frequently flash signals, like a catcher in baseball, at her Democrats who usually responded, though half-heartedly. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit notes:
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.
When they did this, he laughed and quipped “You weren’t supposed to do that.” It was a brilliant gibe, absolutely accurate, yet so good-natured, perfectly timed and ironic, they could do nothing to counter it.
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. 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. Genuinely Reaganesque.
*Mr. Trump mentioned two anniversaries: D-Day and the Apollo 11 moon landing. Three WWII vets were present in the gallery—he honored them several times, as was Buzz Aldrin, who was wearing an American flag tie. Aldrin—who was not on the official guest list–saluted Mr. Trump, which doubtless provoked revulsion among the Democrats.
*”Nothing can compete with America.”
*He promised to make our communities safer, families stronger, faith deeper and the middle class more prosperous than ever before. Definitely not Democrat values.
*He rejected “the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution,” challenging the Dems to embrace compromise and the common good.
*”Tonight I ask you to choose greatness.” Many dems refused.
*He reeled off a list of accomplishments, done in only two years, far outstripping any previous president:
An economic boom of 5.3 million jobs; 600,00 new manufacturing jobs, which many claimed was impossible to ever do again; wages rising at the fastest pace in decades; nearly 5 million Americans off food stamps, 304,000 new jobs created in the last month, double the expectation; an economy growing almost twice as fast as when he took office; unemployment at the lowest rate in a half century; Black, Hispanic and Asian unemployment at the lowest levels ever recorded; unemployment for disabled veterans at an all time low, more working—157 million—than ever before; an enormous tax cut with a doubling of the child tax credit; elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate; passage of the right of terminal patients to try untested treatments; cutting more regulations in two years than any administration during their entire tenures; many companies returning to the US; America is now the world’s number one producer of oil and natural gas; for the first time in 65 years, America is a net exporter of energy.
*Mr. Trump observed: “America is winning each and every day,” and announced: “Members of Congress, the state of the union is strong.” Readers will, I’m sure, remember Mr. Obama claiming the GDP would never again rise above 2% because it would take a magic wand to accomplish. Mr. Trump seems to have found that wand. This is truly an extraordinary and impressive list of accomplishments, yet Democrats mostly sat, scowled and stewed in impotent rage. Who would be opposed to any of these accomplishments? Who would wish the opposite? Democrats revealed they would.
*He observed Mexican cities were sending busses full of illegals to the border to get them out of their own towns.
*He explained the positive results of the San Diego and El Paso border walls, saying” “walls work and save lives,” and demonstrated his willingness to make a deal to make America safe. Of that, anyone can be certain.
*He explained, brilliantly, the reasons for our border crisis, saying we have a moral duty to protect the lives and jobs of Americans.
*This was particularly effective: “No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working-class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders, while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.”
*He noted women filled 58% of jobs last year, which caused the straight jacketed horde to rise and cheer. He told them to keep standing because they were really going to like what he next had to say: there are more women in Congress than ever. They went wild congratulating themselves, and even broke into a “USA” chant, one of several during the speech.
*He blamed our past politicians for our terrible trade deals, and made it clear China would no longer get way with their depredations of America. He proclaimed his policy to be America first, saying he’d protect American jobs.
*He called NAFTA a blunder, and said our new agreement would help American workers, and would produce far more “cars stamped ‘made in the USA.’”
*He wiped away a standard Dem talking point by vowing to lower health care costs, including prescription drugs, and to protect those with preexisting conditions.
*He noted under his administration, we have seen the largest decline in prescription drug prices in 46 years.
*He shamed New York for its abortion law, and asked Congress to pass a law prohibiting the kind of late term abortions New York embraced and Virginia nearly did. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.” Dems didn’t like that either, or this:
There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.
Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.
These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.
And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.
To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.
*He spoke of rebuilding our military and getting NATO allies to pay their fair share–$100 billion+. He added: “we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests.” Somewhere, Barack Obama was melting down.
*He explained that we have to withdraw from the IMF treaty as China isn’t a signatory and Russia has consistently cheated. Mr. Trump is clearly the worst Russian colluder ever. He said we’ll try for a better treaty, but if not, we’ll outspend and out-innovate our enemies. It worked during the Cold War.
*He spoke out against the Maduro government, saying we must support the Venezuelan people. Many Dems hated the idea of failing to support a socialist dictator. This is when he affirmed America would never be a socialist country. Bernie Sanders wasn’t happy, and CNN suddenly couldn’t find Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Nancy Pelosi displayed a rictus grin and shook her head.
*Those that have bizarrely branded Mr. Trump anti-Semitic were deftly thwarted when he spoke of recognizing realism in the Middle East, which led him to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move our embassy there. Dems—the real anti-semites—hated that.
