On a scale of one to ten, last night Trump was a seven and Pelosi-Schumer were a zero
I thought President Trump's first Oval Office address last night was very good, but not a home run. (Transcript here, video embedded below.) But compared to the disastrous response from Democrat leaders Pelosi and Schumer, it was a grand slam.
On substance, the president was a nine on a scale of one to ten, nearly perfect. His focus was on the practical issues right away: the lack of facilities to handle the families who have come to predominate the flow and the vast quantities of drugs that come into the country. The humanitarian crisis is undeniable, and the Democrat-media complex have already done plenty to bring home the suffering caused by the attractive nuisance of a border perceived as porous. The Democrats' habit of emoting over the human tragedies at the border was converted into a support for the notion of a crisis in a neat bit of political jujitsu.
But on style (which is how most people react to a speech – consider how Obama was considered a "great orator" for speeches full of platitudes), he was a five, yielding a combined rating of seven. The president was clearly reading a teleprompter and was not as fluid as he can be when in front of an audience. I did not perceive a heart-and-soul connection to the public the way President Reagan could handle an Oval Office address. To be fair, speaking into a camera with no audience and high stakes is a huge challenge. A rating of five is "average," and that's what I thought his style was.
The contrast provided by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was dramatic. The substance was mediocre at best, and the style went into negative point territory. They obviously did not get any help in staging from their friends in Hollywood. It was a disaster. (Transcript here, video embedded below.) Let's start with the podium that was too narrow to accommodate both of them. It was clown car territory.
YouTube screen grab.
Comparisons to "American Gothic" flooded Twitter:
American Gothic anyone... #Pelosi #Schumer pic.twitter.com/YSBPBBCXTg— Seth Johnson (@SethP_Johnson) January 9, 2019
The Shining also came up a lot:
Why do Schumer and Pelosi remind me of the shining twins? #PresidentialAddress #DemocraticResponse pic.twitter.com/BZZJ6EcHiY— Austin Michael (@austin_michael5) January 9, 2019
On substance, the two Democrats mouthed familiar talking points on the border: the transparent lie that Democrats are all for border security but just not walls. But their main focus was the 25% shutdown, which matters much more to federal bureaucrats than to the general public.
One thing that has got to worry the Democrats for the next two years is that their two leaders are dreadful as persuaders. Just awful. And, until they have their presidential nominee, the next highest pubic profile as spokesman is that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a walking, talking exemplar of an ignorant know-it-all.
I give Pelosi-Schumer a two on substance and a negative two on style, with a net rating of zero.
President Trump likes winning, and last night he won.
Update: NBC News sent out a tweet with a revealing picture of Pelosi and Schumer watching themselves after the speech. It is clear that Schumer knows he and Nancy were a disaster:
Here are the two speeches, in case you missed them: