Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Did You Think Of Trump’s State Of The Union Speech?
Don Surber: President Trump changed the presentation of the annual State of the Union by incorporating the stories of amazing people. His speech was an excellent example of see-not-say writing, which is the most persuasive form of the art.
If you want to convince Americans that your tax policies are working, show the company that rebounded — and the welder who got a bonus and whose paycheck is bigger.
If you want to convince Americans that DACA has a down side, show the parents of MS-13 murder victims.
If you want to convince Americans that your Korean policy works, show the man who lost a leg and an arm escaping tyranny.
They were not just guests in the audience called out by Ed Sullivan, something presidents from Kennedy to Obama did.
They were real people who helped sell the policy. He didn’t interrupt his speech to point them out. He pointed them out to tell his speech. In school you had Show-and-Tell not Tell-and-Tell.
Trump specializes in changing the game. He took large donors out of the equation in his presidential nomination. While his 16 rivals spentthe summer of 2015 raising money, he spent the summer holding rallies and hogging the spotlight.
The very next summer, the same thing happened. Hillary holed up in August. Trump continued to rally. She spent twice as much and did worse than any Democrat since Dukakis.
You don’t need me to tell you his speech was a home run. Congress did, when it chanted USA! USA! USA! It sent the detestible Congressman Luis Guitteriez running from the gallery to his safe space: Univision.
Trump had rhetorical flourishes. Sure. “Americans are dreamers too!” was an excellent co-opting of the other guy’s message, reminiscent of Reagan telling the 1988 RNC (which nominated his successor) “We are the change.”
But Trump did Reagan one better.
We are in the midst of the best 8 years of our lives.
Patrick O’Hannigan:I only caught the last 25 or so minutes of the SOTU. I remember thinking that what turned out to be an 80-minute speech was perhaps 30 minutes too long, but that was a reflexive reaction based on youthful training in speech and debate. What I was able to watch was memorably good. I was particularly taken with the way President Trump singled out North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho for praise. I also noticed that while the president’s diction is average at best, his public speaking style sounds more natural and less condescending than his immediate predecessor’s. Trump was making a case — and looking (however ironically) for virtue worth celebrating — in the same situation where Obama always seemed to be lecturing a class or pointing to failure. On top of that, President Trump’s optimism seems contagious. It contrasted well with the pleading tone of the main Democratic response.
Rob Miller : Donald Trump’s first State Of The Union Address was a triumph. Not just because it was a great speech that showcased our president’s achievements, his goals for the future and his willingness to work together for the good of the country…but because the disgraceful disrespect of the Democrats in attendance showed America who really has the good of the country at heart and who is content to swim in the sewer of hyper partisanship, obstruction and yes, sheer hatred.
CBS, of all people published a post speech poll which had 75% of the Americans who watched the speech; heartily approving of it.
The Democrats in attendance were barely civil. When Trump mentioned how happy he was of the lowest black unemployment rate ever recorded, those Democrat members of the Black Congressional Caucus who bothered to attend sat there stone faced.
I particularly chortled over Trump’s DACA ‘plan.’ To most of America, it sounded like a reasonable compromise and the president presented it as such, only to have the Democrats hiss and boo him. What made me laugh out loud is that Donaldus Maximus had already presented this to the Democrats before his SOTU speech and it was soundly rejected by them…and President Trump knew it. By restating it in the speech, he made the Democrats look like the ill behaved, destructive children most of them are, in front of a record 48 million viewers…masterful!
And, in contrast to the egotistical post-America socialist who was his predecessor, President Trump rarely used the word ‘I’ but constantly referred to ‘we.’ Nor did he ever refer to that predecessor, who left us an awful mess to clean up by name.
What our president was tapping was a deep seated quality of the American people, our optimism. Like most socialists, the Dems are selling pessimism and trying to bribe people with class envy, divisive rhetoric and pessimism, with the promise of free goodies at the expense of ‘the enemy’ and ‘resistance’ as their only selling points. I doubt that’s a winner.
Bookworm Room: Would I sound over the top if I said I absolutely adored Trump’s State of the Union Speech? I’ll say it anyway, because it’s the truth.
