Iowa Politics — Wed. Feb. 06, 2019

Iowa Politics — Wed. Feb. 06, 2019

The State of the Union
You heard the President’s State of the Union message live on KXEL last night, as well as the Democrats’ response. The speech was even longer than last year’s and yielded very few surprises.
The President’s staff crafted a message that on the face of it was the picture of conciliation. There were, of course, the few shots he took at Congress for investigating him…but it was far less confrontational than his standard comments, or tweets. The communications team did a nice job of bringing guests to be singled out who could hardly draw anything but bipartisan applause…veterans, concentration camp survivors, hero police officers.
The Vice President and the Speaker of the House were each distracting in their own ways…cuing supporters to stand and cheer or to sit on their hands, depending on the message. The oversized script the Speaker was following with cues written in a broad black Sharpie was especially obvious, especially when she kept losing her place. The ever-loyal Vice President nodded with fawning approval after every paragraph.
But those petty things aside, the speech really didn’t do much…they typically don’t. We learned the date and place for a U.S./North Korean summit this month…but beyond that, there wasn’t much news.
I’d respectfully suggest, however, that the one thing the speech did was show how “union” is not the word to be used…”disunion” is more like it, if that’s even a word. The differences between the left and right were on full display, and while the words of the President may have sounded a call for unity, no one on either side really believes it’s going to happen. That was obvious through the reactions of lawmakers, frankly on both sides…and within both sides, because not even the Democrats or Republicans are united within themselves.
Without context, in fifty years someone reading the text of the speech may believe it to be a great call for unity. But in context, it only showed how broken the state of our political union still is…thankfully, the people of our union are still strong.