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GOP pulls out all the stops after the State of the Union

The GOP really pulled out the stops in its State of the Union response tonight. Not in the content of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s speech -- there’s hardly a chance that will make much of a difference. Rather, the most impressive features of the response were the visual cues the Republicans chose to use.

Not only did McDonnell speak in the Virginia statehouse, which he stressed at the top of his speech, and which sort of made it look like he was delivering his own little State of the Union. He also spoke in front of an audience of Americans hand-picked to appeal to the most exacting of tokenists. There was even a uniformed staff sergeant in the mix. Not quite the Joint Chiefs. But, of course, McDonnell is not quite president, and his speech was not quite Obama’s.

On PBS, David Brooks said that it was a lot better than an empty guy speaking alone in a room (see: Jindal, Bobby). That’s probably true. But I found the state house a little pretentious, a statement rendered oddly ambivalent by the addition of the campaign-style riser. Baby steps, I guess.

By Stephen Stromberg  | January 28, 2010; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

As a Virginian, I deeply resent this blatant, partisan use of our government property by the Republican Party.

I hope the GOP paid a proper amount for renting it. We are in a recession, you know!

Hey Gov McDonnell -- you used to be Attorney General before you quit early to run for higher office -- is what you did even legal?

Posted by: rebeccajm | January 28, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

As a Virginian, I am deeply grateful that our governor had a chance to voice his considered opinions to the nation, showcasing our buildings, history and legislature.

I am doubly grateful at the tempered, mature, non-accusatory, and measured tone of the speach and its articulation of our broadly understood citizen's rights/responsibilities vis a vis those of the Federal government. The Governor's speech was not partisan; it was an even-handed exposition of principle and a great but calm counterpart to the President. Everyone in America understood and identified with what he was saying. It was a great day for Virginia.

Posted by: wjc1va | January 28, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I hope the ghost of Nat Turner goes crazy on all you stupid Virginia tea-baggers!

Posted by: chasemonster | January 28, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

The Republican response was an inappropriate, tawdry piece of partisanship. Observe the stagecraft: a man at a podium in a legislative house; a second man and a woman sitting behind and looking over his shoulders; and a man in uniform to one side to whom he made a gracious, dignified gesture. It was crafted to mimic the State of the Union address we just heard. The State of the Union is a constitutional obligation of the President to report the state of the country to the Congress. It is tawdry and cheap for the opposition party to stage its own little theatrical version immediately following.

Posted by: MikeP2 | January 28, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Shields, On McDonnell...

"Ancestry Worship"

Regarding McDonnell's References to Thomas Jefferson.

Keep in mind Thomas Jefferson had All or Most of his Possession's Taken by State-Federal Governments and that left him Bitter as well as Resentful towards State and National Government.

Irony: The Big Bad Federal Government Saved Banks, Wall Street, AIG and American Auto Corporations The [Free Markets] Corporate Welfare is in Vogue.


In McDonnell's Eye's [Corporate Welfare] is [A-OK] Tax Payers should live with that, but [People's Welfare] should be Excluded, Not Permitted.

No Rescue Plans or Bailout Plans for Hard Working Americans Huh.

That's easy for McDonnell, he has a Job.

Ronald Wilson Reagan Bailed out [Saving's and Loan] and that Bill will not be Paid Off until [2013-2014] Reagan Bailed Out Medi-Care and Preserved Social Security [Entitlements] Yet McDonnell Omits these Facts.

Reagan also Wanted and Worked on Ending Nuclear Weapons, Reagan also Borrowed Both Nationally and Internationally and left the Bill for George H.W.Bush, who had to Raise Taxes and Lasted only 1 Term because of Tax Increases to Deal with Reagan's Debts.


Richard Milhous Nixon Wanted to Implement Universal Health Care For All, But McDonnell Omits this fact as well.


http://www.everydaycitizen.com/2009/09/ted_kennedy_richard_nixon_and.html


Richard Nixon and Universal Health Care
_______________

"Turning now to the rest of the agenda for 1974, the time is at hand this year to bring comprehensive, high quality health care within the reach of every American. I shall propose a sweeping new program that will assure comprehensive health insurance protection to millions of Americans who cannot now obtain it or afford it, with vastly improved protection against catastrophic illnesses."

