(Rich Galen, Mullings) – At 9:39 (about halfway into the speech) I Tweeted this:
I know it’s part of the deal to find fault with every syllable of this speech, but so far it’s very well written and very well delivered.
My Twitter feed, which is mostly national political reporters, was soggy with the tears of disappointment that President Donald Trump hadn’t put on a clown suit and gone completely off script.
While not officially the Constitutionally mandated “State of the Union” address, it had all the trappings and all of the elements.
Upon being announced into the House Chamber (Joint sessions always occur there because the Senate Chamber just isn’t big enough) the President walked down the famous aisle and shook the offered hands of the Members of the House and Senate in reach.
No Democrat called out, nor reached out to shake the hand of the President. At least none that showed up on the TV feed I was watching.
Speaking of childish behavior, a bunch of Democrat women – including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi – wore white outfits to commemorate, we were told, the women’s suffrage movement.
It wasn’t that. It was to undervalue the moment and undermine the President. If their kids had done something like that for a high school event, they would have been sent back upstairs to change.
The President outlined a long list of policy items he wants to be adopted. Just like a real State of the Union. As is almost always the case the home team – the side of the Chamber that is of the same party as the President – spent the night jumping to their feet and applauding, while the other side of the Chamber – the opposition – spent most of the night fearing a camera would find them yawning.
The President pointed out the widow of Navy Chief Ryan Owens, killed during a raid in Yemen, and thanked her for her husband’s sacrifice. It produced, by far, the longest and loudest applause of the evening. Maybe ever.
She may have been the most moving gallery guest since the tradition was started by Ronald Reagan in 1982 when he introduced a federal employee by the name of Lenny Skutnik. Skutnik dove into the frozen Potomac River to save a passenger from an airliner that had crashed shortly after takeoff.
The speech went just about an hour and ended with a call to action by the President:
“The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.
“From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears; inspired by the future, not bound by the failures of the past; and guided by our vision, not blinded by our doubts.”
This speech will be sliced and diced. Those who are fans will sing the praises of the parts they liked and ignore the parts they didn’t. Those who are opponents will talk about the vital programs he ignored and will growl over the programs he promoted that they don’t like.
Will it make people who – literally – hate Donald Trump decide to cut him a little slack? No.
But that important group of voters who are not full-time Republicans or Democrats may decide to give him a few more months and see what comes of immigration and taxes and jobs and the other program promises.
Post-speech pundits kept comparing this speech to his inaugural address which, as you may remember, I hated. Maybe this is the kind of speech a President delivers after forty days in office, rather than 40 seconds after taking the oath of office.
This is going to sound like a left-handed compliment, but as I AM left-handed I mean it in a positive way: I watched the entire hour-long speech and didn’t cringe once.
I hope to see more of this Donald Trump.
I think the rest of the nation and the rest of the world does, too.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.