First off – a fun little tidbit to break the ice – this morning’s tweet from Sean Spicer:
So…does this mean Ben Carson is President now?
What a bunch of fuckin’ amateurs. And yes, he deleted it right away, and YES, I know everyone makes mistakes, but come on – this kind of thing seems to happen every, single day with these people. Isn’t Spicey the guy that accidentally tweeted out his password a couple times? I won’t even go into DeVos, Conway, “unpresidented”, etc – there’s enough material there for it’s own post. I will say that I spent a lot of years in a competitive industry where small mistakes were potentially very costly. You learn to pay attention to the details or you’re out, and if I gained any insight, it’s that people who consistently screw up the little things almost never get the big things right.
But that’s not why we’re here today. Our subject? The State of the Union address! Sorry. the Joint Address to Congress – I guess Trump wants some time under his belt before the a real SOTU. My honest opinion? It was alright. It wasn’t the Gettysburg Address, but he did alright, stuck to the script, didn’t say anything too insane. Though, the few times Trump did start to drift, you could see Pence and Ryan start shifting in their seats, eyes darting around, getting sweaty. Then Trump would go back to the teleprompter, and their blood pressure would drop back to an only mildly shocking 180/110. But for the most part, whatever, it was a normal speech.
And then Wednesday comes around, and all I see is lavish praise raining down on Trump. He knocked it out of the park! A total victory! He became presidential tonight! Trump has finally started to pivot! Really? That’s how people are looking at this? The press is treating Tuesday night like a major accomplishment because, for a grand total of one hour and fifteen minutes, Trump didn’t:
- Talk about the size of his hands.
- Talk about the size of his electoral college win.
- Make false claims about “millions” of illegal voters.
- Blast the lying corrupt dishonest FAKE NEWS media.
- Call a woman “nasty”, or “Pocahontas”, or “fat disgusting pig”.
- Mock a disabled person.
- Grab anyone by the pussy.
And because of this, people are climbing all over each other to board the Trump Train. For fuck sake, talk about the magic of low expectations. I read a great analogy a while ago about how low Trump has set the bar for himself (I really wish this was mine): Trump is the political equivalent of a cat that’s been trained to pee in the toilet. People say, “It’s amazing! It’s incredible!” And yes, it is amazing – for a cat. Public speaking, addressing the nation – this is part of a president’s job description. The way he behaved Tuesday night? This is how he should have been acting the whole time. Let’s not pretend that Trump is the second coming of the Great Communicator just because he didn’t whip his junk out at the podium.
And let’s also not lose sight of what this administration is doing, either. Words are nice, but actions are what count. So, let’s compare and contrast a few things before we celebrate Donny’s Glorious Pivot to the Center.
– Trump condemned the recent increase in anti-semitic violence while, that same morning, he indicated to a group of law enforcement officials that these same acts were being carried out by his political opponents to make his supporters look bad.
– Trump promised to “promote clean air and clean water” while, that same day, he started the process of dismantling the Clean Water Rule, which protects drinking water on federal lands. Plus, his proposed budget slashes EPA funding by 24% PLUS climate-change-denier Scott Pruitt.
– He honored the death of a fallen Navy SEAL while, again that very same morning on Fox and Friends, Trump blamed his generals for Ryan’s death and took no responsibility as Commander in Chief for green-lighting the Yemen raid. As the old saying goes, the buck stops….over there somewhere.
– Trump promised to “invest in women’s health”, yet banned funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options, which is devastating to women in developing nations. And of course, the GOP is still trying to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the ACA which, among many things, protects equal access for women to health insurance.
– He called education “the civil rights issue of our time”, but appoints Betsy DeVos (who could probably use some education about civil rights herself) as Secretary of Education.
So yeah, I wouldn’t expect any big changes in policy just because of one speech, and don’t expect Trump to suddenly be competent and thoughtful and presidential from here on out. You know what Tuesday night was? It was the abusive stepfather that stayed sober for dinner. And he was funny and kind, and everyone had a great time, and the rest of the family is thinking, “hey, he had a really good day today. Maybe things will be alright again and we won’t have to be scared anymore.” Only, lying beneath the surface of their guarded hope, they know it’s not about that dinner. It’s about dinner the next day and next week and next month; it’s about whether or not he keeps it up. Because when the bar has been set that low, it doesn’t come back up over night.
PS: On a completely separate note – the Jeff Sessions thing? I don’t know if he flat out lied to congress, but he definitely didn’t tell the whole truth. And look, I have no idea if this whole Trump/Russia connection is legitimate. But for a guy that repeatedly says he doesn’t talk to Russia, he has no deals in Russia, he makes no money from Russia, and he doesn’t know anybody in Russia – his people sure seem to have a lot of Russians around. Manafort, Flynn, Sessions, Tillerson – these guys have Russians all over them. There are so many Russians popping up around Trump’s entourage, I bet Sarah Palin can see Trump Tower from her house.
Whatever. Just release the pee pee tape and make my year. Please.
You are spot on! Great article.