March 1, 2017: SOTU Joy, Astonishment | Muddying the Waters

muddy water  red for the blue

1. Reaction to SOTU: Whew! That Went Well. However.....

President Trump’s address to Congress largely left the Red Media elated and relieved that the commander-in chief finally seemed restrained and presidential. However, there were signs that his populist-style promises don’t always sit well with many of his reflexively anti-government constituencies:

After heaping on the praise, RedState’s morning briefing had this to add:

Trump’s call for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending had Republicans applauding. Why? – He loses me on this, and it flummoxes me that Republicans would want to support it. They slammed Barack Obama’s stimulus which was supposedly made up of “shovel-ready jobs.” How is this any different? It will be a bill that is loaded up with pork and won’t create anywhere near the number of jobs he is promising.

Republicans cringed when Donald Trump talked about paid family leave – They should have cringed. It’s another idea that is straight from the Democratic playbook. It is not only not a conservative idea, it is not even a Republican idea. Paul Ryan looked pained as he stood to applaud. It’s an awful idea but one championed by his daughter, Ivanka.

Rich Lowry of National Review noted: “It was truly bizarre to see Republicans standing and cheering the passages on protectionism and infrastructure spending, but this is the change Trump has wrought in the party. “

Trump’s announcement of a new office (VOICE) Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement Voice was red meat for his base. The Red Twittersphere also gleefully went after Democrats who booed when it was announced. But some had questions:

Glenn Beck @glennbeck with 1.17 million followers asked, possible envisioning a bloated bureaucracy:

VOICE? Conservatives should shudder at the idea of a new 'office'. I will be reading about this one tonight. #SOTU #Jointsession

— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) March 1, 2017

Things Worth Noting: 
Before Trump’s speech, the Red Twittersphere reacted harshly to reports that he might modify his immigration stance. There was no announcement of a change. But these tweets, posted before the speech, give some sense of how little wiggle room his base will give him on the issue:

Ann Coulter‏ @AnnCoulter got more that 1.3 k likes in 23 minutes before the speech that she posted this threat:

Trump must keep faith with his voters! If he instead outlines a "path to citizenship," it will be his path to private citizenship.

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) March 1, 2017

Comrade Stump‏ @CantStumpTrump1 with 18.8 k followers warned:

Changing my @ if Trump cucks on immigration 👀

— Comrade Stump (@CantStumpTrump1) February 28, 2017

Hunter Wallace‏ @occdissent summed it up like this: 

If President Trump embraces comprehensive immigration reform, it would go over far worse because it would be a betrayal of trust

— Hunter Wallace (@occdissent) February 28, 2017

Pooh-Poohing the Democratic Response

Meanwhile, no surprise: the Red Media and officialdom thought little of the Democratic response to the address, given by the former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear. They bashed him mostly on Obamacare. The Senate majority leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell‏ @SenateMajLdr  got nearly 1k likes for this basic summary:

The absolute #Obamacare disaster that Gov Beshear presided over continues to harm #Kentucky – even after he’s left office. #Jointsession

— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) March 1, 2017

The Washington Examiner @washingtonexaminer added: Despite Steve Beshear's Democratic response, Kentucky is a case study in Obamacare's failures.

Opinion from @alvarado4senate: Despite Steve Beshear's Democratic response, Kentucky is a case study in Obamacare's failures

— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 1, 2017

What We Didn’t Hear: 
Any mention of Russia or the fake news media.

2. Muddying the Waters: The Environment Will Be All Right

2. Muddying the Waters: The Environment Will Be All Right

Trump’s war against environmental regulations is in full swing. Yesterday, he signed an executive order signalling federal agencies to roll back an Obama era regulation that extended and clarified the reach of the Clean Water Act.

Even before the order, the Red Media had been elated with Trump’s new direction on the environment. Conservative outlets have been filled with glowing profiles of the newly appointed E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt’s close ties to the oil and gas industry have been scrutinized by the Mainstream Media, but to The Washington Examinerthe connections don’t amount to a hill of beans.

