While conventional media wisdom is usually wrong, there is no doubt that, just as the pundits have universally suggested, this speech will help Trump’s political standing. It will, also, give him the opportunity to reset a presidency that has been off to an extremely unsteady and troubling start. Whether he will be capable of taking advantage of this chance once he’s off the teleprompter (and not in a hugely dramatic setting) is obviously unknowable.
As a conservative, I really only had two problems with the speech. The first is that, other than on defense, taxes, and immigration (maybe), most of the speech was filled with extremely liberal concepts and proposals.
One of the most amusing and disorienting elements of the address was watching former budget hawk Paul Ryan constantly stand up behind the president and applaud for ideas which, if they had come from Hillary Clinton, he would have reacted to by sitting on his hands with a frown. How government-mandated maternity leave, a trillion-dollar infrastructure program, keeping government very much in the healthcare business, highly restrictive trade policies, or big deficits are suddenly even remotely ‘conservative’ (or even ‘Republican’) is a ‘Bruce Jenner-is-now-a-woman’ level mystery to me.
But it’s not just Trump’s specific big-government proposals that should be troubling for the 58 or so real conservatives left in America.