Not a surprise that Trump would take a victory lap, but I’m not faulting him for it.  Whether you like him or not, everything he has done so far is what he promised in his Gettysburg speech during the campaign.  If you really were the most hardcore supporter of his when he was running for the office and thought he could do no wrong, I think the only areas where you could possibly be disappointed with his performance now is that he hasn’t deported Rosie O’Donnell or grabbed Mark Cuban by the pussy on television.

What was the purpose of this speech, beyond outlining his Administration’s achievements?  I’d say it was important for him to remind everyone that despite the coverage of protests and incessant negative press coverage, he did run on these agenda items and won.  

Many progressives have not yet come to terms with the fact that they lost, much less why, but I believe the American mainstream recognizes that he’s the president and they want him to move ahead as he’s proposed.  It doesn’t mean they like him or agree with him (and polling says a majority doesn’t), but they are going to give him a try.   If there’s one thing I think Trump was going for, it’s picking up some momentum for the brutal legislative and public opinion battles that are coming up real, real soon.  He’s going to need it because the American people won’t have much patience.

Okay, impressions:

  • I appreciated the condemnation of the Olathe shooting and Jewish cemetery desecrations at the outset of the speech.  He was perfectly clear and did it before the widest possible audience, but I still believe he should have done it days ago.  My guess is that he thought it was better to wait until he could say it directly to the American people, but I disagree.  Bush and Obama, whatever their faults, were good at this and Trump needs to do better.
  • He sounded good and by that I mean he stuck to the speech and delivered it fluently.  I’ve mentioned before that I can’t stand rambling “Campaign Trump” but he was not in the house tonight.  It was delivered just fine.
  • He reinforced the need for increased vetting of refugees and immigrants as a part of his counter-terrorism.  I’m sure the opposition will continue to claim that he’s calling for a “Muslim ban”, but I think that’s a lot of twaddle from from people who can’t be convinced otherwise.  Trump wasn’t speaking to them with this speech anyway.
  • It was not bipartisan.  Democrats didn’t cheer much nor did he give them any reason to.  It’s nice for a president to ask for the other party’s support with soaring words and to invoke the example of presidents from both parties as support for his agenda, but he undermined any potential opportunity by jabbing them with statements he knows they and their base find utterly offensive and disgusting like “radical Islamic terrorism”, “Obamacare is a disaster”, and worst of all, “we are all made by the same God.”
  • I didn’t catch any outright falsehoods this time.  I’m sure the “fact checkers” are on it, but I usually give him a pass if the inaccuracies aren’t so bad that I recognize them without Googling.

According to how I usually score these, I’d say this particular speech met its objective.  It was articulate, reasonably accurate, sufficiently explanatory, and reinforced the same messages he’s been communicating since he was a candidate.

You can read the full speech at this link.

 

34 comments

  1. Meanwhile, the opposition still can’t get its act together, sending this no-name governor to deliver a response from the local diner that looked like a retirement center hangout. Even Rachel Maddow thought her side’s response was lame.

    Trump showed why he won-he does have that ability to connect with the average person in a way that most modern politicians don’t. The speech was aimed at his supporters, but also at the rest of average America. Maybe Nancy Pelosi looked so ill because she realized that her party no longer speaks to those people.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t even bother watching the responses. Any fair-minded observer would have to agree that speech was good and effective at reaching out to the average American, as you say. Trump might even get a nice poll bounce over it.

  3. Here are the lies I caught, in order of how much they piss me off.
    “The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” This is not true and is one of the justifications for the travel ban shit show. We are already doing a ton of vetting since 9/11. Can it be improved? Probably. But the way it was implemented, aside from being illegal, was also the perfect ISIS recruitment video.
    “94 million Americans are out of the labor force” this number includes all students, the disabled and retirees, etc.
    “A five-year ban on lobbying by Executive Branch officials” only true about lobbying their own agency. He actually weakened Obama’s ethics EO.
    The claims about job creation by auto companies and the F-35 fighter were taking credit for decisions made before the election.

  4. Of all of those, the one I should have caught was the F-35 claim. That’s one I could have recognized as untrue without Googling. He’s said that before this speech and it has been debunked prior to this speech.

    I missed it. My bad.