* He noted we’ve been fighting for almost 19 years in the Middle East: “great nations do not fight endless wars.”
* Mr. Trump said he would never allow Iran, the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, to get nuclear weapons, which is why he withdrew for the Iran deal. Dems didn’t like that either. He clearly sees a nation that chants “death to America,” and wants to complete the Hitlerian genocide of the Jews, as beyond the pale. Dems didn’t agree. Most sat staring in disgust. Pelosi did not rise or applaud. Democrats were actually upset Mr. Trump was pursuing the interests of America and Israel.
Mr. Trump made a final call for unity and repeated: “I am asking you to choose greatness.” Judging by Democrat responses, that is a forlorn hope, for at least the next two years, and likely, beyond.
Stacey Abrams, the failed candidate for Georgia’s governor, gave the Democrat response. She spoke standing in front of a standard, standing group of worshipful, diverse Democrat people props. The lighting on those people was so odd it has caused many to suggest they weren’t real, but were instead projected on a green screen, which is certainly possible. While Abrams spoke with some skill, her message was the usual socialist talking points from some reality other than our own.
She began talking about her upbringing, a theme to which she would often return, and added, “we do not succeed alone,” which was very much in the vein of Obama’s “you didn’t build that,” lunacy. The point, of course, was big government is indispensable, responsible for anyone’s prosperity.
She made a clumsy attack on President Trump when she claimed to have recently delivered meals to furloughed workers, depicting their supposed plight as the equivalent of depression-era soup kitchens and bread lines. She exclaimed in faux-horror that some people actually live paycheck to paycheck, implying this an unprecedented state of affairs entirely the fault of Donald Trump.
She called for “coming together,” just long enough to slip into blaming Trump for:
*not establishing free college.
*not having gun control.
*crushing middle class families.
*preventing labor unions from protecting middle class families.
*not spending trillions on global warming/climate change.
*tax cuts which are victimizing the middle class (no kidding; she actually said that).
*forcing truck drivers to buy their own rigs (!!!!!?).
*caging children and tearing families apart.
*making Black mothers risk death to give birth (????!!!).
*etc., etc., etc…
We also learned that Democrats stand ready to secure ports and borders, just not with, you know, actual border security. Abrams said we must protect Obamacare, and appoint “fair-minded” judges,” defined in the socialist dictionary as “people who will decide cases on leftist ideology and to hell with the Constitution and the law.”
And did you know voter suppression is real, and a threat to our democracy, and it’s all Trump’s fault? Everything is Trump’s fault.
Did you further know noble emocrats fought Jim Crow with the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Act? This is something of a surprise to historians and other sentient beings as it was exclusively Democrats who unleashed police dogs and fire hoses on Black civil rights protestors, and who viciously defended segregation, opposed the Voting Rights Act, and every bit of Civil Rights legislation. The Ku Klux Klan was also a Democrat institution and favorite pastime. One of its highest ranking racists became the longest serving Democrat in Congress, but other than that, Abrams is entirely accurate, and Donald Trump is Raaaacciiist!
Abrams also told America “racism is wrong.” Wow. Who knew?
She summed up by informing us “Trump must tell the truth,” and we must have “economic and social justice.” In other words the socialism that has made every socialist country such a worker’s paradise.
Abram’s America is a cesspool of poverty, racism, misery, truckers forced to buy their own rigs, people living from paycheck to paycheck, caged children, torn families, crushed middle class families, and other unimaginable horrors brought about by liberty, unprecedented unemployment, tax cuts and prosperity. Now if we can just find out in which alternate dimension Abram’s America exists…?
Unfortunately, Republicans continue, every day, to earn the label: “the Stupid Party.” They seldom miss an opportunity to cower under the towering moral might of Democrats who hate them, call them racists, and think them idiots. Imagine, gentle readers, where we would be today absent Donald Trump? No one is irreplaceable, but some people are in the right place at the right time. We have been given a four- year reprieve, with a possible four-year extension.
In 2020, America is going to face a stark choice. Democrats are continuing to expose their real desires, utter lack of character and malign–even evil–intent. Their America is the social justice/socialist utopia of Stacey Abrams, who is lauded as an “up and coming Democrat star.” Mr. Trump is providing the means—the rule of law, American constitutionalism, national security, prosperity, and liberty—by which Americans can secure the kind of future that doesn’t involve eating zoo animals, family pets, and every rat one can wrench from some other poor wretch.
President Trump, in a rare speech that has the potential to change the path of our nation, explained real American values. Now we see who believes in them, and is willing–apart from Donald Trump–to fight for them.