20 votes

Did you watch the State of the Union? Or the Democratic Response? What did you think?

First let me say that I long considered myself an independent until I realized I always voted Democrat a number of years ago because I find they best represent my interests, so that's my POV coming into this. I consider myself generally liberal on most issues with a few exceptions (gun rights, against college for all, etc)

Some observations:

  • There was much there to please Republicans regarding the economy, etc
  • There was much there that I'm not sure will play well with Trump's base: economic programs for women in other countries (Ivanka's influence?), criminal justice reform, lots of praise and visuals of black Americans including several guests, seeming to waffle a bit on the "wall" - I think he reduced it to fencing, did I get that right?, he stated several times he was in favor of legal immigration (something his actions have indicated otherwise and his base seems to be against)
  • We're going to make peace with the Taliban - that was a jaw-dropping moment for me and I could tell from the reaction of the Rs in the crowd that it didn't play well with them
  • Democratic women wearing white - smart political move and I didn't catch they did it during his first speech
  • Pelosi was great to watch. Calm as a cucumber. She had several little subversive moments where instead of immediately sitting down after clapping she shuffled some papers or pretended to read something, sending a clear message of what she thought of POTUS' remarks
  • Trump's anti-immigration push still isn't focusing on any facts...sigh.
  • Russia investigation was only mentioned once or twice so he didn't succumb to temptation there
  • I thought this was by far his best and most presidential speech
  • The Rs at work were not impressed so I thought that was interesting

Regarding Stacy Abrams' response:

  • I was totally disappointed
  • She completely lacked energy and I had a hard time following along because of it
  • Kennedy was 100x better in his response (even with the excessive lip balm)
  • I don't have much else to say...it was bland

What did you think?

EDIT: Forgot he announced we're back in a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. And what was up with bringing in all of the Holocaust survivors and WWII vets? Was that a blatant appeal to the oldest members of his base or simply to recall the last "good" war the US fought?

32 comments

  1. [5]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [4]
      JuniperMonkeys Link Parent
      I didn't watch for the same reason. I keep up with the news, but I don't feel any responsibility to look at Trump or hear his rotting brain try to make sentences. If anything important comes out,...

      Admittedly, I just can't bring myself to watch any speeches by Donald Trump. It's just so cringe-worthy to me. It makes me feel so embarrassed to have a reality TV star with no governing experience as our president. It might be different if he could just play along and act the part, but he's so bad at even that.

      I didn't watch for the same reason. I keep up with the news, but I don't feel any responsibility to look at Trump or hear his rotting brain try to make sentences. If anything important comes out, it'll make it to a secondary source. I'm not one of those "#notmypresident" and whatever people that's always at a rolling boil, I just feel like my life is better without the sight or sound of that person.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        My wife said the same thing. I'm too much of a political junky not to follow it. For me it's entertaining even if it's depressing at times.

        I just feel like my life is better without the sight or sound of that person.

        My wife said the same thing. I'm too much of a political junky not to follow it. For me it's entertaining even if it's depressing at times.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          lumbo7332 Link Parent
          Same. Even though I know he's messing the country up, I just can't help but think it's hilarious how much of a dumbass he is.

          Same. Even though I know he's messing the country up, I just can't help but think it's hilarious how much of a dumbass he is.

          1 vote
          1. Pilgrim Link Parent
            Glad I'm not alone in my popcorn eating frenzy!

            Glad I'm not alone in my popcorn eating frenzy!

            1 vote
  2. [4]
    JXM Link
    I think Donald Trump is a horrible president. I'm not looking to start a flame war, just giving context for my comments. I find it extremely hard to follow his speeches. They just go all over the...

    I think Donald Trump is a horrible president. I'm not looking to start a flame war, just giving context for my comments.

    I find it extremely hard to follow his speeches. They just go all over the place. It's like he can't focus on one topic for too long before getting distracted by another thought that's popped into his head.

    Maybe that's the point though? You just jump around and barely make any sense before moving on to the text topic. If you do that enough, you'll cover so much ground that enough people will hear a soundbite that covers their pet topic and be happy. It might not make for a good speech, but when most people are only seeing the clips that get played on the news channels, maybe that works well enough to keep his base satiated?

    14 votes
    1. [3]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      To be fair, I think that describes most of these speeches. I recall Clinton's SOTU being a similar litany of talking points.

