I've never skipped a State of the Union address, but this year it crossed my mind. Well, just a few seconds of Trump's overly long and mostly boring speech made me glad that I watched it live.
Nancy Pelosi's closed-eyes smirk of condescension, which was preceded by some eloquent eye-rolling, was a memorable moment. It followed Trump's ridiculous claim that the only thing standing between us and prosperity is... investigations into wrongdoing by Trump and his cohorts.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” he said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”
Hmmm. Interesting bit of illogic.
My literary sensibility says that, in the second sentence above, peace and legislation should be contrasted with -- no big surprise -- contrasting words. War does indeed contrast with peace, but how does investigation contrast with legislation?
Only in Trump's enfeebled brain, apparently. It could well be that he wrote this line and liked how both words ended in tion. And maybe he really does believe that if Democrats investigate him, there's no way he would sign any bipartisan legislation.
But the first part of his speech was all about coming together, bridging political divides, patching over differences for the good of the country. All that feel-goodness was erased by his petulant demand that unless investigations stop, legislation is a no-go.
Which made much of the rest of his speech politically irrelevant.
Democrats aren't going to stop investigating all things Trumpian. Neither is Mueller. Nor are other federal investigators in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere.
So if Trump wants an infrastructure bill, lower drug prices, money to end HIV, family leave benefits, and stronger border security, he's going to have to suck it up and accept that investigation isn't an antonym of legislation.
Aside from the Pelosi smirk, here's some other things that I enjoyed in tonight's State of the Union address:
-- Seeing the contrast between dark-suited Republican men, mostly, standing and applauding Trump's applause lines while on the other side of the aisle white-clad Democratic women, mostly, sat in their chairs.
-- Watching Democrats look quizzically at each other when Trump spoke words that sounded sort of like something that deserved standing up and clapping for, but nobody wanted to be the first to do this. At first I thought that Dems would follow Pelosi's lead on the standing up front. However, in line with the progressive "herding cats" dictum, fairly early on the Democratic legislators tended to do their own thing.
-- Observing the women in white, who were honoring women's suffrage/fight for rights, stand and applaud each other raucously when Trump noted that more women were in Congress than ever before. What he failed to say, of course, was that many of those women are newly elected Democrats who surfed to victory on a 2018 Blue Wave of opposition to Trump.
Of course, I also spent quite a bit of time screaming "liar" at the TV. Per usual, Trump said a lot of things that weren't true. The Washington Post fact-checkers did a great job cataloging his falsehoods, along with some occasional truth-telling.
The frequent references to World War II, D-Day, Nazis, and concentration camps seemed off-base to me. Sure, these are important subjects. However, they have little or nothing to do with the current State of the Union. Seemingly the veterans and war heroes were dragged out for applause-line purposes, which struck me as wrong.
As did using the child with brain cancer to buttress Trump's call for $500 million (I think it was) to support medical research in the area of childhood cancer. This from a president who has been horribly anti-science and wants to do away with the Affordable Care Act without proposing any viable health insurance alternative.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Donald Trump.