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Posts Tagged ‘state of the union’

State of the Union: pretty darn good

Posted by Richard on February 8, 2019

I’m pretty pleased and impressed by Trump’s State of the Union address. I’m not quite as impressed as Newt Gingrich, who thinks it “changed history.” But he makes some good points, and I agree that watching it is better than just reading the transcript.

There were, of course, things that rubbed this libertarian the wrong way, chief among them being his embrace of “nationwide family leave.” I guess Ivanka finally got to him on that. The last thing this country needs is yet another entitlement, and forcing employers to pay for it instead of taxpayers doesn’t make it any less bad. It will just further reinforce the already far-too-prevalent belief that one person’s (perceived) need constitutes a morally legitimate claim on someone else’s property.

But there were also some truly moving moments (I’m thinking especially of his honoring of Judah Samet, Joshua Kaufman, and Herman Zeitchik). And some parts of the speech made me want to cheer. Here are two:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.  America was founded on liberty and independence –- not government coercion, domination, and control.  We are born free, and we will stay free.  Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years.  In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives.  More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded.  We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach.  Great nations do not fight endless wars.

The polling numbers for the speech looked great for Trump, including the YouGov survey immediately afterward commissioned by CBS News. It showed approval/agreement numbers for Trump’s specific ideas ranging from 71% to 78%.

CNN also had a post-speech poll with similarly positive numbers. But both networks emphasized that the audience for SOTU broadcasts leans heavily to the President’s own party. CNN in particular, as NewsBusters noted (emphasis in original):

So I just want to stress here, for a State of the Union address, the President’s partisans, his supporters tend to turn out to watch the speech. This is true of a president of either party,” he warned viewers after also noting the poll was only of people who actually watched the speech. “So tonight, we saw a heavily Republican skewed audience turn out to watch the President’s speech.”

As this author wondered last year: If you’re polling a skewed pool of respondents, then why take the poll in the first place? It’s because they like to hold up the results when it’s a Democratic president giving the State of the Union address.

Remember when CNN and CBS always discounted the favorable poll results after Obama’s SOTU speeches because viewers were mostly Democrats? And reminded us that the results weren’t representative of the country as a whole, only of those who watched? Me neither.

Both networks made a laughable attempt to find something negative in viewers’ reactions by focusing on their poll’s bipartisanship question. The CNN-commissioned SRSS poll asked, “Do you think President Trump will or will not succeed in increasing cooperation between Democrats and Republicans?” 53% said he will not succeed. The CBS YouGov poll asked, “Did what you heard tonight make you think that Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi will…” 33% thought they’d work together more, 4% thought they’d work together less, and 63% thought it won’t change things much. Both networks made this sound like a failing of Trump’s.

But who do you think this “skewed Republican” audience is more likely to blame for lack of bipartisan cooperation, Trump or Pelosi, Schumer, et al? Well, here’s a clue: YouGov also asked, “Looking ahead, do you think the President’s speech will do more to…?” 56% said unite the country, only 8% said divide the country, and 36% said it won’t change things much. So a lot of viewers think Trump’s speech had a positive effect on the country as a whole, but that it won’t help with Pelosi. Sounds about right to me.

UPDATE: I almost missed this bit of hilarity. NPR is not only partisan, but clumsily and stupidly partisan. And boy, did they get called on it.

Donald Trump Jr. joined the pile-on attacking NPR Wednesday morning over the organization’s “fact check” on President Trump’s State of the Union address that many criticized as partisan and unfair.

“FACT CHECK: President Trump praised the record number of women in Congress, but that’s almost entirely because of Democrats, not Trump’s party,” NPR wrote late Tuesday.

The tweet was referring to a rare moment in bipartisan celebration Tuesday night when Mr. Trump acknowledged the record number of women serving in Congress.

“Exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before,” the president declared.

The Washington Times has several more great responses (including David Harsanyi’s), so go read the whole thing.

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