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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A DIVIDED MESSAGE



After President Obama's 2015 State of The Union, the Republicans were offered a chance to respond.

Senator Joni Ernst (IA, R) was tapped as the person to give the response.



It was obvious that her speech was prepared and had nothing to do with the address the president gave in the House chamber. In addition her ramblings were the same recycled talking points that Republicans ran on in 2014, but they have no backing in any reality.

So how is your party going to enact these proposals Senator Ernst?

(crickets)

The one thing that people will remember from that speech is bread bags.




But it wasn't just her that gave the opposition response to the president's address.

Representative Curt Clawson (FL-19, R) gave the Tea Party response.

Wait… I thought that the Tea Party was the Republican Party…

Well, never mind.

Anyways, Clawson is more known for mistaking U.S. officials for Indian officials during a hearing.


Clawson used his response to talk about playing on the Purdue basketball team and why it is important to teamwork in Washington. Yes, because the Republican Party has been great at demonstrating working with different people over the last six years.

Senator Rand Paul (KY, R), who is or isn't running for president, posted his response to his YouTube channel. Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26, R) delivered the Spanish language version of the Republican Response. His response con

The best was Senator Ted Cruz's (Denial TX, NUB R) response.


The Republican Response in the Obama Era has been interesting exercise. Starting with the first one in 2009 after President Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his long hallway walk followed by his speech.

In his speech Jindal cited that because the government failed in reacting to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 then therefore government fails at everything else. It should be noted that when Katrina struck Louisiana, Republicans were in control of both chambers of Congress and in the White House was George W. Bush, a Republican barely 7 months into his second term. If I remember correctly, it took nearly a week before the federal government took any response with recovery efforts.

Did the phrase "Heckuva job Brownie" ring a bell?

Governor Jindal was opposed to the stimulus and extending unemployment insurance because it will not stimulate the economy. The Louisiana governor was presenting stimulus checks in July 2009. In April 2010, Governor Jindal was begging for a government response to the BP Oil Spill. Once again, when a disaster strikes, everyone becomes a big government liberal.

Jindal tweeted this on Tuesday night.


He once said that Republicans should stop being the stupid party. It seems like he is not taking his own advice.

Then in 2010 after President Obama's first official State of The Union, then-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gave the Republican response. McDonnell had just won a term as Virginia governor and was looking like he was a rising star in the Republican Party.

At the start of 2015 McDonnell was sentenced to 2 years in a federal prison after being found guilty on 11 federal corruption charges. And to add further insult to injury, the Virginia State Bar announced that they will be suspending his law license effective on 29 January.

After Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Representative Paul Ryan (WI-1, R) was tapped to give the response. He was selected as Mitt Romney's running mate and… well, you know how that story goes. However, it was overshadowed by then-Representative Michele Bachmann's (MN-6, R) response as she failed to look into the camera.


In 2012, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was selected to deliver the opposing party's response heading into that year's presidential election. The tone of his response was panned as apocalyptic and I think scared some small children.


After President Obama addressed Congress as a newly re-elected president in 2013, Senator Marco Rubio (FL, R) was selected to give the response.


Rubio was mocked for that sip of water and it overshadowed his speech which was also widely panned.

This line in particular:

"Now does this mean there’s no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government’s role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can’t play its essential role when it ignores those limits."

That line of "keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life" rings hollow because before delivering the response Senator Rubio voted against the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization earlier in the day. Many Republicans voted against it because of language that included improved protections for LGBT persons, Native Americans, and undocumented individuals. The Daily Beast took Rubio to task because his party continues to ignore that these populations while President Obama in his past State of The Unions acknowledges that these people exists.


Oh and about Rubio and his family living in a middle class neighborhood. At the time of the speech, Rubio's "middle class neighborhood" home was on the market in West Miami for $675,000. Rubio and his wife bought the home for $550,000 in 2005.

Last year it was Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5, R) selected to give the response. She was selected to show that party is aware of women's issues despite that she voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. Though she says she believes in equal pay for equal work her voting record says otherwise.

And she may have stretched the truth a bit on a constituent losing their health care coverage.

This is not the sign of a coherent party let alone a united party. When you have at least five different Republicans giving opposition responses, that is not a good sign of having a clear concise message as the opposition party should be in making their case in why they should be in charge of governing. If everyone is giving a response, then is anyone really giving a response?

And I think this pretty much sums up the Republican Party responding to each of President Obama's congressional addresses.

Returning back to Governor Jindal's 2009 speech, Rachel Maddow gave her thoughts on his response.


After she collected her thoughts, she produced a more eloquent response.


Republicans may have control of Congress for the next two years but they clearly don't have control of the message on how they plan to govern.


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