State of the Union, 2020 — if you have something to say about it


I amazed myself last night by watching and/or listening to pretty much all of it. Missed the very beginning.

I don’t really have much to say about it overall, except that it was very Trump. No other president in my lifetime, and probably in our history, has engaged in such an extended bout of unabashed braggadocio in public. No one else would, it being so, you know, tacky. But that was to be expected.

Oh, there was one other thing. As I said in a Tweet, we’re used to the dramas of ordinary people being used as props in these speeches, and I think I grew tired of it the first time I saw it. But no one has ever pumped steroids into the device the way Trump did, with all those game show surprises and awarding of valuable prizes.

Anyway, here are my Tweets. I look forward to your observations:

23 thoughts on “State of the Union, 2020 — if you have something to say about it

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Dang! Only that last Tweet showed up.

    Let’s try again:

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, trying again, leaving off that last one in case the code is corrupted…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, well. Not going to work, I guess. Each time I try to embed them, only the last one shows up.

    I guess you’ll have to read them on Twitter, if you’re at all interested. Which is probably what Twitter wants, so they sabotaged the embed code. (Of course, it could be something else.)

    This ticks me off.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    I at least want you to see this one. It was the first…

    1. Scout

      I followed the link and read them on twitter before I got to this part. My favorite one is the poor Nancy one. It made me laugh out loud, and I had to read it to my husband.

      I didn’t have the stomach to watch it….and yet I feel as if I did. No lack of coverage of all the drama.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    I tried Googling to see if there was some new policy at Twitter, but found nothing. Maybe it’s a WordPress issue.

    Dang. This is going to cramp my style. What’s the point in commenting in real time if I can’t also share the Tweets, all together, here?

  6. Harry Harris

    The speech was a campaign speech given in the SOTU venue and spot. It was filled with misleads and half-truths, but I’m used to that. The 15 minutes or so devoted to attacks on Obama’s tenure was unseemly and very Trumpesque. The economy bragging was expected, and though it distorted the reality of what has happened, was effective as a campaign screed. The most well-used portions were the human interest spots emphasizing individual beneficiaries of administration actions. Immigrant felons are definitely the Willie Hortons for the Trump campaign.
    I think Pelosi’s tear-it-up action was counterproductive and a play in the gutter long owned by Trump. She tried to shush a protester after spending most of the speech showing sour disdain on camera. The dislike between the two is becoming stark.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I don’t know what I would do were I forced by obligation to sit there through all that nonsense, with the nation watching me. I’d be trying not to show anything, but I’d probably fail in that effort.

      I might be sitting there thinking about a test I just took to see how well I read faces (it was actually semi-work-related). I’d be trying not to give anyone anything to read…

      1. Harry Harris

        You’re right about the equivalency issue. I wouldn’t however even dip a toe into any gutter Trump has visited. He and his minions thrive on toxicity and rancor.

    2. bud

      Playing in Trumps gutter usually does not end well. Just ask Marco Rubio. Still, the speech was so vile Pelosi’s response was understandable. The breathtaking audacity for Trump to claim he’s protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions from losing health insurance has to rank as the biggest lie in SOTU history. Yet many voters will believe that.

    3. Realist

      I didn’t watch the SOTU address by Trump. Watched more than enough on the news, read commentaries and pundit reactions in the WaPo, NYT, and other sources. After reading and listening to the reactions by both sides, for me I clearly made the right choice to engage in other necessities of life such as trimming my toenails while watching boring reruns on cable.

      Trump did exactly what was expected except he was slightly more restrained than usual and he did do some of the traditional acts when he recognized the last member of the Tuskegee Airmen in the audience. That at the minimum did bring the entire audience to their feet and he received a very well deserved standing ovation.

      Pelosi’s act of tearing the pages spontaneously would have been a genuine reaction if she had not prepared the pages well beforehand by making a small starting tear in the pages and then placing them under the envelope and waiting until the most opportune moment to maximize the highly public gesture. It was a planned theatrical act on her part. This played into the hands of the GOP, Trump and his supporters and if the reaction via calls to NPR are any indication, the general public did not care for her theatrics.

      Therefore the equivalency is reasonable and accurate.

