It’s 8:18 p.m, and that bastion of #woke liberalism MSNBC has had Eugene Robinson mourning the evaporation of a “bipartisan oasis” like the Senate Intelligence Committee and Peggy Noonan, who spoke with the clarity of a person miffed that she only gulped one Tito’s and soda, lamented the collapse of presidents who Brought People Together like her former employer George Herbert Walker Bush, who implied that the minority of the country aligned with Mike Dukakis that they favored the release of murderous black men on furlough.
This must mean it’s time for the State of the Union!
10:30. Third longest SOTU in history, after two of Bill Clinton’s. “Not aimed at the FOX News crowd at all,” Chris Matthews said, praising how “brilliantly confected [sic]” it was.
10:28. I wanted this:
10:25. North Korea is evil because it is anti-Christian.
10:21. I can’t remember another SOTU in which the president larded the evening with so many heroes and special guests.
10:16. Oh lord Democrats may get up for this Jerusalem-is-the-capital-of-Israel thing.
10:16. Thanks to the president, our “enemies” don’t “learn about our plans.” Someone care to explain?
10:15. Guantanamo never meant much to me as a campaign issue even when Barack Obama caviled about closing it. Symbols are powerful, but symbols are hollow when our anti-terrorism policy still supports drone strikes.
10:08. The perorations in SOTUs are pallid things; how do presidents get a hostile chamber excited about policies he knows and they know they have no interest in passing, let alone debating? This SOTU has more garbage for the president’s base than history suggests; what’s striking is how the president acts as if it were January 2017.
10:01. Visa lottery. Chained migration. Second reaction shot of Mitch McConnell, bored and not applauding and thinking of his endangered majority.
9:52. “My duty and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans. To protect their safety, their families, their communities and their right to the American dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.” This is the sort of rhetoric expected from the president who said there were beautiful people On Both Sides of the Charlottesville protests; from the sort of toad you meet on social media who claims that blacks are racists too.
9:50. As touching as it is to see this black family, the victims of gang violence, bending over in tears, I’m not sure what gangsterism has to do with the executive branch….unless you want to hint at the awfulness of illegal Mexicans coming in as a result of “loopholes.”
9:48. Today we learned that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III looks to the private prison industry with pride.
9:45. American grits!
9:43. The only time the GOP majority audibly murmured dissent was the part when the president promised to lower prescription drug prices with a wave of his small wand (“They’ll drop — just watch!” Okay.).
9:42. RECIPROCAL. Congrats, Mr. President — you learned a word tonight!
9:39. “Beautiful” coal. The targeting of disloyal federal employees. The gutting of regulations. Huge applause. Listening to the enthusiasm in the room is like walking into a meeting at which Quakers are cursing and ordering the shooting of every pet dog and cat in the union.
9:37. His administration has eliminated “more regulation than any other administration in history.” TRUTH.
9:36. The fuck did he just empower Cabinet members to do?
9:32. Does the president loathe Colin Kaepernick more than Barack Obama?
9:29. “Faith and family are the center of American life” and the motto is “In God We Trust.” Jerry Falwell, Jr. is smiling. He also praises the police and veterans and other members of the armed forces after having spent the better part of the year undermining their authority in Tweet after Tweet.
9:26. Enjoy that take home pay, Americans! Under the Millionaires Tax Cut, it will disappear next year.
9:21. Of course, the most enthusiastic applause was saved for the Millionaires Tax Cut. Surpassing this, though, is the huzzahs for Trump’s reminder that the individual mandate is no more. No one pretends that, as the president pointed out, Congress is there to serve the people.
9:19. Trump just boasted about the low level of black employment and high wages; the latter claim is a barefaced lie, the former is folded into it.
9:18. “Why the hell is the clapping so loud?” I wondered. It’s the president applauding himself.
9:15. Meanwhile: FEMA has shut the aid spigot to Puerto Rico.
9:12. Ronald Reagan introduced the moment when the president acknowledges an American Hero. Masters of statecraft can handle it; from Donald Trump’s mouth, praising an American for bravery reminds audiences of how these men and women rose the challenge that he didn’t.
9:11. “A new tide of optimism” has spread “across our land,” the president’s scribes wrote.
9:09. The first of many Glares of Doom exchanged between Melania and Trump.
9:08. For a president said to love ceremony, he sure gets lots of praise for trashing norms.
9:06. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois gave the president what looks like a sincere smile, as if to say, “Good luck, enjoy it while it lasts.”
9:04. Remarkable, isn’t it, how the bipartisan Beltway consensus will use the patriotism of Bush and Obama as the sock of manure with which to beat Donald Trump.
9 p.m. Enter the Cabinet, with the mien and bearing of members of the Estates-General.
8:59. Enter the First Lady, with the mien and bearing of Mary, Queen of Scots escorted to her doom.