Republican SotU Response: Vote for Me because I Read the Bible and my All-American Sons Love Football – Bleh…


Part one of this post, on Obama’s State of the Union address, is here.

If Obama’s speech seemed tired and rather boring, I must say I found the Republican Response simply atrocious – Vote for me because my all-American sons love sports just like you! It was Palinism; i.e., decadent, late Bushism.

The Democrats cheering at just about every line was sycophantic and annoying. Just saying flim-flam like, ‘I want America to be the best at future technologies,’ got Obama mawkishly long applause, and after awhile it got really tiresome. Agreed.

But the GOP response was downright disastrous. Here the applause really was scripted as syncophantic. What is it with the GOP and her0-worship? Ech! They even hooted and ho-yahed for McDonnell. And did you catch the unbelievably ‘diverse’ cast of worshippers behind the governor –  a soldier, a black,a policeman, an Asian, an old woman? This is supposed to be the contemporary GOP? Of white protestant tea partiers in Virginia of all places? Good lord. I laughed out loud the first time they panned the backstop audience.

It all reminded me of the GOP 2004 convention, a) with its painfully overchoreographed image of diversity for a party whose voter base is overwhelmingly white, born-again protestant, and b) the hero-worship of W as just a regular good ole boy who rose to greatness by his wholesome American gut values. Only in Virginia, this guv made sure to tell us his beaming daughter served in Iraq, and his snappy young sons like Sportscenter. Hah! What unbelievably smarmy crap! Do Americans really fall that?

If you thought Bobby Jindal was bad last year, at least he didn’t ask his family to perform the family-values  swimsuit competition for the religious right: ‘the Scriptures say families and America are great, so vote for me!’

The riposte captured all the banality and policy bankruptcy of the current GOP. The US economy nearly melted down, and there is wide consensus that massive government intervention scarcely averted another Depression. Yet the GOP response told us only that government is going to stifle America. That’s it?! When corporate and private spending is down all over the place, and the only big source of demand in the economy right now is government? That is your answer? Government is the problem when the only reason unemployment isn’t worse is government? C’mon. How can I take this seriously as policy?

On foreign policy, McDonnell was just as bad. He could only complain that we mirandized Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. I take it to mean that we should torture the hell out of him or otherwise deny him any rights. When did torture become a litmus-test for status as a conservative?! Creepy

I was once again struck by the utter failure of the GOP to respond seriously to Obama’s election and the scope of the financial crisis. This is still the GOP of the W years. Governor McDonnell told us nothing we haven’t heard before, and he did it in the worst Rovian fashion – a highly controlled, hyper-scripted environment filled with sycophantic, awestruck faces, the shameless exploitation of his family, an even more shameless diversity ploy, Bible citations – excuse me, ‘Scripture,’ the recitation of same points again and again, now matter what the topic of discussion, and a bullying tough guy approach on foreign policy. They should have just let Palin do the response; she really believes W was one of America’s greatest presidents ever.

If Obama came across as exasperated or tired, McDonnell broadcasted unreconstructed Bushism. Stick with the former until the GOP can finally figure out how to move on.


Finally I must add one professorial, intellectual barb to the whole proceedings:  it was remarkably, staggeringly shallow at almost all times for anyone with a serious knowledge about or education in the big issues in American life. I spent 2-3 hours watching the State of the Union, the GOP response, and some of the punditry on CNN. I was amazed at how little genuine expertise, technical detail, or serious, apartisan/non-spin, cost-benefit analyses of policy choices were included. It was almost all just campaign spin (how will this or that play in the red states?; speaking of, will Maitlin and Carville please finally go away?!), agonizingly cheese-y anecdotes (tell the woman making brake fluid in Des Moines that America has lost its edge), inspirational vacuities (America’s promise for the future), and shameless partisan positioning (my daughter went to Iraq, and my handlers made sure to place a black and Asian behind me – look! don’t miss ‘em!).

What junk! I mean really. How unbelievably insulting. Can’t our public officials treat us as reflective, deliberative voters, instead of dupes who think you’re great because you quote the Bible? How gratingly, offensively shallow. Grrr. WE ARE NOT CHILDREN.

If you have any kind of serious education in politics and economics, this was 3 hours of your life wasted. You learned almost nothing serious about the coming year’s policy debates – other than unintended signals that the GOP is lost in time, Obama doesn’t know what to do with health care, and no one is serious about the deficit.

Most of my day is spent reading technical work in political science and economics, so I imagine this is why it seemed so jarringly childish and evasive of serious issues. But honestly, if you had read even a few articles in the Economist or Financial Times about US politics, you would have learned more. I could have given a better talk than any of those guys, and in less time. This is why we have the democratic legitimacy crisis Obama mentioned. If you treat the population like idiots, they become disaffected.

