When Democrats acted like spoiled teenagers at the State of the Union address, is how.
The TV camera’s cutaway reaction shots were devastating. Democrats sat on their hands like they were muffin warmers. They helped make Donald Trump (the TelePrompTer is your friend!) the grown-up in the room.
The speech itself was a classic rope-a-dope that pleaded for cooperation and compromise while jabbing the Democrats’ weak points. Not even Reagan, who inaugurated the genre, more skillfully employed guests in the gallery to make his points. (Skillfully arranged around a heretofore MIA First Lady, who reached out to many of those guests with a sympathetic hand.)
Trump’s broad theme was bi-partisanship but punctuated with hot-button issues. Case in point: he calls for cooperation and compromise on immigration reform (which is the only way it can happen) then re-visits his campaign excoriation of criminal aliens. A lusty boo began to mount from the Democratic aisles but were choked off when Trump quickly named two sets of parents grieving the loss of their two 16-year-old daughters, felled (allegedly) by illegal alien gangsters. Bonus: the parents were African-American! Masterful.
After praising a Medal of Honor Marine (Democrats no longer demean the military — most of them, anyway) Trump asks is it too difficult to stand up for America. (Overpaid Super Bowl athletes, he’s calling your number.)
A cop and his wife adopting an addict’s unwanted baby — and holding the baby! Pro-cop and pro-life in one fell swoop.
Want to play diplomatic patsy with Kim Jong-un? Stand up, tortured North Korean, and raise high your crutches. A “Why We Fight” iconic image. Our Ms. Vicki recommends the Call Out to Otto Warmbier’s parents (“their faces broke my heart”). Vicki says the bereaved father with the horn rimmed glasses “also broke my heart with the pain he wore on his face.”
Then there was the victory lap around the tax cut as business after business announces more hirings, higher wages, big bonuses, and more capital investment. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat to applaud and he voted against it!
The most cynical reaction shot of the night though was when Trump proclaimed that unemployment among African-Americans was a record low. Cue camera on the Black Congressional Caucus: stony, intransigent silence. Partisanship trumping (so to speak) results.
Time and again, Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer couldn’t bring themselves to stand for Trump’s calls for bipartisanship. They look petty and small in the face of a President honestly trying to forge a solution to a problem that has festered for years. — So says this former aide to President George W. Bush and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Blaska’s Botton Line: Democrats looked sullen, petty and petulant. The public will see that and contrast with Trump reaching across the aisle (while deftly pushing their hot buttons).
Platinum Bonus Subscriber filip: That movie with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep about the Washington Post, what’s it about? Publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971 so that Americans could have the information to judge for themselves. What vexes the Post-types today? That the Devin Nunes/Fusion GPS memo might be released so that Americans can judge for themselves whether the FBI abused its surveillance powers.
UPDATE: Three in four Americans who tuned in to President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight approved of the speech he gave. Just a quarter disapproved, according to a CBS poll.