I don’t expect the State of the Union and the opposite-party response to it to have much in common.
So when they do make one of the same points, it’s probably something worth thinking about.
What President Barack Obama and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley agreed on wasn’t a matter of policy. It was a matter of what kind of leader we should have next.
Neither advocated who should take office. And neither, by name, said who shouldn’t.
But the message was clear: It shouldn’t be Donald Trump.
Obama spoke of the necessity to “reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.”
That’s not about political correctness, he said, but about not helping enemy recruitment efforts. It’s far from the first time someone has pointed out that alienating and isolating Muslims is beneficial to extremist groups like ISIS.
But Trump — apparently not appreciating the danger of assisting extremist recruitment — has proposed a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Haley commented indirectly, but clearly, on Trump’s brash approach to campaigning and politics.
"Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true,” she said. “Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”
And, at a different point in the speech: “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”
Now, who might have the loudest, angriest voice?
Haley later confirmed that she was referring to Trump, as well as the general unhelpfulness of politicians not listening to each other and not attempting to compromise.
“Yes, I am angry,” Trump said during Thursday night’s debate, listing problems he often does: health care, veteran treatment, illegal immigration.
But it’s not frustration with what Trump sees as the country’s failures that’s really the problem.
It’s how the frustration comes out: as that loud, angry voice from a guy who thinks he knows best and isn’t going to listen to anyone else.
It’s the lack of detailed plans, without which his “don’t worry, I’ll get it done” attitude is meaningless.
It’s his insulting, offensive nature that, while appreciated by supporters for its supposed “honesty,” just isn’t a personality that would be effective in international negotiations or any situation in which the country’s image and ability to cooperate matter.
In short, it’s that while Trump is a successful businessman, the methods he has used to accomplish that aren’t transferable to the White House.
Republican and Democrat leaders alike see that. And it’s of such concern to them that both parties brought it up on a night dedicated to the nation’s progress update.
We should all be so concerned, and make sure the next update isn’t given by the man they warned us about.