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January 29, 2014 4:20 AM Responding to the President, 80s Style

By Seth Masket

Last night, after the President’s State of the Union address, Republicans offered not one, not two, but three separate responses. This raises the question: what should they look like? How do you rebut the President and woo potential supporters to your side? The opposition tends to be at a major disadvantage, at least in terms of visuals, although Skip Lupia offers some nice suggestions in this Monkey Cage post.

But for an idea of what a SOTU response speech could look like, check out this response from 1985, when then-Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas offered a multi-media presentation that highlighted what Democratic members of Congress and governors were doing across the country. The speech is backed by the 1980 Genesis song “Turn It On Again,” which is about a man who is so obsessed with television that he believes the images are real and the characters are his friends. Perhaps that was an extremely subtle dig at President Reagan, but I doubt it.

[Cross-posted at The Mischiefs of Faction]

Seth Masket is an associate professor of political science at the University of Denver.

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