The Dog and Pony Show; Trump’s SOTU

Peter Baker / New York Times  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump was set to deliver what aides called a message of bipartisan unity on Tuesday night in his first address to Congress in the new era of divided government, but any hope of harmony was dispelled long before he left the White House.

The true State of the Union? Parlous.

There IS no middle of the road position in America today

It begins, as our Toddler-In-Chief enters the House chamber.

And he begins with a plea for unity that utterly belies his entire actions in office, and confirms Chuck Schumer’s observation earlier today, attacked on Twitter by Trump.

A man who hates reading, reading and hating it. And, of course, were those words holy water and Trump a vampire, his mouth would be on fire. But that’s all cliché and, thus far, so is the speech.

Er, “state of the union.”

Something about D-Day. One of the most nonsensical transitions in SOTU history. Oh, and he introduces the old D-Day survivors. (This is a foreshadowing of the end, as it turns out. Still, the stolen glory is entirely arrogated and utterly undeserved by the Cadet Bone Spurs Administration, note.)

Straight up jingoism. No crypto-racism … yet.

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo astronaut is now the table centerpiece du jour. (“Sustained applause” notes NPR).

“Back to space on American rockets.”

American century. blah blah blah.

Jingoistic cliché delivered rapidly by a slow speech.  And the poor GOPs look like sad, trained circus monkeys, applauding nonsense and cheap one-liners with all the insincere passion of a strip-club patron complimenting the dreadful dancing of a stacked dancer.

It’s rather embarrassing for me, on their behalf, since the modern GOP seems utterly incapable of shame.

Fake “Death Tax” rhetoric.  Fake accomplishments. Now, Obamacarehate.

More Xs than Ys formulation. Something about something or other.

Returning companies, because of reductions in regulations. Except that it ain’t true.

Trump takes credit for the fracking boom.

“Net exporter of energy.” Oy. Not his fault. Not his credit.

Now he takes credit for the economy he’s destroying. (No mention of the environment and people being sacrificed to the almighty buck.)

USA! USA! Jingo bells. Jingo bells.

“That sounds so good” Trump.

Bragging about jobs numbers.

Thus far, Trump has taken credit for all economic “miracle,”

“Ridiculous partisan investigations” can stop this. Seriously.

“Peace and something-ation cannot come from war and investigation.” Float like a bee, sting like a butterfly.

Senate fails to act on nominees.

Taking more credit for various bills and reforms.

Veterans. (as in “Sucking up to”.)

Takes criminal justice reform bill credit. “Bipartisan” “They said it couldn’t be done.”

ANECDOTE: Alice Johnson. Pardon (commutation of sentence). Etc. Ain’t I great? In gallery. Applause.

Thus far, he has not taken credit for sliced bread.

But it’s early.

Takes MORE criminal justice reform credit.

Matthew Charles is up next. Another sad tale, made better by Trump. All hail the Hirsute Cheeto.

Urgent national crisis.  Border wall.

Same old … stuff.

“Now is the time” “Ruthless coyotes.” “Out of business.”  GOP trained monkeys go wild.


Oy. Bad pulp fiction.

And here is the crypto-racism. Because the “danger” is all about Spanish speaking brown-skinned persons … who form the MINORITY of our illegal immigrants. The old Messicans=Illegals trope is RACIST. It does NOT conform to the facts, and it is casually mentioned all the time without ever acknowledging its terrible stereotyping and the bigoted use to which that stereotyping is put.

[Nature calls.]

OK: Back.

It continues. It wouldn’t stand the scrutiny of a half-way decent high school debate. Specious, anecdotal, pure (nonsense) assertions. Rescued … 300 girls from sex trafficking.  Drugs, evil, restatement of declaration of candidacy.

“Four great words, Made In The U.S.A.” = six words.

More great math.

AIDS. Standard fundraising gala rhetoric.

Cancer kid. First, the shill brings the applause for someone who they DON’T KNOW A DAMNED THING ABOUT (since the story is the reason for introducing it.)

School Vouchers.

Family leave.

There is

Fake abortion babies killed rhetorically. Governor of Virginia will kill babies after birth. (Demagogic hate-mongering.)

Late term abortion. Abortion rhetoric. Red Meat for the evangelicals. Clinic bombings for everyone else.

Rebuilding military (because it was in such disrepair?) Eisenhower’s farewell has rarely been so needed .. or ignored.

Other nations (NATO) their fair share. (Huh? None goes to NATO. This is nonsense.)

We will never apologize.

Russia missile treaty explanation. Is also B.S.

The jingos applaud. Oy.

A set of Kallikak children on the “feeble-minded” side of the family

Just like Putin drew it up on the blackboard.

“Adding China and others.”

“We will outspend and out-innovate others by far.” Another arms race? Seriously?

Peace on Korean peninsula.

“If I had not been elected Pres. in my opinion we would be in a major war [in Korea.]”

“Legitimate government of Venezuela.” Except it’s not. Seriously. We do NOT get to decide who the legitimate government is. The elections may have been terribly tainted (as though we have room to talk!) but they were Venezuelan elections, and the coverage of the crisis has been as “fair and balanced” as US coverage of Israeli/Palestinian questions .. e.g. All Israelis are saints and all Palestinians are devils. Which is, again, NONSENSE.

