Early Returns

Secret Proposals and Missed Opportunities

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Julia Azari at Vox on Donald Trump's speech to Congress and rhetoric in a democracy.

2. State of the Union maven James Fallows on Trump's speech.

3. One of the points Fallows makes is that these speeches tend to be scrubbed of whoppers -- it's not that presidents always tell the truth, but procedures are in place to take out false statements and are usually, if not always, followed. Not so for this one. A good example? Trump's claims about progress on NATO funding. Bloomberg's  Toluse Olorunnipa and Justin Sink have the story.

4. Matt Yglesias was also good on Trump's speech

5. Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post suggests that if we're going to have pundits do theater criticism of this kind of speech, the pundits should learn from real critics. I have more modest hopes: I think theater criticism of political events is just fine in principle, but it needs to be separate from political analysis. A good show doesn't necessarily make for good electoral politics or good governing.

6. Yes, it's pretty much nuts for Republicans to keep their latest health-care-reform proposal secret. But that's what they're doing, at least for now, as the Washington Examiner's Susan Ferrechio reports. 

7. Oh: not just secret, but they're also considering moving it through committee without getting it scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Bloomberg's Billy House and Arit John have that part of the story. Note that it's perfectly normal to tweak a bill to get a better score (whether the goal is an overall spending number or how it would affect the deficit). This would be: not normal. 

8. Sarah Posner at the Plum Line on the Trump administration and Islam

9. And one from me: I took to Twitter to discuss what State of the Union speeches (or this week's equivalent) are really for, and why Trump missed an opportunity.

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