Trump’s SOTU was optimistic, forward looking, and keyed into classic and core American values. It was about “we, the People,” not “I, the Obama god head.” After eight years of scolding, hectoring, and condescension, it was just lovely to have the people’s representative in chief stand up there and tell us that, as a nation, we’re looking good and that we are one people with common values such as liberty, a work ethic, innovation and, most importantly, Dreams.
Honestly, there is nothing I love more than good verbal judo. Trump has forever after destroyed the Left’s power to celebrate people illegally in America as “Dreamers” — even while they castigate native-born citizens as “Deplorables.” Standing alone, his statement that “Americans are dreamers, too” was worth the price of admission.
The speech was also wonderful because it was not hedged about with politically correct language or caveats or any of the other obfuscation that usually characterizes political speech. The beauty of clear speaking is that, when Democrats refused to applaud, we knew what they hated:
They hated that blacks and other minorities are finally doing well-economically, because that spells the beginning of the end of minority dependence on the Left’s welfare plantation.
They hated that America’s entire economy is surging, because that puts the lie to their claim that the economy was dead anyway, justifying their propping up its corpse with high taxes, redistribution, and social justice regulations.
They hated that Trump spoke of respect for the military and the flag, stripping away the thin veneer of patriotism the Democrats started apply to themselves after the First Gulf War.
They hated that Trump’s invited guests showed that illegal immigrants include among them some of the worst criminals in America and that their prey is often the black Americans who live next to them (unlike well-placed Democrats, both black and white, who live behind nice protective walls in well-policed enclaves).
They hated that, after all their efforts to demonize Trump as the ultimate Hitler, Trump showed them evil’s true face when he introduced Otto Warmbier’s family and Ji-Seong ho. Ji-Seong, especially, highlighted that there’s nothing brave about donning black masks and beating up a few people on campus. True bravery is when someone escapes a totalitarian state with only one arm, one leg, and a cruel pair of crutches.
I knew the speech was a good one when, a short time after it ended, I spoke with a Progressive who characterized it in one word: “Revolting.” That pretty much proves that Trump was on the right track.
Laura Rambeau Lee :If you are a patriotic American President Trump’s State of the Union speech affirmed his love of country and solemn understanding of his position as President and Commander in Chief. He spoke of his respect for our military, our need to secure our borders and protect our citizens, and our adherence to the rule of law. If we were not one hundred percent sold on a Trump presidency when we cast our ballot in November 2016 we can be assured we made the correct decision. Since he took office we are experiencing record economic growth and lower unemployment numbers across all demographics. After his first year in the White House, many of us share a more positive vision for the future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and America’s position on the world stage.
One thing most evident was the abhorrent display by the Democrats of their absolute hatred for President Trump and all he stands for. Several refused to attend and those who did sat scowling and sneering and refused to clap at the positive reports of an improved economy. Their contempt was obvious and I hope did not go unnoticed by those who watched his speech. The Congressional Black Caucus members shrouded themselves in their cloaks of tribalism reminding us of their interminable victimhood. Their dystopian view of America is falling apart. It is hard to understand any American who can continue to support their anti-family, anti-religious, everyone is a victim, anti-American ideology.
Perhaps the best line of the speech was when he stated “Americans are dreamers, too!” President Trump’s SOTU was refreshingly positive and pro-American. His tone was genuine and composed. He restated what most of us grew up believing about America. That no matter where you come from, if you work hard and believe in yourself, “you can dream anything, be anything, and together we can achieve absolutely anything.” We are seeing a restoration of The American Dream. It’s about time.
Dave Schuler :As I wrote in my post on the subject, I thought it was okay as these things go. Prolix. I don’t think the Democrats did themselves any good with their sullen churlishness. When I mentioned that in my post some of my more highly partisan commentators complained that the Republicans had done the same thing at Obama’s SOTU messages. Besides two wrongs not making a right, that view has another problem. The Democrats’ and the Republicans’ positions are not reciprocal and, consequently, the Democrats can’t afford to simply be rejectionist. Getting the base out isn’t sufficient to win the presidency; they need independents, too, and they won’t appeal to them just by being anti- Trump.
Well, there it is!
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