(There is a better term, but this is a G-rated post).

“Brutality of the Madero regime whose socialist policies …. etc.”


“America will never be a socialist country.”


Middle East. “Principled realism.”  Really? I think it’s just word salad, frankly.

Jerusalem embassy. (Hi Sheldon Adelson!)

19 years in Middle East. 7000 “American heroes” given their lives. 7 trillion dollars fighting.

When you invade the wrong country and kill hundreds of thousands of innocents, how do we justify calling our troops “heroes”? This is an embarrassment to the honor of our nation.

New approach: “great nations do not fight endless wars.”  Nonsense.

Takes credit for ISIS liberation. “Blood thirsty monsters.”

Warm welcome home for our troops. Political settlement in Afghanistan. The hour has come to try for peace.

Cadence: Da da da duh. Da da da dum dum. Pretty consistent. On a one second beat.

Tom Wibberley. Father of sailor lost. USS Cole. (Chiding Clinton/Gore, evidently.)

Applause by the jingos.

Sens. Juke and Kallikak, (R., Paranoia) are most pleased.

Stupid poor people!

Iran nuclear deal withdrawal. Applause by jingos. Death to America and “threatens genocide to the Jewish people.”

“Vile Antisemitism.” Pittsburg.

SWAT officer Timothy Madison. Shot 7 times chasing down killer and was very successful.

Here he is, between surgeries, Officer Timmy.

No rabbi. Just a good old white Police Officer hero. Very Nixon.

Judah Jew from Pittsburgh. AND a Holocaust survivor. [Johnny, tell him what he’s won.]

Happy Birthday to you … dear Judah. (Not kidding!)

Trump remembers when Judah was freed. “It’s the Americans! It’s the Americans!”

Applause. (For us? For humility and patriotism? I don’t think so.)

Great nations do not brag about great injustices they have righted.

Joshua somebody praises how great Americans were to rescue.

Now Herman Zeitchek. American who helped liberate Dachau.


D-Day soldier.

EXTENDED applause.

Some segue to how great America is. Magnificent. Rocky shores of Maine Volcanic peaks of Hawaii, etc.

We have not yet begun to dream, ask not, profound Olympian nonsense sequentially queefed into the atmosphere of the legislative, less prolix than the worst ending to a high school citizenship essay ever plagiarized from Lincoln’s second inaugural.

N o mystic bonds, however. But choose greatness. Kind of the Tony Robbins version of Americanism. You know, motivational bulls**t.

I think he’s winding up.

This has been stultifying.

This has been dreadful.


NPR: “And that’s a wrap.”

This was a poorly written, torpidly delivered, and nonsensical speech. The organization was transparently manipulative and jingoistic, unpersuasive and given to “applause” points that were often embarrassing.

Worse, there was a SHILL in the audience, and several times HE goosed the applause when the body seemed entirely too stultified by the pre-Cambrian arguments and its elephantine delivery by mister Mussolini chin-up-in-the-air.

Traditional body-language reading marks this chin thing as arrogant, and as body-language, it’s no act. it’s authentically whatever awful that one values it as.

Merciful release!


Stacy Abrams

Poor but honest background. Etc. Standard American political boilerplate.

One car. Hitchhike. Rainy night anecdote.

Standard political stump speech CV. Is this a response or a campaign speech?

Shutdown disgrace. Good stuff.

It’s  a nice speech, but it doesn’t have anything to do with SOTU. In debate we would call this a “lack of clash.”

Competent and all, but not much of a valuable response, IMHO.

Dreadful staging

This is dreadfully staged, and, my Hollywood years tell me: this is horribly lighted (Blacks must be lighted with great care) and terribly made-up (ditto). The cliché of having people behind you, staring at your backside to indicate that you speak for the (carefully token-chosen by both parties)  “people” is a trope that has far outlived its time. This is the biggest reason that it’s so gawd-awfully lit: to achieve naturalistic tones on Stacy’s face and skin, the folks in the background would NOT appear naturalistic, either severely over- or under-exposed.

Now our ideals and our principles are also for sale. Cheap!

A little staging tip, but after Saint McRonald Ray-Gun, a necessity of the current age. It can’t be THAT hard to find a competent lighting hominid and a decent makeup person.

This is all boilerplate, more competently read than Trump, perhaps, but boilerplate. I’ve heard this speech a thousand times in a thousand Democratic fundraisers, campaign events, etc.

Ho hum. Fine.

We’re done.

The point is that if you’re going to respond, RESPOND. If you’re auditioning for a national campaign position or something like that, you did a lousy job. I am utterly unimpressed.

In the political equivalent of T-ball, Stacy has struck out. Neither speech will ever feature in any serious discussion of political rhetoric as an art and a craft.

I remain astonished at HOW LITTLE attention both parties seem to pay to rhetoric — especially considering that in politics, RHETORIC is ALL you have. Oy.

Now comes the analytical blather. Ghod help us all.

It’s a rebus.





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