A union is broken with a Senate surrender
WASHINGTON - "The state of the union is fractured, and the reason is all me, folks. I made it my job to tear America in two and did it better than anybody, better than Lincoln."
That's what we won't hear when President Donald Trump delivers the annual State of the Union speech to the assembled Congress, Cabinet, Pentagon brass, chief justice and others.
Tuesday's ritual is a Washington scene in full dress, sure to give Trump psychic healing from his impeachment trial vote, set for Wednesday afternoon. As a guest in the House of Representatives, will he taunt the Democratic House with the Republican Senate's forthcoming acquittal? Will he poke fun at the Iowa caucuses?
After the trial, then begins "Trump Uncaged," the show up next till the end of his time: venom, threats, savage mockery, bigotry -- un-American stuff. Or so we thought.
Let me, as a witness to the impeachment drama, offer my State of the Union in advance of the president's crowing narrative. Remember, he's completely unconstrained now.
The real rub is that the president is changing us Americans, giving light to a dark crevice in our character. He embodies -- and emboldens -- baleful defiance. The great presidents, like cheerful, sunny Franklin D. Roosevelt, bring out the best in us.
America has not changed Trump -- "perfect" while pressing Ukraine to interfere in our elections, he said. His brand of fury has spread like fever to half the body politic. That's all he needs to win.
"Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. ... They want to destroy our country as we know it," Trump declared.
It's no secret Trump hates challenges to his authority. He can't even handle limits, such as global treaties with allies or criticism from courageous Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Oddly, the height of white male privilege always sounds aggrieved, like a victim. Trump also lashes out at the top echelon of his government: generals, ambassadors, Cabinet officials, the intelligence community. No president in civil society has openly insulted individuals and institutions in such a way before.