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Trump’s State of the Union speech was a home run

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/5/2020 Quin Hillyer
John Roberts, Elena Kagan standing next to a man in a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

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Setting aside the angry, in-your-face delivery, President Trump’s State of the Union speech was tremendously well crafted. Trump made the best possible case for his administration, highlighting the salutary effects of conservative policies.

Powered by unsustainable debt and loose monetary policy, but also by smarter tax policies and deregulation, the U.S. economy does indeed boast the best topline numbers in U.S. history. Unshackled by a number of executive orders, health-care costs really are rising far more slowly than they have in many years -- even falling in some areas. And yes, our military is being re-provisioned, and our First- and Second-Amendment rights better protected.

Trump highlighted all these successes and more in clear, compelling language. He also made a strong case for conservative social values by highlighting a child who survived a birth at less than 22 weeks of gestation, featuring a student who would benefit from school choice, and sharply delineating the dangerous result of “sanctuary city” policies that provide safe haven even for criminal aliens.

Moreover, while the scowl and the tone of voice were anything but warm and inclusive, much of the language and many of the themes were Reaganesque. He started with this: “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again! America's enemies are on the run, America's fortunes are on the rise, and America's future is blazing bright.”

He ended with this: “This Nation is our canvas, and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American Epic, the American Adventure, has only just begun! Our spirit is still young; the sun is still rising; God's grace is still shining; and my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come!”

What came in between this Reaganesque rhetoric was solid on substance. Trump rightly boasted about the Jack Kemp-inspired “opportunity zones,” which are helping impoverished areas, that passed on his watch. He also noted the wonderfully increased energy production as a result of deregulatory efforts. And he made a wise commitment to catalyze the planting of a trillion new trees worldwide.

There also was some superb stagecraft, perhaps the best of which was a tribute to one of the last surviving Tuskegee airman, Charles McGee, who looked at least a quarter-century younger than the hundredth birthday he celebrated two months ago.

There are those of us who think Trump is not just distasteful in personality but corrupt and ultimately dangerous. Even so, the case he made Tuesday night was powerful. It helps show why he will be a formidable candidate for re-election. Many of the Trump-Pence policies are good ones, and Trump’s pride in these United States is very welcome.

In sum, Trump was at the top of his game Tuesday night. It’s a game at which his Democratic opponents may have trouble successfully competing.

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