February 6, 2019

Wondering on Wednesday (v163)

Taking a look at the president's State of the Union - let the wondering begin.

Here's what he said, according to the written transcript, to open his speech (there were some ad libs throughout the night):
As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as TWO PARTIES but as ONE NATION.  The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican Agenda or a Democrat Agenda. It is the Agenda of the American People.
He also noted
There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our COUNTRY.
And, there was this
But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution - and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good. Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future.
The decision is ours to make. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress of pointless destruction...
Members of Congress: the State of our Union is Strong.
Let's look at what he put on the table to entice people to join him.

 These are the items in Trump's agenda:
  • A '"commonsense" proposal to end the crisis at the border; it includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection, stopping child smuggling and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall between points of entry;
  • a government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries, an Ivanka Agenda item;
  • a new trade deal with China, to include "real, structural change" to end unfair practices, reduce the trade deficit and protect jobs; passage of the USMCA, and passage of the US Reciprocal Trade Act;
  • a "great rebuilding" of our crumbling infrastructure, without any details other than "investment in the cutting edge industries of the future;"
  • lowering the cost of healthcare and prescriptions, as well as protections for those with pre-existing conditions; pricing disclosures for hospitals, insurance companies and drugs; funding to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS within 10 years; and battling against childhood cancer.
  • school choice;
  • nationwide paid family leave, another Ivanka Agenda item;
  • prohibition of late-term abortions when a fetus can feel pain, and an affirmation that "all children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God;"
  • a missile defense system, bringing home soldiers from Syria, negotiating with the Taliban and others, and fighting anti-Semitism "anywhere and everywhere it appears."
If you look at what he said he wants - collaboration, greatness, a truly strong union - and his agenda, one of the biggest things to wonder about is why he goes about things the way he does.

He is the king of revenge politics and retribution politics, and the Republicans go along with him, regularly talking out loud about how if xyz happens, it will be the end of the party, or they will lose their majority, or they will lose their base, and their seat. How is any of that putting country before party, or country before self, for that matter, I wonder?

And don't think for a minute that I'm naive enough to believe that the Democrats are really any better in that regard - I'm not, and they're not, respectively.

Dems repeatedly failed to stand and applaud things they support, including healthcare initiatives, family leave, bringing the military home, and infrastructure among them.  I know they're not supposed to support anything the other guy says, but can't they show support for things they support?

The USA, USA chants, kicked off, I'm sure, by Freedom Caucus members, and echoed by the Dems in White in reference to the number of women in Congress, was out of place and fake - these are legislators who have a specific role and it's not to rubber stamp what the president wants, nor is it to stonewall what the other party wants - remember, country over party? I wonder if I'm the only one who thought that was both heavily partisan, and equally ridiculous?

And yes, let's wonder about the Dems in White. Sure, it looked like a show of solidarity on TV, but it seemed very House-specific, not a broad-based movement; several women senators did not participate, which didn't seem to need a lot of wondering.  Again, had they been quick to support key initiatives that Dems also want, there would have been more attention paid to that than to the Internet memes showing AOC (and others) in straitjackets.

Finally, let's wonder about the media and how they managed to find Bernie Sanders when Trump slammed socialism (but did not mention Democratic Socialism) and how, when he slammed New York's updated abortion legislation, they managed to find Chuck Schumer (who had nothing to do with the legislation that was passed).

And maybe more importantly, let's wonder why Bernie and Chuck didn't sit up straight, but instead both of them seemed to sink down in their seats, wilting under the glare of the spotlight? Why not stand in the box and take the pitch?

In closing, the president offered, in part:
This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. 
And, in closing, I offer this: Is there anyone wondering why I sigh at my party, as much as I sigh at the president and the Republicans? 


  1. Thanks -- what's your take on the Dems, any thoughts you can share in a family blog? :)