As he settles into office, Donald Trump has succeeded in setting an extraordinarily low bar for himself. How else to explain the widespread praise for his "presidential" demeanor in his appearance before a joint session of Congress on February 28? Compared with his angry, apocalyptic Inaugural Address, Trump sounded relatively coherent, or at least not stark raving mad. But there was nothing reassuring about his speech.
He began with a cynical tribute to Black History Month and the civil rights movement, as if his entire campaign had not relied on race-baiting the nations first black President and garnering the enthusiastic support of white supremacists and hate groups nationwide.
Trump got props for condemning an upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks since his election--something he had previously refused to do.
"We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms," he declared. The prettier forms of hate and evil are another matter.
Republicans who, with Trump's help, have been pursuing a deliberate strategy to disenfranchise black voters through voter ID laws surged to their feet to applaud Trumps celebration of "our nations path toward civil rights and the work that still remains." (That work apparently includes the retreat by Trumps Department of Justice from civil rights litigation, including in a key voting rights case in Texas.)
Trump reiterated his talking points about inheriting "a mess" from President Obama--painting a picture of a dangerous, divided, and economically devastated nation.
Even after his recent discovery that "nobody knew health care could be so complicated," Trump dwelt heavily, and disingenuously, on his plans to work with Congress "to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster."
Listening to Trump and the Republicans in Congress, you would think that the biggest domestic crisis Americans face today (apart from the scourge of violent crimes committed by immigrants, who are actually far less likely to commit crime than native-born Americans) is President Obama's expansion of health care coverage to millions of previously uninsured citizens.
Some of those citizens have been showing up at their legislators' Congressional offices and town hall meetings to express concern about Republican efforts to "protect" them from Obamacare by freeing them to take their chances in an expensive and unregulated private health care market.
As worried constituents...