      You just jump around and barely make any sense before moving on to the text topic. If you do that enough, you'll cover so much ground that enough people will hear a soundbite that covers their pet topic and be happy.

      To be fair, I think that describes most of these speeches. I recall Clinton's SOTU being a similar litany of talking points.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        TheJorro Link Parent
        I believe they're referring to Trump's speaking style, which is notoriously disjointed, unfocused and incoherent, and not the format of the speech.

        I believe they're referring to Trump's speaking style, which is notoriously disjointed, unfocused and incoherent, and not the format of the speech.

        7 votes
        1. Pilgrim Link Parent
          Ah, thank you! I missed that.

          Ah, thank you! I missed that.

  3. [3]
    alyaza Link
    my entire take is as follows: donald's speech was fine as is true of literally every SOTU, but it is so obviously not his thing and was so obviously ghostwritten and not his own thoughts because...

    my entire take is as follows:

    • donald's speech was fine as is true of literally every SOTU, but it is so obviously not his thing and was so obviously ghostwritten and not his own thoughts because he sounded like shit delivering it
    • abram's speech was fine which is unusual for responses but it's about as good as they ever get and everybody seems to have nice things to say about it
    • the SOTU is a stupid, archaic tradition that could go back to being written and nobody would care at all and nothing would change. it is an entirely superfluous speech that never changes minds and is always a bunch of fluff to whoever bothers to listen to it. virtually all of the "bipartisanship" that was on display last night, as with every SOTU, is kayfabe, and everybody knows it's kayfabe but we insist anyways on acting like it means something. in reality, i'm pretty sure if we abolished the SOTU, nobody would care either except sticklers who think that norms are some sacred thing the government must always adhere to and must always preserve even if they suck and despite the fact that nobody in this administration has shown care for them.
    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      "kayfabe" is a new one to me. Thanks for introducing me to it!

      "kayfabe" is a new one to me. Thanks for introducing me to it!

      2 votes
      1. alyaza (edited ) Link Parent
        it's nifty to use in this case for certain. like, everybody knows that in two weeks we're going to probably end up with donald circumventing congress to try and build a wall and screaming about...

        it's nifty to use in this case for certain. like, everybody knows that in two weeks we're going to probably end up with donald circumventing congress to try and build a wall and screaming about how the democrats are illegal lovers that want to literally end america with democrats responding in kind to that by gumming up the works and suing the shit out of him to stop the process, but people still insist on entertaining the motions of "bipartisanship" at the SOTU, even though there is no reason to think that it's anything besides an act that people put on for the night, then immediately drop.

        3 votes
  4. [4]
    mb3077 (edited ) Link
    I agree with some of the sentiments here that the SOTU is more or less a performance of political posturing for the viewers at home. But I think that it's still worth to give it a listen in order...

    I agree with some of the sentiments here that the SOTU is more or less a performance of political posturing for the viewers at home. But I think that it's still worth to give it a listen in order to refresh your memory in current political topics.
    For anyone interested in watching the full SOTU without all the tedious applause (about 31 minutes were wasted on clapping), I found this channel humorously named "State of the Union - No Clapping!".

    As for Trump's speech, aside from his obnoxious tendencies, I thought that it was well presented.

    Here are some of his talking points that I don't support:
    (I'm going to be paraphrasing here)

    • Hails reduction in taxes and regulations on corporations, and gives it credit to US' economic growth.
    • Hails growth of oil and natural gas industries
    • Warns that the Muller investigations will stop US' economic growth
    • Warns about the "large organized caravans" racing to the southern border, stating "I have ordered another 3,750 troops to the southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught"
    • Pushes for support in building the wall. Note for the OP: Trump didn't reduce it to fencing, he's still adamant about concrete and steel. However what's interesting is that he didn't say that the wall will span the entire southern border, and instead it will be built in areas with high rate of illegal traffic, from what I understood.
    • States that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the US - after the completion of the border fence near it. This is not true
    • Withdraws from the INF treaty, and states: "in case of no new agreement, we will outspend and out innovate everyone by far"
    • Credits the US on the defeat of ISIS
    • Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal

    Here are some of his talking points that I do support:

    • States "Our first priority should be: lower cost of healthcare and prescription drugs"
    • Calls for funding of 500 million dollars for the next 10 years to fight against childhood cancer
    • Support for paid family leave
    • Calls for passing legislation to prohibit late term abortion

    Here are some of his talking points that I don't have an informed opinion on:

    • FIRST STEP Act
    • New trade deal with China
    • USMCA
    • Conducting talks with the Taliban in order to achieve an agreement

    I also recommend watching Bernie Sander's great response

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I'm curious about your thoughts on the late-term abortion. My understanding is that's typically only done out of medical necessity but I realize that there have...

      Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I'm curious about your thoughts on the late-term abortion. My understanding is that's typically only done out of medical necessity but I realize that there have been some pretty awful docs in the past (at least one that I know of).

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        mb3077 Link Parent
        I don't oppose it in extreme cases such as life/health endangerment. As for normal cases, I believe that the parent(s) have enough time to make the decision in the early term of the pregnancy. Of...

        I don't oppose it in extreme cases such as life/health endangerment.
        As for normal cases, I believe that the parent(s) have enough time to make the decision in the early term of the pregnancy.

        Of course it should be noted that abortion services should be made easily available to people seeking it, so there won't be cases where a woman didn't have the option to abort during her early term pregnancy.

        1 vote
        1. Pilgrim Link Parent
          My understanding is that's nearly the only time it occurs and I'm very skeptical of seated Republicans putting forward a bill that allows for that exception. They seem hell bent on "putting women...

          I don't oppose it in extreme cases such as life/health endangerment.

          My understanding is that's nearly the only time it occurs and I'm very skeptical of seated Republicans putting forward a bill that allows for that exception. They seem hell bent on "putting women in their place" so to speak.

          1 vote
  5. [4]
    Kraetos Link
    How come?

    against college for all

    How come?

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Pilgrim (edited ) Link Parent
      Three reasons in broad strokes: I've not yet heard a good plan on how to actually pay for it I do not think that the vast majority of people need a liberal arts education to be successful I do not...

      Three reasons in broad strokes:

      • I've not yet heard a good plan on how to actually pay for it
      • I do not think that the vast majority of people need a liberal arts education to be successful
      • I do not think that people's choice of study will in any way correspond to the actual job market, which is a current issue, and I think that without some skin in the game that's only going to be exasperated

      I mean a big complaint of millennials is that they paid a lot of money for degrees, were told any old degree would do, and have had trouble getting jobs because of an initially weak job market and found that any degree doesn't stack up well against the right degree. College-for-all only attempts to fix that first problem, and it does so by removing the incentives that are in place to choose a relevant major.

      To be clear, the current system sucks, but there has to be a better way.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        pleure Link Parent
        A better way would be to separate the idea of going to college from obtaining a job and split off all that vocational training stuff into its own system. Universities should be about Learning in...

        A better way would be to separate the idea of going to college from obtaining a job and split off all that vocational training stuff into its own system. Universities should be about Learning in the abstract, grand sense of scholarship and discovery while vocational programs should be about learning skills for jobs and careers.

        Both should be free.

        3 votes
  6. [2]
    botanrice Link
    Aside from his comical method of delivering his speeches (he shifts his shoulders and head a lot, I can't help but laugh) and his previous transgressions throughout his time in office, I've heard...

    Aside from his comical method of delivering his speeches (he shifts his shoulders and head a lot, I can't help but laugh) and his previous transgressions throughout his time in office, I've heard a few people say that they thought Trump did a good job at being a 'populist' in this speech. I watched part of it, and I think I would agree for some part of that.
    He did bring up abortion and some other topics that resulted in hearing visible groans from most everyone, but he seems, to me, like he focused mostly on his achievements thus far - or rather, achievements that have happened while he has been in office. But I thought the happy birthday song for the Holocaust survivor, which was sweet don't get me wrong, and the numerous chants of 'USA' felt a little cheesy to me.
    Overall - I'm not a fan of the guy. I thought the speech was okay. The comments he made on things that he plans to continue doing sound like big talk again (end late-term abortion - will that pass? None of the ladies in white stood up, withdrawing from Nuke treaty I think, and being hard on China). But I'm only a casual observer to the whole political thing so I'm interested to hear where people think I have gone wrong in my assessment.

    2 votes
    1. Pilgrim Link Parent
      Oh I forgot that he essentially declared a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.

      Oh I forgot that he essentially declared a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.

      3 votes
  7. [5]
    BuckeyeSundae Link
    I think people always have bad expectations for responses to the State of the Union. First off, you don't have a group of people ready to applause at every minor good thing you say (nor do you...

