The opposition party has been giving a “response” to the State of the Union speech (that they have no foreknowledge of and therefore can’t respond to) ever since Republicans began the asinine practice in 1966. It’s arrogant, juvenile, and self destructive. Most politicians are damaged by it and yet it’s still done every year by both parties.
This year is no exception, and if ever there was plain evidence that the Republican Party is suffering from an identity and policy crisis, this is it. The Republican Party will have no fewer than three responses to the address next week. The official televised response will come from Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), vice chair of the House Republican Conference.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) will give the Tea Party response, probably only available online. CNN aired one of these once but nobody else did, not even Fox News. Lee was a leading advocate of the government shutdown. And Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) will give his own personal response that’ll be uploaded to YouTube because he’s running for President, which is even worse than what Lee and Rodgers are doing.
At least Lee and Rodgers are presenting an alternate policy agenda for the country, Rand Paul is just whoring for attention to increase his long shot odds at 2016.
There’s little need to criticize anything in any of these coming speeches (there’s little need to criticize the SOTU, too). The mere fact that there’s going to be three different agendas alone is criticism enough of a party that has no idea what it wants for the future.
Here’s the last four people to give the GOP response:
Bob McDonnell (2010)
Former Virgina Governor just indicted for corruption.
Paul Ryan (2011)
Ran for GOP presidential nomination in 2012, lost primary. Ran as VP in 2012, lost general election. Upset his right flank by making a budget deal with Democrats to avoid another shutdown.
Mitch Daniels (2012)
Left politics entirely in 2012.
Marco Rubio (2013)
To be determined. Raised his profile fighting for immigration reform in the Senate before turning against it, and then vanished from the leadership stage.