    As for the others, I’m afraid it doesn’t matter. The press can keep correcting the record, but nobody’s listening to them anyway.

  5. well, sure. The F-35 doesn’t matter, either, though.
    That’s how we got to where we are – people believe what they feel over what’s real.
    The unemployment figure is the best example. Of the 95 million, there are 45 retired, 15 students, 15 disabled and 12 stay at home care givers.
    So the real number of people looking for jobs is under 8 million. He is off by 93%. That’s an incredible margin to be off by. But it doesn’t matter, because, even to you it didn’t *sound* wrong. And you seem rational.
    And yet, you guys are surprised that ‘the opposition’ is so incredibly frustrated. We are literally being told that the sky is green, Betsy DeVos is qualified to lead and 7 million people = 94 million people and you are surprised that we seem a wee bit angry?

  6. So the real number of people looking for jobs is under 8 million. He is off by 93%. That’s an incredible margin to be off by. But it doesn’t matter, because, even to you it didn’t *sound* wrong. And you seem rational.

    I’m not going to quibble about the labor force participation rate vs the unemployment rate. There are a large number of people who have long since given up looking for work because they cannot find work. Once they give up, they’re not “unemployed” as far as BLS is concerned. They’re out of the workforce.

    And you can say all day long that unemployment isn’t that bad, but you know what? I KNOW people who want work and can’t find it. They do exist in my world. So when Trump tells me and millions of other Americans like me that he wants to do something for these people, do you think he gets our attention? Yeah, he does.

    You can float statistics all day, but people form perceptions off of their emotions. We all do it. That’s why he lies and that’s why people believe those lies.

    But yes, I understand that you’re angry. Put yourself in my shoes. There I was in mid-2015 and I kept running into evangelical, conservative Boomers telling me me how excited they were for Trump’s candidacy.

    I just laughed. “You know that he’s been a Democrat for his entire life, is a total amoral sleaze, and all that, right? I don’t see how he goes anywhere in the primaries.”

    Fast forward to the primaries and I’m watching YouTube clips and reading Tweets where he keeps saying the most insanely, blatantly untrue things….and goes up in the polls. Again and again and again. And he wins states and more states.

    I was pretty well beside myself in January 2016, wondering if I was the only person alive who gave a shit that Trump was getting away with saying things that were a combination of lies, misrepresentations, and sometimes just imaginary crap.

    However, I started adjusting my perspective just a bit before Cruz dropped out and I started to question why the lies were working.

    It’s a pretty neat trick that he does and you guys still fall for it every time. It works like this:

    1. Trump says something that isn’t true.

    2. Media and the Left rush out to debunk it.

    3. Trump says the untrue thing again.

    4. Media and the Left create a firestorm over it because he’s arguing with them.

    5. Trump defends the statement by claiming that he got it from some study of dubious accuracy.

    6. Media and the Left work hard to debunk Trump’s source.

    7. Trump says it doesn’t matter and the problem is that the Media and the Left are just trying to downplay how badly the issue that he first lied/was wrong about hurts Americans. People don’t mind that he fudged the numbers, because their own preconceived notions tell them that he’s right about the topic even though he’s wrong about the specifics. “Who cares? He’s on the right track!”

    8. Media and the Left spend a week going nuts about the whole issue so that Trump gets everyone talking about what he wants them to talk about from his point of view.

    9. Trump wins.

    Seriously. He could do that exact same thing with anything from your list of falsehoods.

    “Mr Trump, most terrorist-related plots did not originate in the US.”

    (Ignores you while he Tweets the claim again)

    “TRUMP KEEPS SAYING THAT MOST TERRORIST SUSPECTS CONVICTED OF CRIMES ARE FROM OUTSIDE OF THE US! WE CHECKED WITH DOJ AND THEY SAY ‘NUH UH!'”

    “Oh, I got that information from Jeff Sessions, when he was a senator. That’s just the information that was out there”, replies Trump.

    “SESSIONS WAS WRONG! THERE ARE FACTUAL ERRORS IN THERE! IT’S ONLY HALF OF SUSPECTS, NOT MOST!”

    “Look, if you want to say that you’re comfortable with 1/2 of the terrorist threats being from overseas, I disagree with it. I have to protect the American people and making sure that we don’t allow terrorists into our country is smart prevention.”

