Speaking of the State of the Union "Republican response" . . .
Plus: Borowitz Report -- Americans are, er, inspired
A star is born? As you read this, Iowa's plucky farmgirl may already be the new Booby Jindal!
"People only remember the response to the State of the Union when it goes badly. (It's kind of like NFL refereeing -- memorable only in its poor execution.) Like it did for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who displayed about as much charisma as Steve Urkel when he delivered the response in 2009."
-- the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson, in
"Why the State of the Union response is always so bad"
"Why the State of the Union response is always so bad"
In my earlier post not-quite-about last night's SOTU, I made reference to the GOP rebuttal by the new crackpot senator from Iowa, Joni What's-Her-Name, pressed into service after roughly two weeks in Washington following her vertiginous upward vault from the Iowa State Senate.
Presumably Senator Joni's getting the nod from her party is a sign that she's viewed as a rising star. And sure enough, here's Washington Post right-wing shill Ed Rogers telling us "Why Democrats are so frightened of Joni Ernst":
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has been in the Senate for only a few weeks, and while she has avoided the national spotlight so far, she is about to burst onto the scene via her designation as the Republican who will give the response to the president’s State of the Union address tonight. She hasn’t given her speech yet, but it is a given that the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media will not like what she has to say. And it is my guess that they will not like Ernst either. Predictably, she will quickly be marginalized as a right-winger — or worse — by the usual suspects on the left. But Ernst proved during the 2014 campaign that she is an articulate, thoughtful, capable leader.Uh, right, Ed. I realize I'm being utterly predictable, but while Joni did get elected, so did a lot of nutjobs in November; midterm elections are traditionally kind to right-wing hacks. But anyone who thinks she gave any indication of being "an articulate, thoughtful, capable leader" either wasn't paying attention or is nuttier than she is. (See, for example, Sabrina Siddiqui's November HuffPost Politics post "Here Are Some Things That Soon-To-Be Iowa Senator Joni Ernst Actually Said.")
Meanwhile, it's worth considering the notion of the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson, in a piece called "Why the State of the Union response is always so bad," that the SOTU response, far from being the "honor" it's usually cracked up to be -- "it has been framed by party leaders and pundits as a path to stardom" -- is in fact "a thankless task." Why?
People only remember the response to the State of the Union when it goes badly. (It's kind of like NFL refereeing -- memorable only in its poor execution.) Like it did for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who displayed about as much charisma as Steve Urkel when he delivered the response in 2009. And of course Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had his bottled water moment. (Rubio's internal thought process: "If I maintain eye contact with the camera, then maybe nobody will notice that I'm about to grab this tiny bottle of water and take a tiny sip").Now it should be kept in mind that both Nia-Malika and I are writing without benefit of hearing Senator Joni's speech. (I watched the much-heralded Booby Jindal's legendary droolfest and have since stuck to a policy of "Never again!") And note that Nia-Malika isn't saying that Senator Joni doesn't have a big future, just that it's not likely to be sprung from her SOTU response.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), did "well" only because she got all the words out. Nobody remembers what she said. But she did maintain eye contact. Job, done. But it's that very stilted format that makes these responses so downright weird and hard to master.
Both the State of the Union speech and the response to it are made-for-television events. President Obama will shake hands on his way to the lectern, somebody will maybe tell a joke, tell him to come visit their state. He will speak, people will cheer or not. It's fancy and familial at the same time. And most of all it's political theater that works very well on television. (Or an Ipad/Kindle/phone).
The SOTU response is also supposed to be political theater. But it comes after what is typically a long (hour plus) speech and well past 10 pm on the East Coast. So, no one pays much attention to start.
Then there is the speech itself. If Ernst's address is like what we've seen before, she will sit in front of a camera for 1o straight minutes and talk. Ten minutes of talking. What we know for sure is that this will be boring. It can't help but be anything else. There probably won't be an audience. And if not, that means the frisson of applause or boos will also be absent. No laughter at a funny aside. No partisan-based sitting or standing. Just a person, who will sit or stand, look into a camera and say words, probably tossing in a reference to hogs. For 10 straight minutes. When most people in the east are either in bed or on their way there. This is not a good gig. . . .
But after all, who knows? It's possible that as you read this the senator is the toast of D.C.! Stranger things have happened. Just not often in connection with the SOTU response.
BREAKING NEWS: THE BOROWITZ REPORT
SEZ YOU COULD DO THIS, COULDN'T YOU?
And then Ed Rogers could explain why the Dems are fraidy-scared of you!
TODAY 10:00 AM
Poll: Majority of Americans Now Believe That They Could Be Senators
by Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In a poll taken on Tuesday night, a wide majority of Americans said that they now believe that they could be elected to the United States Senate.
The results reflected a renewed sense of the inclusiveness of the American political system, as those surveyed said that they believed that anyone could serve in the Senate regardless of intelligence, the ability to speak, or any other qualifications whatsoever.
While those responses indicated that, as of Tuesday night, at least, Americans were energized about the possibility of their future careers in Washington, other results were not so encouraging.
Nineteen per cent of those surveyed said that they could not respond to the poll questions because they were still in a state of shock, while fourteen per cent agreed with the statement “WTF???”