If you are searching for an in depth analysis of Trump’s State of the Union address I refer you to the New York Times and Washington Post. There you will find a thorough outline of the president’s oration. And I strongly suggest you check out the “fact checker” columns before formulating an opinion of the validity and sincerity of Trump’s representations. My brief take-a way is as follows.
Given the low bar that Trump has set for presidential communication; Trump gave (for him) a good speech. He refrained from calling anyone names and he didn’t use expletives to describe anyone’s nation of birth. He kept his misogyny under wraps and I didn’t see him grope or kiss anyone on his way into or out of the chamber. He stuck to the script and kept the train on the tracks.
He was however unable to keep his racism and bigotry at bay. Trump’s tried and true demagoguery of immigration reform raised its ugly head once again. Trump made his case for more border security by citing the murder of two young girls at the hands of illegal immigrant gang members who would have qualified as a dreamers. He and then stooped to even lower Trumpian lows by using the deceased’s sobbing family members as political props. The inference was clear. Immigrants are bringing violence and drugs into our country. Close the border…stop the drugs…stop the violence. A simple minded solution delivered by a simple man. Google the crime rates of immigrants and you will find them to be infitesimal when compared to the crime rates of everyday American citizens. No matter…the lie produced the desired raucous standing ovation from Trump’s water carriers seated on the right side of the aisle.
That said, Trump did offer a four pillar plan for immigration reform that should be a good starting point for compromise.
Setting the immigration racism aside, what this speech was mostly about was Trump doing what he does best; bragging and taking credit for things someone else did.
Trump’s gave himself a big “Atta Boy” for the growing economy, strong job growth and record breaking market surge. Trump is correct…the numbers are very good. However anyone caring to look at the historic facts can see that they are simply a continuation of the growth we experienced under the Obama administration. If you check out the graphs of job growth and market surge it is difficult to tell where the Obama administration ended and Trump world began. In fact job growth and stock market numbers are slightly behind the increases experienced during Obama’s term. Trump’s 2.6% GDP growth is slightly higher than Obama’s 2.4% but far lower than the 4%, 5% and 6% growth that Trump promised on the stump.
To his credit Trump has managed to keep the economy growing. But any inference that this economy is solely the result of his presidency is simply a lie. The truth is…it is far too early to tell precisely what effect Trumpism is having on the economy.
Trump had the good fortune to inherit a stable and growing economy from Obama just as he was fortunate to inherit a growing commercial real estate company from his father. In either case Trump has been loathe to give proper credit for where it is do.
Trump ran his father’s company into near bankruptcy before family loans and sketchy tax write offs bailed him out. How he runs the country is yet to be determined. What is certain is that if the wheels come off Trump will blame it on someone else.
My final word on Trump’s speech is this. Trump said a lot of things he didn’t mean and made a lot of promises he will never keep. The proof is in the actions not the words. The speech itself was little more that great big word salad with a shelf life only as long as it takes Trump to put out his next tweet.