    “Alright, we’re going to tell everyone on Facebook what a liar you are. That’ll finish you off. Just…one…more….meme…and we can…undo..the….election….”

    Next controversy.

    I’m not kidding. He’s done this to you guys more times than I can count already.

  7. What’s the solution? We don’t call him out on his lies?
    Back to the unemployment. Yes, I know people who are out of a job and looking.But is it 1/3 of able bodied adults in this country? Is that seriously what your gut is telling you? 1/3 of the people you know are unable to find a job?
    As an aside, if that’s true, why does Trump personally keep getting visas to bring in people to work in his hotels, including f’ing Mar-a-Largo? Shouldn’t these 94 million people be lining up to grab those jobs?
    The terrorist thing – lets say it’s 1/2 (it’s not because Sessions’ figure includes anyone accused of a crime, not just convicted) but lets say. Exactly zero people have been killed by immigrant terrorists from the 7 countries on the ban list. Zero. I am not against vetting, or even a ban, as long as it’s rational and doesn’t do more harm than good. But if we are gonna keep dragging 9/11 into this, why is Saudi not on the list?

  8. I’m saying that too many people are out of work. There are reasons for this that aren’t Obama’s fault and beyond Trump’s ability to resolve (automation, anyone?).

    But the goal of this speech wasn’t to teach you anything about statistics or give a history lesson. It was to get people feeling positive about his agenda and portray himself as the leader who “gets it” and is going to work on doing it.

    He can screw up the facts, but as long as he can pull off the “I feel your pain” schtick that Bill Clinton had down pat, it’ll work. And I do think that this speech was a success for what he intended to accomplish with it because I learned last year that absolutely nobody cares about facts when it comes to policy. This could be depressing for me, I guess, but I’m just watching the show at this point and describing it as I see it.

    As for the rest of the falsehoods? Well, see, “he’s an amoral sleaze…”

    You can call him out on his lies all you want. You might even be accurate every time. My only hope is that me telling you how this works my help you get less frustrated over it. Then maybe you can start figuring out how your side can counter it. We Republicans couldn’t during the primaries and I still don’t know how.

    My advice is to start taking all of those things that he has identified as priorities (such as improving the labor force participation rate) and keep track of how he performs. If, in time for the midterms, Democrats can show that he both lied about those topics AND hasn’t delivered, he can be portrayed as out of touch and ineffective and the mantle of “change” can finally be taken from him.

    To do that “wait and see” approach, your side first has to understand that the election is over, he is going to be president for the next four years, and that he is going to get some legislation passed. Right now, the difficulty coming to terms with that is hurting progressives and preventing you from acting on suggestions like mine.

    You’re spinning your wheels. Trust me as one who has opposed Trump and went through this a year ago. Kevin can even verify that I agreed to serve as a state delegate for Cruz so I could hopefully make an impact in the event of a brokered convention. I would have too, if Cruz hadn’t dropped out first.

  9. But if he can lie about the current economic conditions and people believe him, what’s going to change by the midterms?
    He can lie then and claim that he’s created 300 million jobs and people will believe him again, no?
    I think that’s the frustration – it’s not that I haven’t accepted that he is President. It’s that that seems to be the only fact on which people agree. For the rest of it, people believe everything he says.
    And it’s not just the usual things the right lies about, like abortion, reefer madness and scary black people.
    Trump has said and done things which were heretofore unimaginable, like admire a Russian leader, call McCain a coward, refuse to take responsibility for a military death. The same people foaming at the mouth about Benghazi are totally cool with the Yemen raid, sometimes in the same sentence.
    And I don’t just mean the deplorables. I mean, Rand Paul doesn’t think Republicans should oppose Trump or investigate Flynn? Wasn’t he supposed to be the one with the conscience?
    I agree with you that we need to Newt the midterms, and there is actually more organizing going on on that front than for all the marches and strikes. People are learning about gerrymandering, working to make sure lots of new faces running, in GOP districts, etc. You don’t hear about it because ‘townhall on gerrymandering’ does not have the headline impact of ‘rioters burn trashcan.’
    But, all that will do no good if Trump can still waltz in there 2 years down the road and claim that he’s made the country great again, the unemployment rate is 0% and there is no crime.