(Richard Nixon, January 30, 1974)

I'm Tired of Republican's Politically Convenient Amnesia.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 28, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

The Republican respone is indicative of their approach to politics over the last 20 to 30 years and that is style over substance. The Governor's speech was in the words of William Shakespeare "Much Ado About Nothing". Please don't misunderstand I have a great affinity for Virginia, having lived there during my college years, and in many respects I consider my political views classically republican but I find the current crop of so-called national republican figures bankrupt in their ideas as well as their actions. The rebuttal was quite disappointing and another example of the lack of seriousness exhibitted by the national party to addressing the issues of the vast majority of Americans. No policy initiatives, no solutions for the counties current problems but more of the same talking points that klead to the election of the current occupant of the White House. Unitl they can articulate a positive agenda for to address, poverty, education, global warming, terrorism, unemployment etc. (other than giving corporations and the more weakthy of the population tax cuts) Independents like myself will hold them in contempt and no speech (by even a seemingly attractive govenor) will convince a great deal of Americans that they have our best interests at heart. The republican response was a waste of air time and an insult to the citizens. Shame on them!

Posted by: youngj1 | January 28, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Stromberg thinks that Gov. Bob McDonnell's choice of venue was "pretentious". Now perhaps Mr. Stromberg was equally appalled by all the Obama Campaign's use of fake Greek columns, fake presidential seals, and ultimately fake promises. If so then I must say Mr. Stromberg is even-handed in his criticisms of politicians.

For some reason, I'm guessing Mr. Stomberg bought into the Obama cult before the election. Perhaps I'm wrong but my money would go with a glassy eyed, "Yes We Can" Mr. Stomberg sitting at his desktop writing sweet nothings to his candidate, the awesomely awesome Messiah.

Posted by: Rschrim1 | January 28, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree with rebeccajm. The Republican response was a waste of time and a waste of Virginia's resources. I, too, hope that the Republican party has reimbursed Virginia for the use of its facilities. Had the Democrats pulled this stunt in a public building, the Republicans would be screaming bloody murder.

The whole set-up was staged and awkward. McDonnell looked like what he truly is - a creepy tele-evangelist. I expected a choir to start singing "Amen". The BLATANT staging of minorities and a military serviceman in the background was disgusting. That's great to pretend to serve minorities, but the Republicans have not done one thing to protect and serve those constituencies.

Eleven days in office and McDonnell has already cut funding for education in Northern Virginia by changing this year's ratio for dividing up education dollars by locality. The one year that Fairfax is hurting and needs to keep some of it's tax dollars, $116 million of Fairfax's taxes will go to other jurisdictions which do not need the money as desperately. Good thing he's "Northern Virginia's Own". What a scam! Like his mentor, Gilmore, he lied to get elected and Northern Virginia will continue to will suffer.

Posted by: hockeymom1 | January 28, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has moved embarrassingly far to the right, with that know-nothing Sarah Palin and the likes of the paranoid, gun-toting tea baggers who are so easily duped by their corporate masters and FOX News into thinking that the GOP really stands for the little guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Republicans need to subject matter experts instead of entertainers if they are to come up with real solutions.

Posted by: jsoles2001 | January 28, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Both parties would benefit greatly if they broke with tradition and took a full day to respond. They should give a speech based on the President's speech because they sound foolish when they blame him or scold him for doing or not doing things he's already addressed.

This specific speech wasn't too bad, except for a few things. The planted crowd was strange, but worse was his attempt to say that an unregulated economy is the answer to the recession. The unregulated economy created the recession. The Tea Party is hopefully smart enough to realize that when they start a populist movement and yell at the banks, they should yell just as loud to regulate the banks. I doubt that will happen though.

Posted by: pathfinder12 | January 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

If that is the best The Elephant party has to offer, they all need to find a brand new zoo....The audience in that chamber must have been smoking some of Virginias' finest.~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by: RockStorm_Radio | January 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The GOP follow-up was weak simply because it was so predictable, with the same tired rhetoric. This is your Governor. Good luck Virginia.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 28, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I didn't watch it. I was feeling pretty good long about 10:15 and didn't want to risk being exasperated by a parade of lies. So, did the teabaggerws show up? Did they have anything in their mouths?