      “There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.” – Henry David Thoreau

  7. Bill

    America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
    America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
    I can’t stand my own mind.
    America when will we end the human war?
    Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
    I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
    I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
    America when will you be angelic?
    When will you take off your clothes?
    When will you look at yourself through the grave?
    When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
    America why are your libraries full of tears?
    America when will you send your eggs to India?
    I’m sick of your insane demands.
    When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
    America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
    Your machinery is too much for me.
    You made me want to be a saint.
    There must be some other way to settle this argument.
    Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
    Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
    I’m trying to come to the point.
    I refuse to give up my obsession.
    America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
    America the plum blossoms are falling.
    I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
    America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
    America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.
    I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
    I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
    When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
    My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
    You should have seen me reading Marx.
    My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
    I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
    I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
    America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
    I’m addressing you.
    Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
    I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
    I read it every week.
    Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
    I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
    It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
    It occurs to me that I am America.
    I am talking to myself again.

    Asia is rising against me.
    I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
    I’d better consider my national resources.
    My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions.
    I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
    I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
    My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

    America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
    I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
    America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
    America free Tom Mooney
    America save the Spanish Loyalists
    America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
    America I am the Scottsboro boys.
    America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
    America you don’t really want to go to war.
    America its them bad Russians.
    Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
    The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
    Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
    That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
    America this is quite serious.
    America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
    America is this correct?
    I’d better get right down to the job.
    It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
    America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

    Berkeley, January 17, 1956

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Are you not going to watch his address to the nation at noon today? I’m shocked.

      Did you see he made a jackass of himself at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning?

      Yes. The PRAYER Breakfast…

      1. Barry

        I did not watch. I heard a bit on the radio. Of course Fox News covers Trump taking a dump in the White House toilet so they covered it (Extensively) – other cable channels didn’t

        I didn’t watch though.

      2. Scout

        What he said about Pelosi and Romney at the prayer breakfast was utterly appalling. Since he clearly has no idea how prayer works, his comments are not really surprising, but still appalling. Yea he completely missed every point possible about the prayer breakfast.

        I thought Nancy’s responses were good though. Here is a link if you’ve not seen ….

        You know, if most people told outright lies while performing one of their core job duties, they’d be fired. But oh well, that ship has sailed.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          In a rational universe, a five-minute clip of his behavior at the Prayer Breakfast would cause every reputed Christian who inexplicably voted for him in 2016 to write him off for good.

          But it doesn’t. Because we don’t live in a rational universe. And it gets less rational every day…

  8. Phillip

    I was driving around midday and NPR had his “victory lunch speech” on…I usually can’t bear to listen to him for more than about 30 seconds but I forced myself to listen for most of it. Wow, he’s truly a psycho. It sounds like he may (in the wake of the quashing of witnesses and the ensuing “acquittal”) actually have come to genuinely believe what he’s hinted at before, that he can literally do anything without being held accountable. He may have half-believed that before, but now he sees that it’s actually true. He has the unquestioning loyalty of a big core base of supporters and complete obedience of his party as no President I’ve seen in my lifetime, at a level I would have thought not possible in our constitutional republic.

    The Iowa mess plays perfectly into his hands, because casting doubt on the reliability or believability of the election process is the natural extension of Trump’s extremely successful efforts to undermine the idea of any objective truth at all. I foresee this happening in many states in November, perhaps some direct election tampering, but more likely calling into question the legitimacy of the results of certain pivotal states should they go against Trump. Then, there’s the Trump base…which he could, if he wanted, rally to nearly any purpose he wished to.

    Who knows what will happen, but I think that no matter how crazy we think the last 4 years have been (from the election of 2016 till now), that will pale in comparison to the “crazy” we have in store between now and, say, January 2021. At the very least, we can console ourselves by saying we have front-row seats to a possibly momentous tectonic-shift in American history.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I was watching it under unusual circumstances. I was over in the green room at WIS with a client who was about to go on the noon show. We knew Trump was going to do this, but the plan was to wait until Trump was done, then do a quick weather update, then tape our segment and run it on the noon show tomorrow.

      Eventually, Dawndy apologetically asked us if we’d like to come back tomorrow and do it live, because Trump. would. not. shut. up…

      So that’s what we’re gonna do. My guys gathered up their swords and left.

      Yes, swords.

      I have interesting clients

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