  10. My point of view is that if Trump is successful, the country is better off and the GOP dominates the government for the next decade or so. I’m cool with that.

    If he fails, he’ll screw up the country. It’ll devastate the GOP but we can at least say that it happened because we let a guy win the primary who wasn’t a conservative (or even a Republican). Further, we will have some tools to prevent THAT from happening again. I say that if he’s going to fail, it’s better for him to fail by 2020 than 2024. The longer he’s there, the worse it will be if he fails.

    I can’t say what I think he’ll do. I’ve been wrong about everything related to Trump so I try to stay out of the prediction game. I’m not the only one, thankfully. Poor Nate Silver…

  11. I think this is the core of our differences – the definition of success for Trump.
    If he is successful in starting a trade war with China, lifting sanctions on Russia, building a $20billion wall, raising tariffs, dismantling the Dept of Education and the EPA, removing access to healthcare, enforcing federal pot laws, I personally would not be cool with it.
    That’s the part that you are missing with all the ‘let him do his thing’ and ‘at least he is doing what he promised’ talk. We didn’t like what he promised. While it’s admirable that he is keeping his promises, that’s cold comfort if one kinda hoped that he wouldn’t.
    Meanwhile, there were areas where I did hope he would succeed. “Draining the swamp” was a big one and that’s not happening. Another was infrastructure. I would love to see a new New Deal. It would solve the labor participation issue and the awful state of our infrastructure. But his actual plan seems to involve giving tax breaks to companies and then letting them charge us tolls. Much like the wall thing, this would hit consumers twice.
    So, from this side, it looks like he is only keeping the promises we disagree with. It’s hard to just sit back and let him do his thing.

  12. Yeah, his “successes” have to be for the general good and in the interests of the American people rather than just the GOP, his business interests, Putin, or the like.

    I’d look at successes like these as useful ones:

    1. GDP growth over 3% for any two quarters in a row. That’s a tall, tall order but he’d be unbeatable in 2020 if that level of growth occurred between Q1 and Q3 in that year.

    2. The aforementioned improvement in the Labor Participation rate (official unemployment is already low enough and has nowhere to go, though he’d still take credit for it)

    3. The final defeat of ISIS. Honestly, I think this is inevitable in the next four years, but he’d still be able to take credit.

    And no, I don’t want you to sit back and let him do what he wants, silently. That’s un-American. We hated Obama and set out to change things. It worked out for us, more or less.

    The only thing I hate to see is my progressive friends feeling worse about life itself since the election and letting the anger over politics screw up their lives. Nobody needs that stress. Stay engaged, be hopeful, and do useful things where you can

  13. The reason I feel worse about life itself has more to do with the deplorables than with Trump himself.
    I will personally be affected if his trade wars screw up the company I work for and I lose my job. But that’s a hypothetical. It’s also harder for me to travel now because DHS agents have gone from generally unpleasant to incredible asshole the minute he got elected. I have no intention of turning over my phone or my social media passwords, and I do travel, so this quickly goes from a hypothetical to a real pia. But that’s the extent of the affect his policies have on me.
    However, his rhetoric is a different matter.
    I’ve lost friends and have personally been told to get out of the county if I don’t like it here. By an in-law. Not in jest.
    But the worst for me has been having to explain the swastika graffiti and the school bomb threats to my my child. These things are not abstract, they are happening here, in real life.
    The feeling I am living with is not anger over politics. It’s literal dread that someone will draw a swastika on my door, or that my kid’s school will be threatened (we live in Dearborn, which is known for being predominantly Muslim. There are a ton of people angered by the fact that the schools close on Ramadan, for example.) My greatest fear if that I will soon have to explain to my kids why someone said we’d make pretty lampshades or why people make jokes about ashes and ovens. I knew I would have to explain the reference eventually, but I always imagined it would be a historical conversation, not a current events commentary.

  14. i give him a B- , his authoritarianism and trade war mentality blows a lot for me, but hell, watching the left go all Tasmanian devil, is worth it.

  15. But the worst for me has been having to explain the swastika graffiti and the school bomb threats to my my child. These things are not abstract, they are happening here, in real life.

