Discourses

Let’s face it.  State of the Union speeches are neither generally noteworthy nor much remembered.  Nothing of value would be lost if presidents reverted to the pre-Woodrow Wilson practice of submitting SOTU messages in writing only.  But that  isn’t going to happen.  Thanks to television and presidential vanity, the SOTU message has become an over-hyped political version of a dull variety show with too many commercials that goes on far too long.  Presidents present themselves as a cross between Santa Claus and an occasionally naggy Mary Poppins, but ere long pretty much everyone forgets all about the event.

All that being said, President Trump knocked it out of the park last night.  He looked and sounded presidential, which for him was something of a novelty.  Let’s hope he likes and sticks with this new persona.  He made the case for restoring American greatness more eloquently than he has ever done before.  That should help him in political battles on important policy issues, as for example his struggle to make our Southern border more secure.  He made the case on that issue last night forcefully, with arguments that can attract support beyond his base.  He needs to take a mini-version of what he said last night on the road, while avoiding his penchant for ad hominem pejoratives.  The question is whether he has the focused discipline to do so.

is a Senior Fellow and faculty member of the Claremont Institute, and professor of government at Claremont Graduate University.

More Thoughts

discourse

From Pink Police State to Techno-Gnostic Empire

“Our emerging post-privacy order isn’t quite totalitarian, but it’s getting there,” writes Ross Douthat in his latest Sunday column. For years, the Left has been shifting from a theory of justice rooted in the public/private divide to a theory of justice rooted in the divide between what’s in the realm of officialdom and what’s outside…

discourse

The Democrats and the Media, or “The Committee to Re-elect President Trump”

I meant what I said a year ago: “…almost every opportunity the mainstream media has had to moderate or qualify themselves in relation to the Russian collusion narrative has been rejected in favor of all-out attacks. They had better be right. Like most American cultural and civic institutions, the old media is already distrusted by…

discourse

The Administrative State’s German Roots

James Poulos is very fair-minded in his treatment of Paul Gottfried’s “mixed” review of John Marini’s new book. Gottfried wrote: According to Marini, “contemporary ideology and politics become intelligible only with reference to a philosophy of history, which originated in the political thought of Kant and Hegel.” As someone who has written on both German…