45 thoughts on “Republican SotU Response: Vote for Me because I Read the Bible and my All-American Sons Love Football – Bleh…

  1. Dr. Bob:

    Interesting read. Actually, I didn’t watch the speech, I was watching “Capricorn One” an old Sci-Fi flick. It was about NASA faking a Mars landing to the world. I did see some of it (SotU) here and there and what you wrote surprisingly seemed to jive with some of the readers’ comments on President Obama’s speech posted on the “Washington Post” online of all places. Your assesment of the speech must ring true, the speech wasn’t the lead story of the “Financial Times” this morning (it was top of the News Briefing in smaller print at the top left of the paper). I wrote this because the “FT” has giving President Obama a lot of main story coverage of late.

    When I worked in downtown DC, I once got stuck in traffic during the SotU. Pretty cool, to see all the Secret Service vehicles zooming around. Actually as you know, and you do, from living out here, that you see that sort of thing all the time.

    I was listening to ABC radio (Metro DC area) and they seemed to like McDonnell. Had a political science expert (I guess a professor of note-I don’t think a conservative) from one of the Universities critique his speech, said it was good. But he agreed with you on the theatrics. Your counterpart called it a “cringe moment” if I remember well.

    I didn’t watch McDonnell’s speech. Maybe he should just worry about being Governor. He ran a brilliant campaign against Creigh Deeds out here. He ran a non-religious, non-Tea Party campaign, and didn’t even mention the President, really. I listened to their debate and he out-did deeds by far. Even the wife of the founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television) campaigned for McDonnell (she was also featured on commercials endorsing him). She is an African American and not a conservative Republican. I am curious to hear that he was so robotic. If what you say is true, then he should stay away from any national ambitions.

    Back to the SotU. I am impressed by your objectivity. The “pay-as-you-go” is very interesting, they have been passing that around here for a while. It sounds good, but you know that will never happen. I don’t care who is in office.

    What do you think of the Senate backing Bernake for another term? All that huff and puff by Democrats and Republicans (to appease populism) and then they vote him back. Also, Dr. Bob, was there any talk of taxing the banks last night? Even George Soros has come out against that. Called it premature.

    I think that I will pay attention to DAVOS this year (actually going on right now). The “Financial Times” has some good write-ups on it. Check it out.


  2. Another fall out from last night’s SotU..I present Mr. Chris Matthews.

    From “Black Voices”:

    “Chris Matthews MSNBC: ‘I Forgot Obama Was Black for an Hour'”|main|dl1|link1|

    “A note to other liberals like Chris Matthews: Please stop saying that a post-racial America means that blackness disappears. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can personally say that I don’t want the beauty of blackness to go away. Instead, I would rather have blackness be respected.”

    -Boyce Watkins, PhD


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  4. McDonnell’s response looked like an infomercial. I thought he was going to saw a shoe in half with a ginsu knife. The hysterically enthusiastic and wildly diverse audience did not lend an air of authenticity. Who knew the GOP was so diverse? And why exclude the white separatists, southern successionists, birthers, sociopaths, and racists who make up such a large portion of the party?


  5. Are you saying that Massachusetts voters who elected Scott Browm are “white separatists, southern successionists, birthers, sociopaths, and racists”. Also the ones who elected Christie? And the ones who elected McDonnell? How can you make such sweeping generalizations?


    • I didn’t watch it, but I take your word for it. And as I stated, if McDonnell part-took in this charade it is a far cry from the campaign that he ran out here. He went up against the “Washington Post” and the entire Beltway Democratic organization and won. And to call the white people who voted for him racists is an insult. BTW, he is doing a great job as Governor thus far, he is all nuts and bolts economy and transportation. I am just questioning the generalization made. Also, it is not as if the Democrats are above identity politics. Just listen to Chris Matthews above and Harry Reid’s “Negro Dialect”. I can go on. If fact a high official of the Democrat party in Maryland, a white man, just stated played that politics to the max. I will not repeat what he openly stated.

      Anyway, in all, I agree with you. They were both useless, and why I watched “Capricorn One”. And you are right, “The Financial Times” and “The Economists” are two of the best. The FT is delivered to my door every morning (except Sunday, their Saturday edition is the weekend edition), I glance at it as I drive to work. If there are important US news I investigate further. I also have a subscription to “The Economist”, a great investment.

      Back to my point, I was not questioning your post, I was just questioning the generalization. I know many African Americans who think that white people are basically racists, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. Is that fair?


  6. Also, are the majority of the independets who voted for those Republican candidates: “white separatists, southern successionists, birthers, sociopaths, and racists”?


  7. Give me a break. Reread. I said if they wanted a diverse audience, they should include the 36 percent of Republucans who think Obama is Kenyan. Or the 24% who believe he wants the US to be defeated by terrorists. Or the 31% who think he hates white people. Or the 23% who want to secede from the United States (ie, who hate America).

    Show me where I said ALL or a majority of GOP voters believe this. Do you make up straw men because your don’t want to deal with the claim I actually made?


  8. 36 percent of Republicans who think Obama is Kenyan
    24% who believe he wants the US to be defeated by terrorists
    31% who think he hates white people
    23% who want to secede from the United States

    Based on what stats?

    I can give you Democrat stats on Bush W.

    There are many people who call themslves Republicans who have no IDEA what Goldwater stood for.

    Just as there are many Democrats who have no IDEA what JFK stood for.

    Thank you for your response.

