It’s been said that the things you fear the most will come to pass.
Speaker Pelosi really did not want President Trump to have the House Chamber as a backdrop for a speech to the nation. She used several ploys to postpone or deny him that opportunity. She clearly feared that he would use the occasion to talk over the mainstream media, directly to the American people.
He could use the bully pulpit to explain his agenda and to lampoon theirs (such as it is). This President seems to have a knack for communicating to ordinary people, when he can get past the snarling vitriol dispensed daily by our national media. He would certainly use the speech to refocus the debate on the border wall. She had to know that if he could simply get his countrymen to see through the fog laid down by her friends in the media, her supposed moral arguments against the wall would wither. Her moral arguments for infanticide don’t pass the laugh test either, even with a majority who call themselves pro-choice.
She knew that he would highlight his successes. There are many. His America First agenda is working. The booming economy, which like the preverbal rising tide is lifting all boats. Employment is at record highs for all demographic groups. During the previous administration we were told that manufacturing jobs were going over seas and “they ain’t comin’ back.” But somehow this President’s policies have managed to create over 470,000 manufacturing jobs in just two years. Again, the national media has largely ignored this incredibly good news. Mr. Trump would get a chance to remind his fellow citizens.
His tough talk with allies, adversaries and trading partners is producing real results too. NATO has been put on notice that the free ride on the backs of the American tax payer is over. NAFTA has been renegotiated, bringing more fairness to our farmers, ranchers and small businesses. China’s days of being the bad actor on the world trade front are ending. They and this President know that they need us far more than we need them.
ISIS has been reduced to irrelevance. Iran has been put on notice. The Baltic States have been reassured. The chubby North Korean dictator can prance and play for time, but he now understands the seriousness of this President. Once Mr. Trump locks on to a target, he is like a heat seeking missile. Mr. Kim knows he has few options.
So, it’s easy to understand why the Speaker didn’t want the President to give his State of the Union address. The State of our Union has seldom been stronger. She could only hope that he would overplay his hand and come across as an obnoxious, bragging buffoon.
He did not.
He rose to the occasion.
He lowered the volume. He spoke in soft, measured tones. His critics called it low energy. One former Republican Senator called it one of the worst speeches he had heard. Middle America saw and heard it differently.
He invited his adversaries to work with him and bask in the glow of America’s greatness. Mr. Trump made it clear that socialism has never worked anywhere. It could never work here. He put nationalism into historical perspective and repositioned it as a force for good.
Juxtaposed against the angry democrats who sat on their hands and had trouble celebrating even cancer survivors, Mr. Trump was the President, the adult in the room. They were petulant children.
President Trump accomplished several things the other night. The most important of which, he reframed and redefined the terms of the debate on the issues he cares about. He did so in ways that the American people can understand. The Left does a marvelous job of framing and redefining. From calling it women’s health instead of infanticide to using undocumented instead of illegal, they have mastered the art. Tuesday night it was the President’s chance.
Judging by the reactions from his critics and ordinary Americans, he did a pretty good job. Nancy’s worst fears did indeed come to pass.
Gil Gutknecht served six terms each in the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. He writes about healthcare and political issues of the day.