    I think people always have bad expectations for responses to the State of the Union. First off, you don't have a group of people ready to applause at every minor good thing you say (nor do you have viewer's attention to sustain that sort of pace). That impacts the "energy" of the speech for the view. Then you don't have the same name recognition as, say, The President Of The United States Of America, so part of your speech always has to introduce who you are to the viewer, most of whom won't know who you are.

    If those two issues weren't enough, then you have to assume that the president stayed on script--which is almost never going to be wholly accurate because people say different things in the spur of the moment after a host of minor revisions in last minute prep after advance copies are distributed. So if you're going to respond to what the president says without actually having been in the room, it can't be too specific (because the thing you comment on might not have been said). That's a major problem because the president is going to be laying out specific policy proposals (usually), some which may benefit from a direct, specific critique.

    These are crazy critical problems for a speech that have nothing to do with the speaker.

    With that baseline, I actually thought Abram's speech was fine. She had good, compelling anecdotes to introduce herself. She focused on problems in the Trump administration's handling of the government shutdown. She highlighted problems Democrats have with the tax reform law passed. She hit a compassionate tone with the whole speech that might be misheard as "low energy," but only in the context of a cheering audience giving constant positive feedback. Her energy was perfectly appropriate given the environment of the speech.

    The biggest problem was that the speech had too little to do with what Trump chose to say at the Capitol building, and that's hardly a problem I can blame Abrams too much for (the guy is notorious for "winging it"). You can work past that problem with a clear, headlined structure to your speech though, and Abrams didn't do that.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      For the record, I thought Trump had good energy and there were some surprising movement in the energy in the room from an initial tension to some bipartisan sing-along for the holocaust survivor...

      For the record, I thought Trump had good energy and there were some surprising movement in the energy in the room from an initial tension to some bipartisan sing-along for the holocaust survivor to some jubilation from the congresswomen. It was a WEIRD scene IMO.

      The biggest problem was that the speech had too little to do with what Trump chose to say at the Capitol building, and that's hardly a problem I can blame Abrams too much for (the guy is notorious for "winging it"). You can work past that problem with a clear, headlined structure to your speech though, and Abrams didn't do

      I don't know how far ahead of time that the opposition gets a copy of the planned speech. I'll say that I didn't get the impression that POTUS was winging it, but he's of course known for that. Interesting take on her response. Thanks for sharing it!

      2 votes
      1. BuckeyeSundae Link Parent
        Oh he definitely prepared for this speech more than many other media appearances, and it showed (everything I read suggested he didn't sound incoherent, which is the standard we get to look...

        Oh he definitely prepared for this speech more than many other media appearances, and it showed (everything I read suggested he didn't sound incoherent, which is the standard we get to look forward to with this guy; if Trump sounds coherent, then he sounds "presidential." There are no other requirements before assigning that adjective). His energy was fine, but his speaking pace drove me insane (It. Was. So. Very. Slow. Even. For. A Midwestern. Speaker). My point was more that he's known for speaking extemporaneously, so you have to plan for that tendency even if he doesn't eventually do that (as in this case).

        IIRC, usually advance copies are handed out the day of, middayish (and the coverage didn't seem to suggest anything strange with this administration's handling). They then have the rest of the day to make tweaks and presidents usually practice their speech for at least a week, sometimes longer.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      KapteinB Link Parent
      Why not, though? Isn't there a bunch of party loyalists in the room that can applause on cue?

      First off, you don't have a group of people ready to applause at every minor good thing you say

      Why not, though? Isn't there a bunch of party loyalists in the room that can applause on cue?

      1 vote
      1. BuckeyeSundae Link Parent
        Think of the optics. Coverage would be like “dems create own audience to celebrate themselves.” Not a great look, even now.

        Think of the optics. Coverage would be like “dems create own audience to celebrate themselves.” Not a great look, even now.

        1 vote
  8. edward Link
    Bernie's response was much better than Stacey's. I think that seeing who was clapping and/or standing after Trump said "America will never be a socialist country" and a little earlier where he was...

    Bernie's response was much better than Stacey's.

    I think that seeing who was clapping and/or standing after Trump said "America will never be a socialist country" and a little earlier where he was saying stuff about America being strong shows a clear ideological difference between the Bernie wing of the Democratic party and the establishment neoliberals. A difference I believe can't (and shouldn't) be easily reconciled.

    IMO the fact that Trump even said "America will never be a socialist country" means that they are scared, which is good.

