State of the Union Addresses are Shakespearean stage productions on the widest and grandest scale possible. Every player had their moment.
From Mike Pence to Nancy Pelosi to Chuck Schumer to First Lady Melania Trump to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they are simply theatre.
None of the theatre the various actors put on had any relation whatsoever to the content in the State of the Union Address. It was purely for their constituency, and their future ambitions.
But overriding all of the secondary actors was the leading man, the impresario, President Donald J. Trump. He held center stage while all buzzed around him like courtiers and plotters.
The master actor — that is what a president is for these occasions — rose to the occasion and produced a masterclass. The message of reconciliation for the current and future progress of the economy, immigration and other key matters, was important not so much for the content itself but for the tone.
In a CBS insta-poll just after President Trump’s address, 76% approved of the speech itself and 72% approved of his ideas on immigration.
The Democrat’s must be disappointed a combative Donald Trump — off whom they have fed for two years and used to rile up their base — did not deliver the State of the Union.
It will be difficult to keep the 2018 midterm level of energy among their base. It might have just exhausted itself last November.
This may have become apparent in the coincidental Minnesota State Senator election held the same night, which saw a 16-point swing to the GOP in a seat held by the Democrat’s (and in one family) for over twenty years.
This change in the zeitgeist did not commence with the State of the Union.
President Trump’s support in the polls, which dipped sharply during the early stages of the government shutdown, has been slowly increasing among registered and likely voters.
Rasmussen Reports, one of the most accurate pollsters in 2016, had President Trump at 48% on the day of the State of the Union, a 3-point jump in one day and a 5-point increase from his low during the shutdown.
The aggregate of approval polls currently stands just above 44%, which is less than 2 points below his 2026 popular vote. Any increase from his current aggregate, which is likely to follow his address — unless there is another shutdown — could see him start a new plateau.
He would be well-placed for 2020.
These changes in public mood are not only fickle but their inflection points are sometimes hard to discern and can seem oddly contradictory. It appears that the shutdown and its close seemed to draw some strange residual poison from the body politic. A mood of “it’s time to move on” seems to have commenced.
Even the “Trump’s caved” leftist crowing was half-hearted and brief.
Perhaps people have had enough of two years of the endless Mueller/Russia circus — which, apart from snagging a few miscreants who had nothing to do with “collusion” and the new Trumpian image of a Reaganesque, friendly statesman — is the balm people were looking for.
If the mainstream media takes note of this and starts doing their job of somewhat even-handed journalism over the next two years, we may see what eventuated in the last two years of President Ronald Reagan’s first term.
President Reagan’s approval rating sat at 35% on the same day of his presidency. An America absorbed with their daily lives, enjoying the fruits of a strong economy, an America at peace and disengaging from disastrous foreign wars and ignoring the DC/Media circus.
The more things change the more they stay the same — hopefully.