Here's a tip: one way to tell when a party is ready to govern what fancies itself a rich and powerful nation is to look for signs of infighting, disregard for leadership, and the absence of party discipline. Those are all good signs. Vote for that party and you can't go wrong.

The noted commie pinko rag Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on the Republican Party's inability to organize, of all things, a single coherent response to Tuesday evening's State of the Union Address. In addition to the official party response, the Tea Party (Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, even though the Tea Party is nonpartisan and totally not just an extreme wing of the GOP) and Rand Paul (just…on his own accord, I guess) will be giving responses. Then the official party strategy is to rush members of Congress out of the chamber and to "rapid response stations stocked with iPads" to encourage them to start Twittering and Facebooking and recording 6-second Vine videos.

On a tangential note, I still don't get Vine. Like, at all.

It's easy to point and laugh at John Boehner and other Republicans in "leadership" positions and call them ineffectual. So let's do that right now, shall we? Boehner and McConnell have the charisma of sea cucumbers and McConnell built his career on a tactic – threatening to withhold party financial support via the RSCC – that is no longer relevant now that every half-baked wingnut who wants to run can raise vast amounts of money from eccentric and wealthy donors. As the successive redistricting sessions make incumbents safer and safer, the ability of the leadership to do anything to rein in their members is rapidly approaching zero. So as much fun as it is to mock Mr. Boehner, he's probably doing the best he can. And Joe Cannon himself couldn't keep this mob of militiamen and sociopaths in line.

The amazing thing about this particular bit of disorganization is that giving the response to the SotU address is tantamount to political suicide in recent years. Nobody benefits from doing it. If you do well, no one will remember. The only thing you stand to achieve is failure that will haunt you forever (Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio). This is the sixth year of the Obama presidency. Even people who like him are weary of hearing the same speeches. And even what little audience sticks around until the end is unlikely to wait even longer to heard some D-list Republican give an awkward rebuttal in an empty room. There is everything to lose and nothing to gain, yet they're too full of themselves to realize that the leadership might be trying to stop them for their own good:

The response is a risky endeavor, often marred by inelegance and blunder. "There's never been a good one," said John Feehery, who was an aide to J. Dennis Hastert, a Republican and a former House speaker. "There's this element of getting too close to the sun. They think they're hot stuff, and their hot stuff gets melted in the glare of the lights. It's very risky."

It's a good indication of where the GOP has gone in the last decade-plus that its zealots from the Nineties now sound like the sober voice of reason in a chorus of barking hyenas. Best of luck tonight, Rand. I'm sure you're gonna do great!

24 thoughts on “BATTER UP”

  • Yeah, how about a Progressive response? It might at least help to dispel the notion that President Obama is some kind of socialist. Have Raul Grijalva or Alan Grayson give it.

    Frankly, I don't know why presidents even bother to give a SotU speech anymore, unless they think it will give them a bump in the polls. The Constitution requires the President to "inform" the congress as to the "State of the Union," but it doesn't require a big speech and certainly not a response by some dry-mouthed freshman senator.

  • Alan C: the same reason they wear a flag pin. Doing so means jack shit, but the failure to do so means they're not a Real Murrican.

  • @Slocum "Vine" is a cell phone app that allows you to record short videos and post them on Twitter, i.e. useless.

  • Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Kevin: i.e. useless.

    Unless, of course, you are of an age and disposition to flash your underwear or what's underneath to interested parties…

  • Middle Seaman says:

    We have two Republican parties and two Tea Parties. The party called Republican is so extreme to make Mussolini look serious and moderate. The other Republican party is the Democrats who support Wall Street, the banks and do almost nothing about unemployment.

    There is the Tea Party we all read about and then you have those reactionaries who call themselves progressives who think that everything bad in the US was caused by Bill Clinton and other Democrats.

    We are number 1.

  • The Republican party let itself be lost by the deranged and unhinged. However, that doesn't stop the Rill Murkkkuns from voting for them.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    You'd think that if Senator Ted Cruz-ader didn't want to preen and strut in front of a camera, the others in his party might realize that a response to the SotU can be risky.

  • Middle Seaman usually you seem a little pessimistic, not that being pessimistic is a bad thing. Have to give you credit that is a great description of our current situation. You may consider that stolen.

  • Sometimes folks can't help proving how dumb they are. This is one of those.
    CU has it on this one. It's a big hint if Ted ain't talking. Can't take a hint (?), don't deserve one.

  • The GOP has gotten masterful at appealing to Republican voters in Republican districts. That's part of what the dueling responses are all about: everyone get's something to like. They just can't figure out how to appeal to middle voters, and the national party is losing control of the messaging. Maybe there's a way to use that to convince DC bigwigs to do something about Citizens United. Maybe.

  • Meanwhile on NPR (Nice Polite Republicans) Morning Edition, we get to hear insightful analysis from "centrist" Cokie Roberts about how all is lost for Obama and how really, truly receptive Americans are to the GOP message.

  • Sock or Muffin? says:


    I love when very serious Cokie comes on and tells us, about any subject at all, 'How this is bad for Democrats'. See also; NPR/Fox very serious correspondent Mara Liasson.

  • I'd wait and even pay money to see just one Republican rebuttal where the rebutter comes out and just yells angrily at the camera "the black man spouts bullshit!"

    At least it would be a true reflection of the Republican view.

  • 'I'd wait and even pay money to see just one Republican rebuttal where the rebutter comes out and just yells angrily at the camera "the black man spouts bullshit!"'

    Rep. Joe Wilson came pretty close in President Obama's first SOTU as I recall.

  • Vine has potential as a medium for weird art. I'm more excited about Vine than any of these speeches.

    Rubio didn't embarrass himself that badly, which goes to show that anything short of an Obama-'04-style mic-dropper will register as a career death sentence.

  • I would say that McConnell's speech was fairly well-received. He even found a way around the "empty room" thing. His political demise was far too long after that and was despite it. But, yeah, the other guys have just been embarrassing themselves.

  • Can't wait. This is going to be a terrible year for the president. He will get nothing accomplished as usual. Not because of democrats in republican clothing , his own party will be critical of him. Ask Harry Reid

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