When giving a report to the nation about how things are going, there are speakers who worry about giving too one-sided a view — for fear, perhaps, of losing their credibility, or perhaps even because they believe in a kind of intellectual honesty that requires the acknowledgement of inconvenient facts and of the complexity of major policy changes.
Vice President Mike Pence is in the other category.
At the Minneapolis Convention Center Wednesday morning, Pence told a Minneapolis audience that things are going great in America and are going steadily greater since Donald Trump took office. Pretty much in every way.
I’m kind of the other type. And I don’t always have the best attitude toward the view of reality put forward by the Trump-Pence-ians. But to make up for my bad attitude, I’m just going to transcribe my notes, with a minimum of further snark, and pass along what Pence told the few hundred Minnesotans who came to hear him.
Pence said he was delighted to be with “men and women who voted for a president who passed tax cuts that put America first.”
‘Promises made, promises kept’
He said the story of the past two years, from the campaign to the Trump presidency so far could be summarized thus: “Promises made, promises kept.”
He showered praise on the three Republican members of Congress from Minnesota, Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis and especially Erik Paulsen, whom he described as “standing shoulder to shoulder with President Trump to make good on all his promises.”
He described Minnesota as “home to many American patriots who have fought for the country,” and thanked them for their service. He said that President Trump, who promised to rebuild the military, has made the “largest investment in national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan,” including “the biggest pay raise for the troops in nearly 10 years.” Pence also favors giving veterans access to “world class health care,” which, he said, “they earned.”
He said that police, whom he called “the thin blue line of law enforcement” are entitled to respect.
He said Trump “promised to secure our borders,” has “signed funding for 100 miles of border walls” and will “get the whole thing built.”
He said drug addiction was bad, especially to opioids, and promised that “we will make this the generation that ends” the problem.
In the aftermath of the Florida school shootings, the president promised to strengthen school safety, and, according to Pence, he has done so.
‘Restoring growth and prosperity’
He said President Trump’s economic policies are “restoring growth and prosperity” to America.
He joked that the administration had failed to keep its promise to repeal two federal regulations for every one it adopted. The punch line was his claim that instead, “We have repealed 22 federal regulations for every new federal regulation they’ve put on the books.”
He praised Trump for “withdrawing the United State from the job-killing Paris climate agreement.”
He called the administration’s one big legislative achievement “the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history,” and credited such policies with the creation of “3 million new jobs including 22,000 in the Twin Cities area alone.” He projected that when all of the Trump tax cuts are fully phased in, workers will see “raises of more than 4,500 in Minnesota.”
‘Growth is back; confidence is back’
In summary, he said, “Growth is back; confidence is back; and under Donald trump, America is back.”
He bragged that “we also cut out the cornerstone of Obamacare,” which I gather was a reference to the “individual mandate.”
He mocked Nancy Pelosi for calling the tax cut benefits for middle- and lower-class Americans “crumbs.”
The real strength of this country is not found in the Capitol but “in the hearts and the faith and the work ethic of the American people.”
He saluted Minnesota, which he said “has long been and is today America’s “Star of the North.”
I gather he was referring to prayer when he said that “If you’re inclined, from time to time, to bend the head and bow the knee,” that that will only help the administration. And he closed with this promise:
“We will make America great again.”
The audience seemed to like the speech.