Posted by: binkynh | January 28, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Why was there a person in uniform? Applauding? Where were his superior officers? I thought it was made clear with LtGen Boyenton (sp?) that uniforms and politics are not supposed to mix.

Before the mouth breathers point out that the Joint Chiefs were there:

He's their Commander in Chief.
They are there to listen
They (and the Supreme Court) are required to sit on their hands.

Posted by: RMarigny | January 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I had no objections to McDonnell giving this rebuttal in the Virgina statehouse. But, I do object to having a audience that was completely unrepresentative of America. I am not talking about all of those fake tokens of blacks, veterans, women and Hispanics. I am objecting to the fact that they were all ideologically uniform. These were conservative republicans reacting to typical, repetitive conservative talking points.

Not just that either. The points McDonnell made were so overgeneralized I have no idea what he was proposing the federal government do. I mean, come on! The proper constitutional role of limited government? What the hell does that mean? It could mean balanced budgets--a fiscal impossibility in the federal government. Or it could mean a complete repeal of the social safety net Americans rely on.

Conservatives just love to talk in silly, oversimplified, difficult to pin down phrases like this. It gets them off the hook for explaining what they would actually do when elected.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Ah..all these negative comments about McDonnell.....all the while your empty suit president still is ignorant and arrogant to the needs of the people and those policies that we do not want .ah...he is leading your party off a cliff - most dem house members get it - most dem senators get it...the people of VA-NJ-MA get it...but unsurprisingly so - Obama - Reid - Pelosi do not...the 3 stooges..ah - it will be a bloodbath come November. A clear repudiation of BO's Sail Alinsky's leftist agenda.

Posted by: short1 | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

How much did the Republican response to the State of the Union address cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Posted by: blpeyton | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Why do we even need a republican response to the president? Aren't both of these parties supposed to be working together for the good of the country?

I agree with President Obama. It's just been one election cycle after the other with no one bothering to do anything but get re-elected once they are in office. Our political system is a sham. You need only look at the repubs during the SOTU. Opposing everything, looking for new talking points, and doing their best to make sure this country stays in the toilet. The people on the right like short1 are already talking about the elections in November. As if it's all just a game.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | January 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Why do we even need a republican response to the president? Aren't both of these parties supposed to be working together for the good of the country?

I agree with President Obama. It's just been one election cycle after the other with no one bothering to do anything but get re-elected once they are in office. Our political system is a sham. You need only look at the repubs during the SOTU. Opposing everything, looking for new talking points, and doing their best to make sure this country stays in the toilet. The people on the right like short1 are already talking about the elections in November. As if it's all just a game.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | January 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse
==============================
===============================
Williams14 - you underestimate my post. I long for the elections so as to send these Alinsky type government reps over the cliff. The people have spoken - but Barack refuses to listen. The people have clearly repudiated his agenda by a majority - yet he feels that we just dont hear what he is saying? Arrogance...you tell me. Once again the elitist.
And what of GW's year - Oh those dems were lock step in line I'm certain. I also seem to recall them sitting on their hands.
Sorry - I do not want Big Government...they are the problem we are in this mess...period. The more they intervene - the worse the problem gets.
His healthcare bill - do you really want that 2000 pg debacle - where he had to bribe senators and union thugs..at the expense of the other states or other working non-union people? If it were so good - it should have stood on its merits. Are you really in favor of trying terrorists on civilian court that will become a dog and pony show? Are you in favor of expanded out of control government?

Posted by: short1 | January 28, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

How much did the Republican response to the State of the Union address cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Posted by: blpeyton | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

==========================

About .00000000000000000000000001 percent to have that empty suit speak from washington.

Posted by: short1 | January 28, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

As a Virginian, I deeply resent this blatant, partisan use of our government property by the Republican Party.
Posted by: rebeccajm
____
Does that mean as an American I can resent the blatant, partisan use of our government property by the Democratic party for Obama's speech???

