On a scale of 1 to 10, President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address was an 8.5.
We all know that when conditions are right and the teleprompter is properly functioning, Trump can do pretty well. But the question is whether his words really mean anything. Are his words connected to his governing approach? Is there a gear that connects his words to the functioning of his administration?
The best part of Tuesday's address was when Trump made the point that "Americans are dreamers too." He emphasized that the United States is at a pivotal moment, that opportunity is great and that expectations can be high. "To every citizen watching at home tonight," Trump said, "no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time." Well said. And he was particularly powerful when he said that the threat of gangs such as MS-13 will no longer be tolerated. Democrats would have you believe otherwise, but Trump is concerned most with creating opportunity for Americans - without regard for race, color or creed - to thrive. And that requires allowing the economic engine to rev and for our laws to be enforced.
Perhaps the worst part of Trump's address was that he seemed to unnecessarily insist on applause. He clapped for himself way too often which added to his already too long address.
Stylistically, Trump was, well, Trump. He has never been much of an inspirational orator, but his message was well delivered. The stories he shared to highlight his policies and priorities were incredibly moving. Even Democrats who rarely brought themselves to stand for the president could not resist applauding at times.
But Democrats seemed particularly glum when the president talked about the repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate, the positive impact of tax reform and the spark his presidency has given the economy. Democrats couldn't bear to recognize the impact Republicans - and Trump in particular - are having on generating economic growth. But the numbers speak for themselves, and under Trump, America's economy has seen a resurgence that would have never been thought possible under President Barack Obama.
Oh, and by the way, you probably haven't heard much of this from the liberal mainstream media, but Democrats could not appear more fractured in the aftermath of Trump's State of the Union address. Democrats scheduled six separate responses to the president's address - the official response, the Spanish-language response, the Sen. Bernie Sanders response, the socialist response, the Rep. Maxine Waters response and the celebrity response. It signifies a party that doesn't know who they are. And while we're at it, I thought the oddest visual from the Democrats on Tuesday night was from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. With all of her mouth contortions, did she need a toothpick or what?
Anyway, let's not kid ourselves about the impact of Trump's address. Domestically, Trump is not very powerful. He has little ability to intimidate Congress and almost everyone thinks he is heading toward a big loss in the midterm elections next November.
With that said, I have noticed fewer crazy tweets from the president in the past couple of weeks. Trump had a powerful performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and post-Bannon, he seems less manic. Now, he's given a better than average primetime speech to the nation and the economy is on a roll. So, is Trump about to get up on the board and catch a wave?
I'm not sure what the half-life is of the president's well-enunciated pronouncements. Will Trump's tweets and actions over the next few hours and days tend to reinforce or dismiss what was said in the controlled environment of the House chamber? We will know soon enough.