I‘ll try to be brief. I just finished listening to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech of his second term. Great as always, he seemed to hit on every topic, from ending America’s longest war (sounding at times like he was about to call for its conclusion by the end of this year, only to again disappointingly cite “the end of 2014″ as the target date), tackling Climate Change as a smart business move, to reigning in gun violence, and even spending several minutes on “voting reform”… an issue close to my heart that I wholly expected to fall by the wayside once the election was over. But the President brought it up in his victory speech last November and now again in the SotU, so I’m feeling hopeful that we could (at the very least) see a “voting reform” bill come before Congress sometime this year. Also of note, the President talked about the high cost of education and calling for funding for “universal preschool” to give all children a headstart. He talked about a balanced approach to reducing our deficit through both spending cuts and asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more in taxes. Then came “The Republican Response” presented this year by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who clearly was reading a pre-written “response” that criticized President Obama over and over again for things he never said (“he keeps blaming the previous administration” and “we can’t reduce our deficit by increased taxes alone”), knocking over strawman after strawman. At other times, saying he “disagreed” with the President only to make the exact same argument President Obama had just made ten minutes earlier (Rubio calling for increased education funding for young children.) One quickly got the feeling Senator Rubio didn’t even bother to listen to the President’s speech. I mean, how do you pre-write a speech, and then after having just heard the President call for the same things as you, not tailor your own speech as appropriate, then go on to criticize the President for not suggesting the very thing he just advocated for? Either you are being deliberately deceitful (hoping your listeners didn’t bother listening to the President’s speech either), or you didn’t even bother to listen to the speech you are about to criticize (or, third-choice, you’re a whopping moron.)
Each year, the GOP’s “response” has been given by someone that was considered at the time to be an “up & comer”, only to flame out in the months to come. Remember 2010′s “Governor Ultrasound” Bob McDonnell? 2011 was Paul Ryan’s big year, and 2012 was Indiana Governor (and former Bush economic adviser) Mitch Daniels. Does anyone forsee any of them being major players in tomorrows’ GOP? We can only hope for the same for Mr. Rubio.
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