SOTU And A Story Of Two Boys

Somewhere in the distant “backroads by the rivers of my memory” is a speech I heard several decades ago in which the speaker told a story about a little boy put in a room a foot deep in horse manure in a psychological experiment about people’s mindsets and motivations. They came back after two hours and found the boy jumping around delightedly throwing horse manure everywhere. Confused, they asked him how on earth he could be having so much fun in a room full of horse manure. He said, “With all this horse manure around, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

Before I move on to the point of this post, I need to share the story of the other room used in the experiment, so bear with me. … In the other room, they put another boy, and the room was absolutely packed with toys — toy trucks and cars, soldiers, games, electronic gadgets, anything you’d think a boy his age could possibly want for Christmas. They came back after two hours and found the boy in the middle of the room throwing a temper tantrum and shouting “Let me out of this place!”  Confused again, they asked him how on earth he could be having such a terrible time in a room filled with toys most boys his age would want. He said, “This is a dull red fire truck; I want a bright red one. And I don’t like board games, and …” Well, you get the picture.

So This Story Is An Allegory For What?

Well, the attitude of the “pony boy” reflects fairly accurately the atmosphere displayed by Republicans at the 1/30/18 State of the Union address [the room full of horse manure, of course, being the Swamp 😊 ]. And you guessed it, the apparent attitude of Democrats [all of them, to a person] was very much akin to the “fire truck boy” [the room full of toys, of course, being numerous opportunities to be a part of some really great initiatives]. The poster-children of the latter attitude were folks like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Heidi Heitkamp [D-ND] …

  • “In terms of the bonus that corporate America receives versus the crumbs they are giving to workers to put the schmooze on is … pathetic. … I think it’s insignificant.” [Pelosi]
  • “If [corporations giving bonuses] were that comfortable, why don’t [sic.] they give them a thousand-dollar boost in their salary, which would continue over the next years?” [Heitkamp]

Add to this list of poster-children the eleven representatives who chose to boycott the address altogether [i.e., didn’t even attend]: Bobby Rush (D-Illinois); Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois); Danny Davis (D-Illinois); John Lewis (D-Ga.); Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); Primila Jayapal (D-Wash.); Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.); Barbara Lee (D-Calif.); Albio Sires (D-N.J.); Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.); and Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.).

And, of those who did dutifully [but many no doubt reluctantly] attend. … Congressional women wore black in support of the MeToo movement. Congressional Black Caucus members, dressed in West African kente cloth to protest Trump after reports he called some African nations shithole countries, sat “stone-faced and unmoved” [description used by one of the many media reports].

And the prize for the lead poster-child goes to Rep. Luis Gutierrez [D-Illinois], who stormed out of the chamber when Republicans started chanting “USA, USA.” Instead of listing something he later said sarcastically with other quotes above, I saved it for this honorary paragraph: “Whoever translated [the speech] for him from Russian did a good job.”

So Buckle Up

So forget the President’s attempts to speak in cooperative terms. We’re in for more gridlock at least until the elections this November. Democrats, absolutely convinced by traditional thinking and how they “read” the situation that they will win a majority in at least one if not both houses of Congress, will block all attempts by the Administration to accomplish anything beyond the major accomplishments so far.

Sure, President Trump did some bragging, but so have all previous presidents in both parties in their SOTU addresses. Maybe he even exaggerated some of his claims or put a positive spin on some essentially neutral statistics, but so have all previous presidents in both parties in their SOTU addresses. What’s different here is the level of vitriol exhibited by the minority toward the president who put them in their current situation. I thought the Republican attempts to block President Obama’s agenda were “typical Current Paradigm politics” — the same attempts to block everything, and maybe even some similar barbs directed at Democrats and at him, personally. Comparatively, though, those years were nothing even close to today’s environment.

According to “traditional thinking” in November 2016 [what most polls indicated, the fact that Trump seemed to have “shot himself in the foot” numerous times, etc.], Clinton was going to win the Presidency by a landslide. Well, “traditional thinking” turned out to be “erroneous thinking” — it was Trump who won by a landslide. It will be very interesting to see how the midterm elections this November turn out. If the Democrat strategy, which is essentially to block everything they can and push the Russian interference / collusion / obstruction / whatever narrative as far as it will go, is successful, the Current Paradigm will still have some legs and the Swamp will continue to sputter along. If the elements of the New Paradigm are even stronger than they clearly were in 2016 and Republicans keep their comfortable majority in the House and increase their majority in the Senate, however, get ready for a major acceleration in dominance of the New Paradigm and great things happening in 2019-2020 — maybe even 2019-2024.

Unfortunately, …

Unfortunately, the next nine months will be a constant barrage of negative ads in the media, particularly in states where Democrats “smell blood in the water” [e.g., where incumbent Republicans are not seeking re-election to House or Senate seats, or where Republicans are running for re-election in states Trump either lost or won by lower margins]. So make sure your Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts are current. There will probably be a lot of times when watching a movie will be a good way to escape from the media outlets where all these ads are running ad nauseam.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider  sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

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Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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