Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 01/25/2011

The Republican SOTU reponse doesn't matter

By Adam Serwer

Tonight Republicans have drafted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) to offer the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union Address. As far as offering an ideological contrast to the president, Ryan is a strong choice -- there isn't an element of the social safety net he doesn't seem keen on privatizing.

Some Tea Party activists, though, want to show they're independent from the GOP as a whole, so they chose Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to offer a second response. Originally, Bachmann's response would only be available over the internet, but CNN has decided to carry it as well.

Steve Benen expresses the most immediate liberal concern with this arrangement -- namely that a second Republican response will allow Ryan to look more "centrist" than he actually is in comparison to Bachmann.

But I'm not sure how much real ideological daylight there is between Bachmann and Ryan, and the two appearances are as likely to muddle the conservative message as reinforce it. Bachmann is popular among conservatives, but her habit of making bizarre, outlandish statements makes her a poor spokesperson to people outside the conservative tent.

Ultimately I don't think this really changes much. Anyone who wanted to see Ryan's agenda as "centrist" will do so anyway, regardless of whether or not Bachmann's response will be broadcast. After tonight, talking about cutting spending will still be popular, while actually gutting the social safety net won't be. Neither the president's speech, nor Ryan or Bachman's response will change that. 

By Adam Serwer  | January 25, 2011; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Political media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Morning Plum
Next: GOP aides irked with CNN for airing Bachmann speech


The nation is sick of Obama trying to use "civil discourse" or "bipartisanship" as a weapon against the other side.


Clearly, if one is bipartisan, one can not then run around claiming that is a victory for one side. That is what Obama has done.

In this way, Obama has PREVENTED bipartisanship.


Same with "Civil Dicourse" If one is using that phrase to attack one side, or to escape blame for a smear campaign, it is NOT civil.

Quite clear.

One has to wonder if this is a RACIAL thing with Obama - tell them what they want to hear while doing the opposite.

It is cleart that Obama is ACTING OUT his anger over Jim Crow.

Amazingly, Obama's family were never slaves. And Obama really was not in this country until AFTER Jim Crow, and yet, Obama is resentful, and he appears to think that it is OK to lash out at whites.

This is a RACIAL thing.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

[Adam sobbed: "Ultimately I don't think this really changes much."]

Obviously, Obama can't change much after last year's "juvenile spectacle."

Recall, Obama publicly upbraided the Supreme Court during his SOTU speech for its Citizens United decision, claiming (incorrectly!) that it reversed “a century of law.”

Today, CBS wonders whether the Supremes will bother to show tonight. At least some of the Supremes will find other ways to keep themselves amused rather than participate in what Justice Antonin Scalia calls “a juvenile spectacle.”

I don't have a "Together We Thrive" T-shirt, so I don't participate in Obama pep rallies-- and neither should the Supremes. They’ve all got better things to do, even if that thing is taking an old toothbrush to the sliding shower door gunk; organising their sock drawer; or lining a bird cage with Adam's braindroppings.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 25, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

RainForestRising, read Adam's last sentence again. Talk about burying the lede. Headline should have read: "Obama's SOTU doesn't matter"

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst, I'm sure that Sotomayor and Kagen are going.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse


WHAT tonights speech will do is redefine the meaning of "center"

AND redefine the meaning of "socialist" so that a majority of Americans will call themselves "socialist" by Wednesday afternoon.



"What's government when words have to meaning?"

If Obama keeps going like this, he is going to ruin the insanity defense of the Arizona shooter.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Scalia will be too busy attending right wing fundraisers and Thomas too busy filing the last 5 years in taxes.

Considering Thomas interprets the law of the land he sure does have trouble with simple instructions.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 25, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

[clawrence12: "I'm sure that Sotomayor and Kagen are going"]

Anyone spot them wearing their "Together We Thrive" pep rally T-shirts today?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 25, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse


From the NYT:

"Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who has sometimes been the sole justice in attendance, has said he will be there again Tuesday night."

He, Ginsberg, Kagan and Sotomayor. Hopefully, Roberts and Kennedy stay away.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@Adam Nice thought provoking post with several very informative links. I enjoyed the link to Ezra's take.

Our apologies Adam for the blog cretins who somehow tried to figure a way to work "race" into this discussion.

@Greg Please hire Kevin so we can all get the psycho blocker. ;-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 25, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I suppose Alito is still scarred about last year and won't be attending. Bonner should just give Alito one of his hankies so when he tears up he can wipe them up b4 the camera catches him.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 25, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Pete Williams is reporting that SIX Justices will be attending, so that has to be Roberts and Kennedy:

No Supreme Court Justices attended in 2000 (Bill Clinton's final SOTU, especially since he was disbarred by the Supreme Court ; )

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thomas can't attend...he's too busy trying to think of ways to create another ruling like CU which will benefit his wife conflict of interest if you're an R...and of course if you're an R no need to even report how much your wife earned thanks to some of those favorable rulings.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 25, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington, I wouldn't use the word "scared" but rather "warm" (Alito is in Hawaii).

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, Professor Obamateur has forgotten the lesson from his embarrassing ignorance on the Citizens United decision last year.

That lesson should have been that the President should either wait to see the evidence (and the law) before bloviating on legal matters outside of his jurisdiction; or (better yet) keep his mouth shut altogether.

Valerie Jarrett tells George Stephanopoulos this morning(!) that Professor Obamateur thinks the Illinois appellate court got it wrong on Rahm's candidacy for Chicago mayor.

Why not just say that it’s a matter for the state of Illinois to determine? Why is that so difficult for this particular White House to manage?

Contrary to Leftist orthodoxy, the Obamateur doesn’t get a say in state politics. If Obama wants to engage at that level, he should never have left the Illinois legislature... I know-- too much to "hope" for.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 25, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"The Republican SOTU response doesn't matter"

This is true. What's also true is the State of The Union doesn't matter either. What does matter is the budget that is proposed by the President and what the Congress does with it. Everything else is just talk.

Also, response is misspelled in the title as "reponse".

Posted by: jnc4p | January 25, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Is Hillary in the country, or will she be tonight's Designated Survivor?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

All, it looks like saner GOP aides are angry about CNN's decision to air Bachmann's speech:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 25, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"The Republican SOTU reponse doesn't matter"

Neither does the SOTU speech itself. But, the media have to have SOMETHING to air...

Posted by: illogicbuster | January 25, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Examiner is reporting Shawn Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is tonight's designated survivor.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, Sec. Donovan was last year's Designated Survivor.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 25, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company