    2 votes
  9. pleure Link
    Every single State of the Union in the modern era is just meaningless spectacle. The president's supporters will laud their speech, the opposition will criticize it, possibly with some...

    Every single State of the Union in the modern era is just meaningless spectacle. The president's supporters will laud their speech, the opposition will criticize it, possibly with some conciliatory calls for "unity" and "bipartisanship", the media will have a few days where they can discuss who did or didn't clap or stand during what part of the speech, and absolutely nothing will come of any of it. It's completely meaningless, except as a reminder that 90% of the public-facing federal government of both parties are feckless snakes who will sooner hoot and cheer "USA" at some ghost-written platitudes to bolster their popularity than actually do anything.

    The whole thing shouldn't have happened and Pelosi should have requested the StoU be delivered in writing, as that's just about all the constitution actually mandates the president do.

    1 vote
  10. [4]
    Damocles Link
    Trump is a complete moron. Being able to read a script does not make him "presidential." He's locked up 5 year old children who are forced to show up to a court and have a judge try to explain to...

    Trump is a complete moron. Being able to read a script does not make him "presidential."

    He's locked up 5 year old children who are forced to show up to a court and have a judge try to explain to them (without any lawyer) what is happening to them.

    He's put in judges that perjure themselves during their hearings, including at least one that - on top of coming across as a villain in an 80s John Hughes film knock-off - has likely actually sexually assaulted at least one woman.

    He ignores science, endangering us with asbestos and coal run-off dumping ban repeals, ignores climate change - even going so far as attempting to hide it by ordering the evidence of it removed from official government websites.

    He makes fun of people constantly in such a way as to make Nelson from the Simpsons look downright Shakespearean - whether it be deceased war hero, women brave enough to come forward to stand up to their abusers, and even people with special needs.

    He can't spell, is ignorant of current events, world history, basic math, and has the attention span of a goldfish.

    No one here - all whom I would hope are at least capable of reading at a high-school level or knows what a "marginal tax rate" is - should waste their time defending or even trying to interpret his actions.

    He's a narcissistic idiot. The best possible thing Trump can do for this country is act as a vaccination - a weakened virus exposing the country's cracks in its "immune system." If Trump's blunder-riddled presidency helps inoculate the US from actual fascism (as in where complete morons aren't in charge) and is followed by an FDR-like president being elected as a reaction, then he will have done exactly one single good act as president.

    Don't waste time trying to find edible crumbs among a pile of dinosaur shit. If you want to talk politics, let's discuss policy, world events, humanitarian crises, and methods and exercises that those among the Tildes community might effectively yield to help bring about meaningful change.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      Pilgrim Link Parent
      Yes, yes, but did you watch the SOTU?

      Yes, yes, but did you watch the SOTU?

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        Damocles Link Parent
        No. I will admit that I never have watched any State of the Union - at least not in full, but I especially would never watch a Trump SOTU. As dated and functionally useless as a traditional SOTU...

        No. I will admit that I never have watched any State of the Union - at least not in full, but I especially would never watch a Trump SOTU. As dated and functionally useless as a traditional SOTU has been, a Trump SOTU is basically a scripted toned-down version of one of his stupid campaign rallies.

        I'd rather not submit myself to such self-flagellation in the same way I wouldn't want to watch an entire speech by one of the Kims, Duterte, Bolsanaro, Mao, Maduro, Stalin, or Hitler.

        IF there was anything of note, I'm sure it will make headlines. Then I can decide for myself if even that is worthy of any merit.

        i.e. - "Trump calls for unity!"

        Me: "No he doesn't. He calls for fealty. Not interested in what farce he has to bloviate upon on the subject of supposed unity he desires."

        ...Conversely...

        "Trump declares Congress invalid during State of the Union. Orders capitol police to immediately arrest and imprison / execute all members of the Democratic party in branches of the Legislative arm of the federal government."

        Me: "JESUS CHRIST! SHIT SHIT SHIT!"
        Begins packing bags and searching for jobs in New Zealand to emigrate and avoid results of a second US Civil War in the age of thermonuclear weapons making the entire Northern hemisphere of the Earth completely uninhabitable.

        1 vote
        1. Pilgrim Link Parent
          All fair points, but the post is really asking for people's take on SOTU so that's why I was pushing a bit.

          All fair points, but the post is really asking for people's take on SOTU so that's why I was pushing a bit.

          8 votes