Some national political commentators are asking: Did Pres. Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union Speech mark a turning point for his presidency?
The speech was, in some ways, more conciliatory that Trump’s usual bombast and confrontational rhetoric. But the shelf life of such speeches is very short, and it’s doubtful any breakthrough will occur in cooperation with Democrats. Especially now that we’re in the 2020 presidential election cycle and Democrats don’t want Trump to have any success.
But the speech made one thing clear: When the real story of Donald Trump is written, at least from a Republican perspective, the headline may be: “Lost Opportunity”. The speech illustrated what could have been.
I thought the speech was very good. Trump outdid himself with lofty rhetoric and touching symbols. He outlined his significant accomplishments (the economy booms!), presented a vision for the future, called for cooperation on issues of common interest, and provided a clear differentiation with the increasingly left-leaning Democrats on abortion, socialism and border security.
It was good mixture of conciliatory gestures while holding Democrats accountable for their far-left fringe inclinations. It also set forth some of the themes of the upcoming presidential election.
If Trump would stick to the issues, vision and demeanor displayed in the speech, he would still be plenty controversial. Democrats and never-Trumpers would still hate him. But he could be a very successful president.
He would need to maintain focus and discipline which, so far, he has been incapable of doing. He would need to avoid inconsequential squabbles, not allow himself to be drawn into petty fights, and end his mercurial behavior, incessant tweeting, and name-calling.
I like most of Trump’s policies. The economy is booming; his tough trade stance seems to be working; China and Russia are much more respectful of America; our allies are spending more on their own defense; and Trump might just reduce the threat of all-out war on the Korean peninsula. I like his boldness on many issues and that he is not a slave to conventional wisdom.
If Trump acts more presidential, like he did in the speech, the Democrats and news media would still trash him at every opportunity, but the American people would see through it. Trump’s approval ratings and chances for re-election would jump significantly.
Some Trump-haters want Idaho’s congressional delegation to oppose him at every opportunity. That would be foolish. Even though they have reservations about Trump, the delegation must work with him to achieve legislative goals and have any chance of fending off leftist policies that are far worse than Trump’s policies. They have to separate Trump’s impulsive character and temperament from his policies – most of which make sense.
Remember this sobering reality: If Trump loses, the Pelosi/Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez leftist complex wins.