Wednesday, March 01, 2017

State of the Union

Secure in the knowledge that neither Donald Trump nor anyone in the regime reads this blog, I have a suggestion to make to the President and to all future presidents: deliver not one, but two, State of the Union addresses each year.

Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that the President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

This does not limit the President to one State of the Union message, though the media seems to believe otherwise. It billed the speech as the President's "speech to Congress," apparently unaware that it would be a State of the Union message.

Think back to the last time a president's annual speech was widely panned. Then think back again, again, and again. These addresses are  always lauded.

And why shouldn't they be?   Whether a Republican or a Democrat, the President has his own cheering gallery, analogous to the laugh track on old sitcoms. If hundreds of people are out of their seats cheering, you will be silently cheering at home and the best members of the minority Party can do is to sit quietly. Even that they are unable to do when inspiring Americans are pointed out by the President for acclamation, a practice performed marvelously Tuesday evening by the Screen Actors Guild member currently in the Oval Office.

That was most evident in the President's brilliant exploitation of the grief of Carryn Owens, widow of Navy Special Operator,Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens.   The members of Congress loved it, the media loved it, the public will follow, and little notice will be taken that Mr. Owens was killed in a failed, misguided operation undertaken on behalf of the Saudis, whose nation supplied most of the 9/11/01 hijackers. Applause from the people present was loud and sustained.

Pundits, too, cheer in their own way, with commentary.    The propaganda value can be found not only in a president's use of props, but also in his rhetoric. After beginning his speech by noting Black History Month, President Trump remarked

Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its ugly forms.


In an annotated transcript, NPR's National Desk Correspondent and religion guy Tom Gjelten wrote

According to a report in BuzzFeed,Trump allegedly told state attorneys general Tuesday that "Sometimes it's the reverse to make people- or to make others- look bad." Those reported comments were harshly criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and other civil rights groups, but nothing in Trump's speech echoed those suspicions.

I only wish I had beachfront property in Arizona to sell that guy, but he probably long ago scarfed it up for top dollar.   The President did mention the word "Jewish." However, he went on to recommend "condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms."

No, no, not now. This wasn't hate and evil directed against everyone, most groups, or the community at large. It was directed against Jews. There will be times in the next four years which cry out for condemnation of acts directed against blacks, Muslims, immigrants, and possibly other groups.  In this instance, one group has been targeted, and I'm sure Trump's alternative right groupies are quite pleased he did not specify "anti-Semitism" and made it clear he was against "all of its very ugly forms." Let us not forget that huge numbers of conservatives believe they are victimized, and no doubt were comforted by the President including them, by indirection, as potential victims. 

It was a brilliantly crafted statement, one so brilliant that even Michael Moore, appearing in the midnight hour with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, was sucked in.  He believed Trump's remark represented "powerful words against anti-Semitism."   

Furthermore, the shooting mentioned by Trump occurred not in Kansas City, Missouri but in Olathe, Kansas.  However, Kansas City is an actual city inhabited by blacks as well as whites, so if he can implicitly knock an urban area, all the better for his agenda.

But that's the power of a State of the Union addresses.   People get swept up in the enthusiasm and nary a bad word is uttered. If President Trump is wise, he will deliver more of these messages and as a plus, bill them (as last night) as something other than the "State of the Union."  He would be able to get away with anything, even more cleanly than he usually does.

Next Up: the best thing about the speech

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