Colby Cosh writes:
It seems the accepted take on Donald Trump’s inaugural address is that it was inept, foolish blather. Well, I have to say I find this completely laughable, not because it is not objectively true or false; it is just the astonishing speed with which everyone became a connoisseur of inaugural speeches as if they were the wines of the Rhône valley. What was the last inaugural that was even slightly memorable?
Trump’s speech was short and written in plain English: this might arguably do as a close approximation to “okay,” especially as regards the “short” part. If it was magniloquent drivel, well, that’s how American politicians talk; they are all constantly straining to imitate Kennedy, but without anything like Kennedy’s writing team, or anything like Kennedy’s education in the broad sense of that word, which was so unlike anything available today that we seem to belong to a different species.
About that particular Trump technique I have nothing new to say. When Trump’s voters see journalists and historians bristling at the phrase “America first” they ask themselves “What part of ‘America first’ don’t you like?” America should come first for American government and in American policies. Squawking about how the phrase “America first” has negative historical associations (which are themselves overblown) is bound to sound like an excuse or a psychological defence, especially if you do not actually support meaningful national borders.