SOTU POTPOURRI

Posted in Quick Hits on January 28th, 2014 by Ed

Obama's sixth State of the Union could be described charitably as "workmanlike"; he went out there and powered through it. There's not much left in his presidency in terms of originality or enthusiasm. This was strictly a Get It Done speech with the modest goal of trying to avoid making the last quarter of his presidency a total waste. That the speech was an exercise in going through the motions did not prevent the usual wingnut suspects from reacting as though Obama read directly from Das Kapital before closing by asking a little girl if she believes in God and then blowing her head off when she said yes. Slate has a decent collection of some of the worst tweets from the right – media figures and elected officials only – on Tuesday night, a collection that is sure to grow over the next 12 hours.

As for the follow-up from yesterday's post, it's very difficult to tell which of the three Republican/Tea Party responses was worse. The official response from Cathy McMorris-Rodgers appeared to be focused solely on answering the question, "Who the fuck is Cathy McMorris-Rogers?" It's a fair question. And once again, as with Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio, the response itself was undermined by bizarre staging and lighting. Why was she sitting on a couch? Why was it so dark? Why did it look vaguely like a snuff film? It can't be that hard to figure this out – it's impossible to deliver a good address in an empty room. Give the response in a format identical to a press conference. Stand at a podium and read the speech to a small audience composed mostly of journalists. The GOP will never figure this out, though, since they are terrible at everything.

The other ongoing problem with the Republican responses is that they are written and delivered as though everyone in America is about 8 years old. Even if I agreed with her positions, I don't think I could have tolerated being spoken at in the way. The point gets made all the time, but if you compare a speech like this to a political address from the 1950s or 1960s, the difference in tone is stark. Political figures used to speak to the nation as though it was made up of adults. Now they not only treat us like children, but not particularly bright children at that.

As for vuffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/mike-lee-response-_n_4681658.html?utm_hp_ref=politics">the Mike Lee response, he challenged the Tea Party to actually be for something as opposed to merely opposing everything, which is entirely too reasonable a point for the Tea Party to be pleased with his performance. They'll probably turn their attention to finding a primary challenge for Lee. Because god knows that being "for" anything is completely alien to their political worldview.