Those are interesting questions, with answers that can, to some extent, be answered objectively.
Are you safer than you were eight years ago?
Answer: For most Americans, yes.
We looked at crime rates last week, when Donald Trump claimed that crime was "out of control." According to data from the FBI, the rates of murder and violent crime, which have been dropping for decades, continued falling past 2008.
This data ends at 2014, the most recent full year for which data is available. Preliminary data from 2015 suggests an increase in violent crime in the first half of last year, a trend that anecdotal data suggests may have continued into 2016. In order to match 2008 levels, though, we would need to see a 22 percent increase in violent crime rates and a 20 percent increase in the murder rate.
There are certainly examples of places -- some cities and some individual incidents -- where crime has gotten worse. Overall, though, the long-term trend that began in the 1990s continued after 2008.
That said, Americans still don't feel safe. Data from PRRI and Brookings makes clear that a majority of every group besides educated whites is worried about crime in the United States.
Americans may not feel safer, even though the data show that they are.
Is our military stronger?
Answer: If strength is measured by size, no.
Between 2008 and 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the total size of the military dropped from 1.4 million to 1.3 million, according to the Defense Department.
Part of this is a function of the cuts imposed under sequestration; part of it is the shift away from combat in the Middle East. But the 6 percent cuts -- most heavily from the Army -- means that the military is smaller than it was eight years ago.
Strength isn't necessarily only measured by the military's size, of course. There have been innovations that have made the military stronger which aren't accounted for in these numbers. But budget cuts mean that the most tangible aspect of military strength does show a decrease.
Is America still respected?
Answer: Yes. In fact, it is more respected.
Pew Global has asked people from countries around the world for years whether or not they view the United States favorably. Here is the change between 2008 and 2015. With rare exceptions -- including Russia -- the United States is viewed more favorably.
Some samples from that data:
Again, this may not jibe with perception. Americans who are predisposed to be skeptical of the administration of President Obama -- people like those to whom McCaul was speaking -- probably will set aside this bit of data and those above.
Politics is about perception, as we are constantly reminded. And so McCaul prompted energetic "No!"s, doing exactly what the Trump campaign would have hoped.