A Tale of Too Many Responses

GOP leadership needs to get a grip on all the Republican State of the Union responders.

By Jan. 27, 20145 Comments SHARE


Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul addresses the audience at the 50th annual Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville, Ky.

A Public Policy Polling survey found only one in three Kentucky voters would want Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in the 2016 presidential race.

The Republicans just can’t get enough. More and more Lone Rangers are out there deciding that they will be in the klieg lights to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. 

The “official” responder, if that notion even still applies, will be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. She will get the network air-time immediately following the president’s address to a joint session of congress. Since the Republicans have a serious and continuing “women problem,” this probably makes sense. Better than Mike Huckabee, right?

But, not to be out-done, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, will be this year’s illustrious tea party responder. This will follow on the heels of Michele “looking at the wrong camera” Bachmann in 2011, Herman “the pizza man” Cain in 2012 and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul last year, who will stay in the limelight and give another response this year all on his own.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the tea party.]

And let’s not forget the pre-SOTU activities by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. He didn’t even want to wait for the speech to respond. Thus, a pre-emptive strike was his tactic du jour.

I get that political parties have trouble speaking with one voice, but this is ridiculous. Why put forth this collection of your worst spokespeople (I won’t pre-judge Rodgers) and muddle your message. I think this is called putting your worst foot forward.

The latest Washington Post poll shows that a miniscule 19 percent have confidence that Republicans will make the right decisions for the country. So my question is, why would Republican leadership allow this free-for-all?

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

To quote Republican Mark McKinnon from today’s New York Times:

“There is no clear leadership in the Republican Party right now, no clear direction or message, and no way to enforce discipline,” said Mark McKinnon, a veteran Republican strategist who has become an outspoken critic of his party. “And because there’s a vacuum, and no shortage of cameras, there are plenty of actors happy to audition.”

There you have it.