“But these alleged "scandals" showing Pruitt working closely with the energy industry in his state are, thus far, baseless and absurd. Just because Pruitt worked with and agreed with some leaders in his state's energy industry doesn't mean he's going to do anything they want, and there's absolutely no evidence Pruitt did anything illegal or unethical.”

Meanwhile, do not worry, dear readers. Not only will gutting these regulations not hurt the air or water, they will actually make them better, Pruitt assured CPAC on Sunday, according to stenographic coverage on Breitbart. Here’s a sample:

“Pruitt predicted: ‘I really believe that at the end of eight years [of the Trump administration], we’re going to have better air quality, we’re going to have better water quality because we’ve invested in a partnership’,”

As for reaction to Trump’s executive order, this post by 100%FedUp, an ultraconservative site with a large Facebook following, was trending with 2.1k likes just hours after Trump signed it:

BREAKING: PRESIDENT TRUMP Revokes “Massive Power Grab” At EPA Called “Clean Water Act” President Trump revoked the clean Water Act that was a huge power trap by the feds…Bravo! “It has a sort of nice name but everything is bad” – President Trump

What We’re Watching:
Unlike actions on climate change, clean water and air protections have historically shared strong support across both political parties. Can Trump and Pruitt convince their followers that they are eliminating regulations and still making the water safer? That would be an ugly trick.

3. Actually, It’s the Environmentalists Who Are Dirty

Unruly protestors are a favorite target of conservative sites, but special attention has been paid to the trash apparently left by demonstrators who camped out for months to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. This was published yesterday on InfoWars, which has seven million unique monthly visitors, according to Quantcast:

“The U.S. Army Corps will spend more than $1 million to clean up the mess left behind by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

The protesters — who succeeded in temporarily shutting down pipeline construction under orders from President Barack Obama — were evicted after President Donald Trump put the pipeline project back online.

“The corps’ contract with a Florida-based company to provide trash removal and environmental cleanup includes the main Oceti Sakowin camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the smaller Rosebud camp on the south side,” the Bismarck Tribune reported on Friday. “Both are on corps’-owned property.”

Meanwhile, What About Those Puppies?: The Red Twittersphere went crazy with rumors about much worse behavior:

The National Review @NRO with 228k followers tweeted:

Volunteers Rescue Puppies Abandoned At Dakota Pipeline Protest

— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 28, 2017

The Daily Caller @dailycaller with 274k followers tweeted:

Volunteers Rescue Puppies Abandoned At Dakota Pipeline Protest

— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 28, 2017

And /pol/ News Network‏ @polNewsNetwork1 with 11k followers said:

Protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline abandoned numerous dogs and puppies in the midst of garbage and snow.

— /pol/ News Network (@polNewsNetwork1) February 28, 2017

What We’re Noticing:  
First, the Right co-opted “fake news” and made it meaningless. Now we are noticing an increasing number of sites describing themselves as fact checkers that also have a clear political bias. The Standing Rock Factchecker, for example, is really the page of industry-allied groups.

4. Veterans for Gorsuch

There seems little chance Neil Gorsuch that isn’t confirmed by the Senate for the Supreme Court. But The Morning Jolt reports that Concerned Veterans of America is taking no chances. CVA has launched an “under-the-radar” campaign to pressure Red State Democrats to support Gorsuch bid for the Supreme Court:

“This week Concerned Veterans for America is launching a direct-mail campaign in seven states nationwide, asking citizens to urge their Senators to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch without delay. The mailers will hit targeted markets in Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Florida, and Montana……

‘The veteran community is deeply invested in ensuring that the next Supreme Court justice will respect the Constitution they fought and sacrificed to defend,’ said Mark Lucas, executive director of CVA. ‘We will continue mobilizing our activists to push their Senators to support Neil Gorsuch until the moment he is confirmed to the bench’.”