The Thinker: Rich Galen


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SOTU - 2018

Rich Galen

Wednesday January 31, 2017

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  • I wondered, on Twitter, in the afternoon why the White House and the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee chose yesterday to bring THE MEMO to the front burner.

  • I said, no matter how good (or bad) the State of the Union Speech may be, it will be overwhelmed by the gravity of the political black hole which is the memo.

  • To compound the problem, the White House's lawyers chose the afternoon of the SOTU to leak their deliberations on whether or not Donald Trump should submit to questioning by Robert Mueller's office.

  • Trump's lawyers, according to CNN, are saying "special counsel Robert Mueller's team has not met the high threshold they believe is needed to interview a president in person."

  • The Congressional Black Caucus may stage a walk-out in spite of being asked by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi not to.

  • A Republican Member of Congress has suggested that the Capitol Police arrest any Dreamer who have been invited by a Member of Congress.

  • Melania Trump added fuel to the "She's really angry about Stormy Daniels" story by not riding to the White House with her husband as is the tradition.

  • On CNN International I said in answer to the fill-in-the-blank question: "The State of the Union is _____"
    "Economically, the State of the Union is very good. Politically, the State of the Union is in its worst shape since 1968 - 50 years ago."


    NOTE: The full text is available on the Secret Decoder Ring page today via

  • Tonally, the speech was right on point. Aside from his annoying habit of clapping along with the audience - even when the audience is applauding something he said - Donald Trump delivered it at a good pace, with no major stumbles, and appeared to have actually run through it before its official delivery.

  • The speech was largely upbeat and forward looking. As is typical with State of the Union addresses, the President ran through a laundry list of economic success over the past year and an even longer list of items he wants to tackle.

  • It is true that many of the economic gains are the result of inertia left over from Barack Obama's second term, but if the economy were going in the wrong direction, everyone would be blaming Trump, so fair is fair.

  • I thought the infrastructure section was thin on details, especially since Trump put a price tag of $1.5 trillion.

  • He made up for it in the immigration section in which he discussed the "four pillars" of his immigration program in great detail. When he said he wanted to end "chain migration" it generated some boos from the Members - I assume from the D side of the House.

  • The foreign policy section dealt mostly - or exclusively - with places we are at war, like Afghanistan; people with whom we are at war, like ISIS leader al-Baghdadi and the leaders of Iran; and sending foreign assistance dollars "only to friends of America."

  • He used his gallery guests to explain large issues (like defeating ISIS, the opioid epidemic, and the cruelty of Kim Jong-un) through the personal stories of people who were personally affected. There may have been a few too many, but it was a very effective device.

  • The speech ended on a patriotic note.
    As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

    As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.

    Our families will thrive.

    Our people will prosper.

    And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.

  • Well done.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The history of States of the Union messages via the House Historian's office and the text of the speech.

    The Mullfoto is an interesting shot out the window of my train to New York City.

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