    But try to keep the personal feelings out of the debate. No Saul Alinsky tactics: “Do you make up straw men because your don’t want to deal with the claim I actually made?”

    Where are the straw men that I have made, please give me examples?

    Lets keep it academic. If I make a mistake or a mis-judgement I will admit it. I would espect you and Dr. Bob to do the same. Right? Especially Dr. Bob since he is an Academic.


  9. Sorry, that was Julio above, for some reason my PC didn’t carry the name. Anyway, after looking at your stats, they seem reasonable although I have no independent verification.

    The the operative word should be “those who call themselves Republicans”. We can apply the same to the Democrat Party.

    Do keep your personal feeling out of it. That is juvenile. I know that Dr. Bob likes to inject personal feelings.


  10. Yes. But you never do that – inject personal feelings. Right? Heh.

    I already told you what mistake you made. You failed to read what I wrote in my OP, and then you failed to accurately read my response. It’s all right there, if you’re interested.

    Democrat Party? You really have drunk the koolaid. You’re even using the party-mandated derogations. I thought you were more independent minded.


  11. “Democrat Party? You really have drunk the koolaid. You’re even using the party-mandated derogations. I thought you were more independent minded.”

    You have some kind of stupid working in you.

    “Who knew the GOP was so diverse? And why exclude the white separatists, southern successionists, birthers, sociopaths, and racists who make up such a large portion of the party?”


  12. Good grief, you got your stats from the Daily Kos/Research 2000. The Daily Kos’ poll also stated that Scott Brown was going to loose Mass by a huge margin. You are talking about being independent then you use that as your source?! Are you really serious? Is this what you use to gauge politics? This is as partisan as it gets. That would be like me quoting Rush Limbaugh as a source.

    BTW, I never said that I was independent, I have stated before that I am center right and make no apologies for it, but I do have an open mind as I did give your stats the benefit of the doubt (at first). The more I thought about it I realized that I had come across information discrediting those stats by an independent source. If you would like, I can give you the link to that independent source.

    I am shocked that you would use the Daily Kos’ poll. But to each his own I guess. You might want to try researching their random sampling and the questions that were asked.


  13. Here is the source of your stats:


    The Daily Kos Republican Poll was conducted by Research 2000 from January 20 through January 31, 2010. A total of 2003 self identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers, nationally.

    The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 2% percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if the entire self identified Republican population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any demographic subgroup, such as for gender or region.

    DC, ME, VT, NY, MD, PA, CT, DE, MA, NH, RI, WV, NJ

    FL, NC, SC, AL, MS, GA, VA, TN, KY, LA, AR, TX

    IL, MN, MI, OH, WI, IA, MO, KS, IN, ND, SD, OK, NE

    NM, CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, MT, ID, UT, NV, AZ, WY, CO

    To begin, what is wrong with this? You might also be able to find a link between this fallacy and their Scott Brown Poll.


  14. Also I am sorry, next time I will write Democratic Party instead of Democrat Party. I will also never refer to the Republican Party as Repubs. I wonder if you will use stats from the Heritage Foundation or AEI next.

    You write about me drinking Koolaid when you use the Daily Kos for your politics?


  15. No, I’m using Research 2000. They are a respected polling firm hired by Daily Kos. And I actually never read Kos (way too predictable), but their poll was widely circulated (except apparently the places that you read, places that speak of the Democrat Party and so on). So, you’re making some unfounded assumptions.

    I’m having trouble detecting the methodological problem you never get around to actually naming. They polled 2000 self-identified Republicans, which is a huge sample, and they sampled every state in the Union plus DC. So…ya got me. What’s the problem again?

    And according to a January 17 R2000/Kos poll on Brown/Coakley, they had the race tied at 48/48. News to you?


  16. I apologize, I see that you did identify the methodological problem – self-identification! Oddly, self-identification is also regularly used by:

    * Gallup
    * Pew Research
    * ABC News
    * Ipsos
    * The Washington Post

    And probably others.


  17. ARMB you are so predictable. Actually you and your collaborator Dr. Bod. I throw a bone and both of you go running. Dr. Bob behind you of course.


    • In all sincerity, you are the biggest dick I have ever known. By the way, if you’re still emailing me you can remove me from your list. It’s been autorouted to the circular file for the past few weeks.


      • You like to insult other but can’t take it HAH! Don’t worry I have stopped including you on most of my stuff if you hadn’t noticed. I informed Dr. Bob about three weeks ago, I am sure that he showed you the email. If not ask him.

        You are the biggest crybaby that I have ever known. Funniest thing is that I agreed with what Dr. Bob wrote but had questions about your stats and you blew up, like always. Always about you.


      • “In all sincerity, you are the biggest dick I have ever known” Here we have it again. The Sal Alinski tactic in action. Start calling your political opponents names. You should join Code Pink!


  18. What diversity.

    “Our Polls can be seen on CNN’S “Inside Politics” and are also mentioned frequently in the National Journal’s “Political Hotline”, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor,”

    Reaseach 2000


  19. “Palin will be the 2012 GOP Nominee
    From the Website. I guess Tom and Dr. Bob agree.”

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