My take on the State of the Union (“Uniom”) would include concerns that will not be discussed in Trump’s address tonight. It would include my deep chagrin that our oval office is occupied by a man that I always thought of as a con man and a crook (with really poor taste in interior design). Subtlety does not work for DT and neither does elegance. He likes in-your-face, flashy, keep-your-eyes-on-me behavior. He trails chaos.
It is not just our President’s style that I object to; it is the substance of the man, if he can be said to have any. He will tell us tonight about all of the great things he has done, which, for the most part, involve implementations of Republican policies. What he will not talk about is the hoops he has everyone jumping through because he is under investigation for obstruction of justice. He may even be worried that he will be found to have committed criminal acts or treason. While he tells us he did not collude with Russia when they interfered in the 2016 election we cannot escape our feeling that he is innocent on a technicality. He may have made sure that he never directly contacted or met with Russians during his campaign. He may have never even directly ordered his staff or family members on his campaign to meet with Russians for him. But I would guess that he does not have to ask. His people know Trump-coded messaging and they can carry out his bidding without a direct order.
It is unlikely that Trump will talk about how the paranoia that fuels his attacks on the investigative wing of our government will, at the same time, make America less secure. The FBI is not a warm, fuzzy institution. It is not an organization that the American people welcome attracting attention from, unless they are the victim of a crime.
But we accept the FBI as a serious and business-like group of super-detectives and we respect and fear them. Mr. Trump has been exposing the human side of the FBI, the side where they gossip about classified information and possibly let individual politics rule the outcomes of their investigations. He is tarnishing an important body that usually gives aid to Presidents. He fired James Comey and McCabe left without even waiting to qualify for his pension. Trump is good at spreading suspicion, at soiling the reputations of reputable people. What can we conclude except that he must be guilty of some crime he doesn’t want exposed?
The FBI has acted in ways that have hurt its own image also. The two flirters who exchanged emails while working with Mueller to investigate Russian matters added to the mess when their emails became public. Whatever they intended, they gave Trump more fodder for his campaign to tarnish the FBI and cast doubts on that integrity which was always their trademark. He has turned the FBI into a soap opera so that if/when his guilt is exposed he can argue that the methodologies were so flawed that we should disregard anything this body says about him.
The fact that we have a man in our oval office who had his people collude with Russia for him so that he could have deniability will not be discussed in Trump’s State of the Union. The fact that we have a President who we suspect has been friendly with various mafia groups both here and abroad in the pursuit of his smarmy deals is unlikely to be one of the bullet points in tonight’s address.
We will not hear about the constant barrage of revelations that have us smacking our foreheads daily. Forty-five will not regale us with memories of the most transparent lies he has spoken, of his strategy of owning those lies, of repeating them loudly and proudly because once they become part of the public record that record lends them credibility.
Right now we have Devin Nunes, who is supposed to have been removed from the Russia investigation in the House, waving an enticingly secret memo under our noses, implying he has a piece of information that will exonerate the President, indict the Democrats, destroy the FBI, and perhaps even prove that Russia is now our best friend. The Justice Department does not want the memo released but I am guessing if it seems to meet even a tiny portion of the goals Nunes implies that it does we will find it is leaked soon enough. Devin Nunes has become the President’s most passionate and inept defender. I keep thinking we’ve heard the last of him and then there he is again. So far we have learned nothing substantive from Mr. Nunes.
Right now we have the bad taste in or mouths left by the lack of good faith in the bargaining over DACA and CHIP and the government shutdown. That was clearly a setup designed to embarrass the Democrats and confuse Americans about who to blame for the shutdown. It worked because Democratic leaders in Congress came under fire from their own people and lost “face”.
The State of the Union won’t mention that the divisions in America are not being healed but are instead being whipped up into frenzied arguments by Trumpers who refuse to hear any criticism of Mr. Trump. I received an article in my mailbox yesterday that described a hissy fit by one of the co-founders of Home Deport against Democrats because of what Dems see as flaws in the new Republican Tax plan. In fact, the first article I saw said that Democrats would not be allowed to shop at Home Depot (surely a very poor business decision). I heard the rest when I did a fact-check on the story. We understand why Mr. Marcus is happy with the new tax plan, but why does he get so exercised when Democrats disagree with the plan?
We surely will not be regaled with tales of the disarray in Washington, of the State Department veterans being sent to the basement to fulfill FOIA requests, that have never been considered the most important task of a formerly very busy State Department. We won’t expect to hear a cogent explanation of why the State Department is being gutted.
We know there is more, so much more; we are loaded down with daily nonsense. But that nonsense could change our government so much that it will be like that Humpty-Dumpty from our childhood, so broken that we can never put it back together again.
We will hear about how America’s economy is roaring back as a result of Trump’s executive actions overturning regulations on businesses and rules intended to address environmental concerns but we won’t be reminded that government policies always involve conjecture. Governments decide what policies will produce the outcomes they want but there are no guarantees that the future will comply with the predictions. Everyone is guessing about what will bring about the future they wish to see.
Republicans are not even using past practice to help them predict the future. They are still selling “trickle-down economics” which evidence says has never yet produced any appreciable tickle-down. If it did our economy would not have allowed so much wealth to concentrate in the hands of so few. The tax plan Congress just passed sends more money up the chain. Money never comes back down the chain. Why did the Republicans do something that seems so counterproductive? How can an economy come roaring back if you have no consumers except the 1%? Look at the new consumers just beginning to buy in cultures with far larger populations than we have in America. There are few incentives to bring lots of business back to America. Even a 21% corporate tax rate will not counteract a supply chain that moves too far from the marketplace where products actually are bought and sold. None of this will be discussed in tonight’s SOTU address.
I will not be able to listen to the State of the Union address because I might be tempted to throw something at my TV which I cannot really afford to replace at the moment. I will wait and hear the cooler commentary about the speech tomorrow. However, no rosy picture of the current state of America can possible convince me that the policies we are pursuing will benefit the American people, will keep our government intact, or even will coincide with the United States Constitution.