Let me confess to dozing off during President Trump’s interminable State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. The offense is one that I vow never to repeat. To ensure that I keep that vow, henceforth, I’ll just skip the event altogether. In doing so, this much is for certain: I won’t be missing anything.Apparently a kid named Trump owned the internet, for nodding off in the Distinguished Guests' box on a school night.
When I was a kid, the annual calendar included several televised events that we considered mandatory viewing, among them the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500, the Miss America Pageant, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Watching them was akin to a patriotic duty.
The annual SOTU was similarly classified, its importance unquestioned. We believed—and perhaps back then that belief was not entirely baseless—that the president’s assessment of the nation’s and the world’s condition meant something. It demanded thoughtful consideration. We believed further that his proposed agenda actually had some bearing on the future of American politics.
Credit Trump with exposing the absurdity of such expectations. Granted, I am only able to judge from the speech’s first 30 minutes or so, but what I heard was vapid, cliché-ridden, and embarrassingly devoid of substantive content. Except as fodder for comedians, it was without value.
Me? The resurgent Chicago Blackhawks put up a crooked number in Edmonton in the third. I dipped into the after-speech food fight on opinion television, where the usual suspects retreated to the usual corners.
In one corner: the Democrats, particularly their female senators and representatives, behaved badly.
Rather than demonstrate that women politicians on a combative national stage can govern in a sober and diplomatic way, female Democrats in Congress—don’t call them ladies—unfortunately are playing into the very stereotypes that they claim to want to disprove. They are moody, petulant, and impulsive. When confronted about their bad ideas or egregious remarks, these Cycle Sisters rage about sexism and racism rather than respond in good faith. They have profanity-laced temper tantrums and emotional breakdowns in public.That temper tantrum has been going on in social media without interruption ever since Donald Trump carried Wisconsin. The women of the fevered brow in the Democrat caucus think they're playing to their base. "The drive to force pretty girls to cover up and reduce their employment opportunities is designed to force them into the loving embrace of the white-clad, scowling Handmaids Crew."
Their collective mood is so foul and unpredictable that one feels almost compelled to give them a box of chocolate donuts, a dose of Midol, and send them to bed with a heating pad.
The base, though, is people for whom bad manners are simply an expression of authenticity. "At one point, Nancy Pelosi, my actual Patronus, pulled out a stack of papers and started reading it while Trump spoke, a living embodiment of the phrase 'LOL whut?!'" Plus the ironic in-your-face hand clap.
Mr Bacevich suggests watching Bonanza reruns rather than the Speech from the Throne. Hockey doesn't take the night off, even if Lord Stanley is among the special guests.