Marty Robbins’ great performance notwithstanding, the president did a nice job in El Paso. He gave the crowd red meat and skewered his opposition in the Queens wiseguy Trump style. Before the slightly delayed speech, two news items hit the air. One, a deal on the next possible shutdown may have been worked out by Hill negotiators and, two, four Fairfax aides resigned. Both events good news for the president as no one wants another shutdown and Virginia keeps on bleeding blue.
At the beginning, the speech was the usual recitation of past promises and applause lines. But then he got into his stride by mentioning his 52-percent approval rating in a recent Rasmussen poll. Now, as we’ve mentioned before, the vast majority of polls are put-up jobs and should not be trusted. People pay for their results and they get them. The real data, internal polls, you will never see unless leaked. Then only leaked for advantage. Rasmussen, though, is a bit of an exception, hence why he called the game possibly for Trump late in the 4th quarter in 2016. That was before almost anyone did, when The New York Times was saying Hillary had an 85-percent chance to be elected. The president was justifiably proud of the number, which compares well to other presidents at this time in their administrations. Those presidents went on to be reelected.
He quickly went on to hit Beto. Trump compared his own 10,000 fans in the room (with many more outside) with the much smaller number —some reported it at 300— in attendance at the competing rally. But apparently Beto supporters made it inside the Trump shindig as well. And they were organized.
We all saw it: the president would say a line, shrieks would go up, he would look over his shoulder, as would the crowd behind him. The broadcast I saw didn’t show much of the protestors. But I assume they were escorted out, as the crowd chanted various pro-Trump slogans. This process must have happened at least five times. So the agitators were likely given orders when to speak up, just a bit after the last kerfuffle to give the impression of a rally getting out of hand. That would give the press their narrative, it could have been worked out with the press beforehand, of a divided out-of-control crowd in El Paso. But the president handled it well, using a mixture of ignoring them and wisecracks, as when he asked why they were so angry, thus egging them on for even more anger. He knows he’s giving them enough rope to hang themselves and they do. They can’t help themselves.
He went from there to throw a tasty morsel to his fiery base, as he turned the tables on the Russia issue and went after Hillary and her crew on it. Well played.
Next target was the Dem Green New Deal and he had a field day with it. Though he did get the response of the Hawaiian senator wrong. He mentioned the absurd litany of Dem proposals, sarcastically wondering about a train trip to California. Well, just over two years ago I took a train trip from Denver to Washington, D.C. I will spare you the gory personal details. I just needed some time to think and the two-and-a-half-day trip afforded me that. Personally, I loved it. From the available booze, to cocktails in the observation deck (you might notice a pattern here), to a civilized breakfast in the food car, it was fun partaking in the North by Northwest vibe as America roared past. I had never seen the plains like that or crossed the Mississippi on the ground. Sure, schedules were bungled and the food and drink prices on board were silly. But the whole trip was still fun. Especially middle-of-the-night stops in places that seemed out of an Edward Hopper painting. So, if you have the time and the patience, not a bad way to see the country. That was not specifically brought to you by Amtrak. But I will expect my Acela Club points increased accordingly.
The president continued on his merry rhetorical way, mentioning Northam, his fondness for German Shepherds (hope we don’t see that line in Dem oppo media with other less savory references to past uses of German Shepherds), his now powerful catchphrase on stopping socialism from coming to America, and mentioning the Almighty every chance he got. His specific mention to the Texans of the Alamo and their battle for independence was masterly delivered and wowed the crowd.
What he did tonight is what he does best: attack. He refuses to buy the usual GOP masochistic premise and takes the battle right to the faces of his enemy. He went full on culture warrior, daring the Dems to meet him on that field. What we heard were lines we will hear again and again leading up to the 2020 election, no matter who the Dems nominate.
The El Paso speech was what the SOTU should have been and where it should have been held, not to mention the teleprompter debacle of the recent past. Donald Trump is in finest form when he engages a crowd in person, gaining energy from their enthusiasm. His ad-libs showcase a natural entertainer and his joy for the fight is contagious.
The current Dem host of sour school marms and robotic beta males may not stand a chance against this guy. He may do to them what he did to Jeb Bush in the 2016 primaries. But the Dems are too full of themselves right now to notice.
Come October of 2020, they will come to wish they did.