January 21, 2015
sotufuGosh remember way back in the good old days when we all had our own websites and we'd sit there and live-blog the State of the Union speech, all snark and glamor? Well those days may be long gone, but I did make a point to catch it last night, maybe out of nostalgia.
Clearly the biggest takeaway is encapsulated in this epic burn — the classic "I know, I won both of 'em" moment. The president did not go into this giant (meaningless?) media moment looking to signal compromise or weakness or contrition. If anything, he was flexing territorially, something along the lines, "You guys can talk about your Republican Congress all you want, but I still got this podium and I still got this office, and most of all, I got my veto."
Speaking of which, the other noteworthy thing I came away from these proceedings was that the GOP response to the SOTU, for the past six years, has been a spectacular showcase of just how venal and small-thinking and, ultimately, clumsy the GOP is. First of all, they have made a big show of bending over backwards to allow some non-white male up-n-comer to be the public face for the night, which is a ploy so transparent that it is an embarrassment to honest devious people everywhere. And, I don't know whether its nerves or bad luck or just a God with a sense of humor, but these speakers, in the one night they are allowed in front of the cameras, never fail to come off as anything but wooden and sometimes downright not-very-skilled-at-public-speaking. Marco Rubio nervously sipping water, Bobby Jindal doing his Nathan Thurm impression, Michele Bachmann (speaking for the Tea Party and not the GOP FWIW) strangely focusing at some point to the right of the camera. These are not oratorial high marks.
This time around the speaker, Joni Ernst, senator from Iowa, managed not to get her foot stuck in the mop bucket or anything, but the speech she bloodlessly read weirdly kept making continuing reference to the "Republican Congress," and once even went so far as to refer to (I'm paraphrasing) the American people choosing a Republican Congress.
OK. This is technically not untrue, even though it's clearly not how that works, duh. And maybe the instinct here is to diminish the presidency by attributing the entirety of the legislative branch of the U.S. government as unilaterally Republican, and therefore co-equal to the executive branch? But, between you and me, why on earth would you take credit for an entity that polls in the low teens approval-wise, has accomplished nothing in four years, and will clearly accomplish nothing in the next two?
I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time?
But overall the president came out swinging, choosing to negotiate from strength and not weakness, and now the GOP has a whole lot of lookin'-busy to do before they are found to be all hat and no cattle.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:49 AM