    And yet a good chunk of those incidents were completely fake and perpetrated by people who hate Trump. So if that actually is “the worst for” you, perhaps it’s time to reassess what’s actually happened.

  16. When your kid finds a swastika or is evacuated from school, it really doesn’t matter if the person responsible if a left winger or or a right winger. The fear is the same.
    So, yeah, that’s still the worst for me. And I still blame this healthy new political climate where people try to out-asshole each other on your fearless leader.

  17. So much I wish I could say to this. Few things cause me greater consternation than knowing that our poor children are watching the grown-ups floundering around in division and chaos. I know they know something is wrong with the world, but they’re not sure what, and it’s impossible to keep them in a bubble to just be carefree and happy.

    If we don’t get our collective shit together…Ah, I just don’t have the words.

  18. So just for the record, “the worst of it” for you is something that apparently by and large isn’t being done by Trump supporters, and are things Trump isn’t condoning or calling for people to do. So how do we fix “the worst of it” then?

    Then there’s the rest of your diatribe that Trump is so terrible because he’s a bloviating windbag who uses false statistics and half-truths…just like almost every other Politician since Rome. I’m sure you were just as upset over Obama’s absolute BS numbers that he touted often.

  19. Mashav’s comment does speak to the political climate that both sides are engaging in. I just want to emphasize that before you guys get too deep.

    I respect your concerns about violence from Trump supporters, mashav, but I also want to say that I think it’s troubling for you to dehumanize us by referring to us with terms like “Deplorables”. Yes,I know some of the Deplorables call themselves Deplorables, but wouldn’t you agree that this sort of thing is part of the problem?

  20. I obviously didn’t mean all Trump voters, since I draw the distinction between “them” and people like Rand Paul.
    But I apologize if that wasn’t clear enough and I will not use the term again. Unless one of you calls me a libtard or something, then it’s on.

  21. Not ‘The bomb hoaxer,’ btw. This guy accounts for 8 out of over 100 threats. It’s still an evil thing to do, and he is (and was prior to this) a horrible person, but lets not assume all the threats are coming from the left.

  22. Aww, come on! I can’t use libtard? Can I use snowflake? I’ll let you use KKKonservative for me? 😉

    I didn’t mean to imply you meant all Trump voters, if I did, I apologize.

  23. By the way, I gave Trump an A- for the speech. It was certainly the most presidential we’ve seen from him. Probably half of the grade is just because he didn’t say “Yuuuge!”

  24. I was responding to Thrill’s point that my calling you guys the d word was dehumanizing.
    You can use libtard, but then I’ll double down with cuckservative and Thrill will be mad at us both. So we better play nice. It’s his sandbox, after all.

  25. Oh, man, that’s such a good set up for me to say ‘…like all Trump voters’ But that would be wrong

  26. I mean as in that the bomb threats were hoaxes, in that he didn’t really place any bombs, not that they weren’t threats that were and should have been taken seriously, yes. Minor semantics,but I do want to be clear I’m not downplaying it.

  27. No, I don’t care what you call each other. I don’t jump in with my superpowers unless someone is threatening somebody else or something.

    My only point was that if you complain about the hideous political atmosphere, you should be mindful of things you might do that could be seen to feed it.

    But no, I won’t stop you guys from name-calling. I even called you a “fucker” the other day as I recall.

  28. I think the response was a ‘do no harm’ thing. You can’t put an up and comer in that position (even if you actually had one) because they’d be forever remembered as the one that followed Trumps first Joint Session Speech. Basically they took a knee.

  29. Nah, it’s too hard to be a fascist. Juggling your schedule with all those rallies, remembering where you left your armband, convincing Democrats to commit vandalism so it looks like you did it is a hassle and takes time away from my busy fitness routine.

    I’m pretty much a nihilist as far as politics goes, or more accurately, an absurdist. The 2012 election is sort of where I “broke”.

  30. I assume that all the threats are hoaxes (for my own sanity.) My point was that he is ‘a hoaxer’ not ‘the hoaxer’ since he only placed a small fraction of the calls.
    I am just trying to avoid the narrative that all the bomb threats were made by democrats. At least until that’s proven to be true…

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