I hope the GOP paid a proper amount for renting it. We are in a recession, you know!
Posted by: rebeccajm
_____
Did Obama have to pay to rent his???

Hey Gov McDonnell -- you used to be Attorney General before you quit early to run for higher office -- is what you did even legal?
Posted by: rebeccajm
_____
Yes it is... But why don't you call a cop and see how far you get with that?

Posted by: sovine08 | January 28, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives just love to talk in silly, oversimplified, difficult to pin down phrases like this. It gets them off the hook for explaining what they would actually do when elected.
Posted by: jaxas70
____
Yeah right and Obama was specific??? Besides unlike Obama McDonnell was only allowed 15 minutes.. not a great deal of time to explain exactly what Repubs would do if elected. Even so he did give a short lists of differences.. talking about drilling off shore, tort reform to lower medical costs and not giving terrorists the same rights as US citizens. Now you can disagree with this but these are courses of action and not just oversimplified phrases.

Posted by: sovine08 | January 28, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Why do we even need a republican response to the president? Aren't both of these parties supposed to be working together for the good of the country?
Posted by: wmwilliams14
____
Wow you make it sound like this was the first time the other party got to respond.. Were you writing this post all the years the Democrats responded to Bush???

Posted by: sovine08 | January 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

At least McDonnell is a step up from Jindal, whose creepy smile and stiff manner made him look like a psychotic Barney Fife.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | January 28, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

There they go again, the Decepticons are attacking Obamus Prime. Good thing the religious right wingnuts did not take over, I could have be killed for using St. Ronnie's words like using Allah in Indonesia. McDonnell gave a decent speech, without attacking, although everything appeared to be Obama lite. The venue, the people, even a good part of the speech using Obama's education, offshore drilling, tax cuts for small business, improving transportation and people will make it happen. Having it in the Capitol Bldg. was a little economic bump for VA, with some nice coin spent. McDonnell has learned the Hoffman lesson and taken 2 steps to the left for everyone's benefit. He still has major budget problems that will have to be addressed. Alaskan type royalties to the state would greatly help, so I wonder where the GOP will go with the Democratic congress.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 28, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Perfect. The Republicans, the majority party of the Confederate States of America, used the capitol of the Confederacy to make their "state of disunion" message. One of history's greatest ironies is that the party whose rise triggered secession and treason is now the party of the secessionists and traitors. The Republican Party fulfilled its purpose long ago by conquering Virgina and burning Richmond to the ground. The relic party mis-branded as Republican should disappear and the sooner the better.

Posted by: mnjam | January 28, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Bob McDonnell and his Republican Party are empty suits. Same tired rhetoric. Interesting that today in the General Assembly, Republicans are once again harrassing women over Roe.v.Wade and have passed a bill allowing car dealers to pawn off cars to consumers that have been in floods or other circumstances that make them lemons without liability to the dealer. They are also hard at work making it easier for gun owners to bring guns into more public places. Haven't seen any legislation to fix our crumbling infrastructure. Fund educatation. Nothing for public transportation in south eastern Virginia. Plantation mentality and business friendly legislation. Slave owning, Indian murdering, misogynists is all this place will ever be about.

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | January 28, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Didn't watch McConnell, but didn't have to . Same old same old. Republican supporters here say Obama spoke in generalities, yet I heard him say most things specifically. Specifically, he said the bailed out banks owe us our money, US corporations should not get tax breaks for taking jobs from us and shipping them overseas, and Wall St shouldn't be handing out multi-million dollar bonuses with our money. What I saw are all the congressional republicans sitting on their hands, siding with the banks and corporations over the American people. Did you know that not one Senate republican offered a health care reform bill? Not one would push a gop plan to help Americans save on their health insurance. So forgive me for not getting all choked up by more gop lies to the American people about how the republicans care about us.

Posted by: mikel7 | January 28, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell's conservative boilerplate comments re: the underwear bomber were pure fabrication. The accused "terrist" sang like a bird AFTER being read his rights and that intelligence proved invaluable relating to Yemeni/Al-Qaeda operations.

Posted by: IceNiner | January 28, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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