Political Animal


February 12, 2013 10:11 AM Two, Three, Many SOTU Responses

By Ed Kilgore

Well, it appears Republicans won’t have any dearth of responses to tonight’s State of the Union Address. There’s the Official Response by Marco Rubio, which will apparently utilize Real Live Anecdotes of how Government Does Bad Things to Middle-Class Families. And precisely because it won’t include anything new or relevant to the current debates in Washington, Rubio’s speech will likely be hailed in both conservative and mainstream media as a Breath of Fresh Air from a Fresh New Face in National Politics, blah blah bark bark woof woof.

If Rubio is already slotted for the Fresh Air stereotype, another not-so-new-voice will be on hand to offer the stalest air imaginable: paleo-rocker Ted Nugent will be lurking around the congressional press gallery as the guest of Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), gibbering and capering for the cameras with his delightful blend of Obama-hatred and crude libertarianism.

And then there’s Sen. Rand Paul, who will offer the third annual “Tea Party Response” to the SOTU, sponsored by the Tea Party Express organization, which this time around is not being televised at all but will be web-cast at Erick Erickson’s RedState. Paul does not receive the automatic media adulation Rubio is getting these days, but he’s doing his best to telegraph his every utterance—including a banal national security speech at the Heritage Foundation earlier this month—as Big and Historic.

So take your pick, or get masochistic and pay attention to all three, along with whatever previously obscure Republican solon comes up with a memorable epithet aimed at the president.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 12, 2013 10:36 AM:

    Ted Nugent!

    Jayzoos, when you listen to him, it makes it seem like all of those anti-drug ads back in the day were right, and "this... *sizzle-sizzle*... is your mind on drugs..."

    They should give Ted Nugent his own response time - solo.

    Because, how appropriate would it be, after the Presidents State of the Union address, to have some racist has-been 3rd-rate Rock & Roller, who proudly displays the Stars and Bars, give his Anti-Union speech?

    Ted Nugent:
    The face of the modern GOP!
    Old, stupid, ignorant, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic - and quite full of himself!!!

  • Kathryn on February 12, 2013 10:37 AM:

    So Marco is giving us anecdotes of how the government fails families, really. What a fresh approach. I just love the optimism. Would someone please explain to me how that could be perceived as a breath of fresh air, or a new message for the GOP, though I don't doubt it will be hailed as near revolutionary? Frankly, I don't think there should be a response to the SOTU regardless of the party of the president, sick of tit for tat.

  • Josef K on February 12, 2013 10:42 AM:

    There was a scene from "The West Wing" (no idea which season or episode) where the Chief of Staff states "The President could hand Congress a copy of the 'The Wall Street Journal' and say that's the State of the Union." I believe it was also tradition up to Woodrow Wilson to have a clerk read the SOTU speech to the joint session.

    Honestly, either of those would be preferable to what's coming. Not that I don't think it'll be a great speech, but if it involves subjecting us to "responses" from Rubio, Paul and (gods forgive and damn us) Nugent? There's but so much one's mind can stand before it cracks.

  • g on February 12, 2013 10:46 AM:

    It's a three-ring circus!

    All they need are the sideshow tents on the Midway, with Victoria Jackson biting the heads off chickens, and Donald Trump pretending to be the strong man.

  • martin on February 12, 2013 10:56 AM:

    I think Terry Gross might object to your characterization of Rubio as a "Fresh Air stereotype." ;>

  • MR Bill on February 12, 2013 11:33 AM:

    May I suggest, given his past statements and propensity for pulling the most remarkable stuff from his ass, Mr. Nugent need a body cavity search before entering the House Chamber.

  • K in VA on February 12, 2013 11:51 AM:

    I will simply ask my cat what she has to say about Obama's speech. I expect the response will be more intelligent than anything out of the mouth of Messrs. Rubio, Paul, et al.

  • mmm on February 12, 2013 11:52 AM:

    I wish a few media sources were strong enough, committed enough, to have some standards and stop accommodating them. It is enough to give opinions and reactions to SOTU address in an interview, but not appropriate for a "formal response". These are immature, bitter people who demand a present at someone else's birthday party. One speech by the President is enough.

  • biggerbox on February 12, 2013 12:13 PM:

    Those GOP Congressmen, always so classy!

    Inviting a nutjob like Nugent, who's talked about shooting politicians, to an event where one of the other guests will be Gabby Giffords, the living (thanks only to massive medical intervention and good luck) example of what that really means.

    Real tasteful, guys.

  • hells littlest angel on February 12, 2013 12:22 PM:

    The Republicans have tried to get beyond being the Stupid Party only to end up being the Beyond Stupid Party.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 12, 2013 12:24 PM:

    seconding mmm @ 11:52

    It's as though ever since the arrival of Sarah Palin, the GOP just loves to draw undue attention to themselves, all while saying absolutely nothing. If there ever were such a thing as dignity in politics, the GOP yahoos have done much to blow it out of existence. Aren't there rules of decorum for holding public office? There should be...

    At least when the uber-liberals get stupid, you can blame it on their narcissistic, navel-gazing youth. What exactly are these old bastards' excuses??? Not enough fiber?

  • schtick on February 12, 2013 1:35 PM:


    You forgot pants filling draft dodger. Full of himself? He's full of it for sure. I can tell by the smell he has never been well.

  • MuddyLee on February 12, 2013 3:45 PM:

    Re Ted Nugent: somebody tell Bobby Jindal that at least some Republicans want more of the "stupid party", not less. Will Nugent get some camera time? Will he stand up and yell "you lie" like Joe Wilson of SC did a couple of years ago? Will he give the viewers a Journey to the Center of His Mind? If you were a teenager in the sixties, you might have had a copy of that record by the Amboy Dukes. Maybe one of the Democrats should have invited the Youngbloods (Get Together) or Canned Heat (Let's Work Together). If we gave Texas to the conservatives would they create their libertarian paradise there and leave the rest of us alone?

  • JC on February 12, 2013 6:03 PM:

    how does nugent pass the secret service screening after he threatened the President last year? my bet is the White House is more than happy to have him sucking up all that media attention. after all, when your adversaries are determined to look stupid, why get in the way?