January 28, 2014

"Over the past five decades, the Out Party has tried solos, duos, men, women, men and women, press conferences, films and telethons..."

"... in generally unsuccessful attempts to match the presidential pageantry. The Republicans had 17 responders in 1968; the Democrats used to trot out 10 or 12 at a time in an attempt to match Reagan’s star power during the early 1980s."

Writes political biographer John Aloysius Farrell in a piece titled "The State of the Union Curse/Why responding to the president can be hazardous to your political career."

Do you even know who's doing the SOTU response this year?

It's Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Do you even know who she is? Do you think her diminuitiveness is appropriately augmented by having a second responder? That's what they're doing, those brilliant Republicans, who no, no, no are not having a war on women. There's a second SOTU response, from Senator Mike Lee — ostensibly on the theory that the Tea Party should have its own voice.

I sure hope America gets that, as opposed to thinking: Oh, there are the Republicans for you. They show you they actually have a woman, but then they bring out their real person, the pasty old white guy.

Don't tell me it would be wrong for people to take that message. The whole point of the SOTU response is messaging. Whatever message is received is the message. I'm tired of the explanations for all the poorly delivered messages from Republicans. They've got to improve their messaging.

Here's a big clue for you all: Don't Disrespect The Woman.

73 comments:

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Must it always be identity politics with you?

Sigh

A house divided . . .

campy said...

Maybe the problem is the media, not the message.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sigh."

No, sigh back at you. You have to figure out how to hear what the message sounds like to people who are not already inside your group.

Your sighing should be translated to mean: I'm so tired of trying to understand why other people find me so off-putting.

It's additionally off-putting that you don't even want to hear friendly advice about why this is so.

Prepare for President Clinton.

Fen said...

You have to figure out that women are going to vote with their lady parts.

Friendly advice: treat women as stupid children that will fall for another 4 years of identity politics.

Inga said...

Althouse, they can't hear any voices from outside their group because they prefer echo chambers, which tend to be loud and cacophonous. The few voices who do speak out get silenced. They refuse to listen to anything outside of their comfort zone, because...it's uncomfortable.

Donald Douglas said...

Of course I know who she is. She's smokin', lol. 'Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to Deliver Official Response to President Obama's State of the Union Address'.

John Lynch said...

Republicans shouldn't respond at all. Ignore the President. It would be more effective. And it would make Democrats really mad.

Larry J said...

If one woman does something wrong, is it permissible to call her on it or must all men forever be silent for fear of disrespecting a woman?

Identity politics is the obscession of assholes. You are an individual and should be evaluated on your actions as an individual. Identity politics is akin to the bigoted thoughts of a racist who believes the actions of one individual reflect on an entire race of people.

gerry said...

Does anyone really watch the SOTU? Especially with the great liar speaking?

Prepare for President Clinton.

...women are going to vote with their lady parts.

Apparently, even Althouse proves true to that.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


You have to figure out how to hear . . . Prepare for President Clinton

First off, I don't HAVE TO -- anything. I am neither your intellectual inferior, nor one of your captive students.

Secondly, President Clinton? LOL.

Maybe if there were not Fox News, the conservative blogosphere, and the Tea Party.

But thank god, there are. The traditional Fourth Estate has been deeply corrupted, but we have built parallel structures in time for this next go-round.

Tank said...

The Tea Party needs a separate response because the Republican Party does not represent those people, in fact, it considers them the enemy.

Most of Repub's = Dem Light.

Tank said...

What am I saying? I won't be watching any of them.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

It is stupid for men to talk about the 19th Amendment needing to be repealed.

Those who say such things are dumber than the women they are claiming are too stupid to vote.

MayBee said...

When Michele Bachmann did the second state of the union response, she was disrespected. Remember that? The Dems hounded a female politician for the way she looked (crazy eyes)

And when Marco Rubio - a Latino!- did the regular response, he was made fun of for drinking water.

So there's always a way to disparage the response and responders.

Inga said...

Seems as if Fox news, the conservative blogosphere and The Tea Party didn't keep Obama from being reelected, did it?

He who laughs last.....

NotquiteunBuckley said...

The way I see it men led me into 17 trillion dollars in debt.

I trust married women over men or single women to make the right votes.

Inga said...

Because she was Michelle Bachman, for pity sake. You admire fools like Palin and Bachman and ignore intelligent well spoken women like Rogers. That's part of your problem.

rhhardin said...

If women were interested in ideas maybe they wouldn't be such shithead voters.

A good Republican response.

Henry said...

Who even cares about the SOTU anymore? Rebutting the SOTU is like rebutting the Superbowl coin flip. It's not even that important. It's like rebutting a Coke commercial. "Shit, we're not Coke. We're fucking Pepsi."

Let's be clear about the identity politics. The issue is not about the takeaway by voters at home. No one at home is watching. The issue is about what the Republicans choose to give the news media choose to spin.

No one should do a rebuttal. Give them nothing. Take no part in the farce.

Frankly, no one should bother to attend, but for the spin that would provide to the President's media lackeys.

rhhardin said...

Willie Nelson said the next time he sees a beautiful woman he's just going to buy her a house and skip the relationship.

Inga said...

Oh but how wrong could you possibly be? People at home are watching, closely.

MayBee said...

Because she was Michelle Bachman, for pity sake. You admire fools like Palin and Bachman and ignore intelligent well spoken women like Rogers. That's part of your problem.

I don't admire Bachmann or Palin. And I've done nothing to indicate to you I am ignoring Rogers.

But you can't play identity politics and then carve out certain members of the group who don't belong in the group.

Either we have to see women as a special class, or we see them as individuals. You want it both ways, and Althouse is suggesting pandering to people who think like you. But as you make obvious, it's a no-win game.

MayBee said...

Henry-
No rebuttal would be spun as a historic, racist, disrespecting of Obama.

Curious George said...

"Inga said...
Because she was Michelle Bachman, for pity sake. You admire fools like Palin and Bachman and ignore intelligent well spoken women like Rogers. That's part of your problem."

What a bunch of bullshit. Look at their treatment of Nikki Haley. And Rodgers is a nobody still...but just wait, if her star keeps rising the left will trash her.

Unknown said...

The core problem is the Democratic party can say ANYTHING (GOP wants to kill people in myriad ways, GOP hates black people, GOP has an active war on women -- what does that MEAN anyway?) and it resonates with their base, while if the GOP goes off sanity-rails the bulk of base rejects the message (Obama was not born in America gets a lot of press and no traction over the long haul), although there are always core wackos that dilute the rejection in the press.

It's very hard to package self-reliance attractively, and easy to package "we're from the government, and we're here to help" if it doesn't coast anything. It's incredibly hard to make people see that whatever comes from Fed Gov comes directly out of their pockets (and I don't understand why).

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Inga said...

Seems as if Fox news, the conservative blogosphere and The Tea Party didn't keep Obama from being reelected, did it?


There are many corruptions to overcome, and so it is a marathon, not a sprint.

The weaponized IRS, rampant voter fraud, and self-inflicted weak messaging, were a little too much to overcome last time.

Oh, and idiot female voting.

Things will be a little better in 2014, and much better by 2016.

Unlike progressives, we are capable of learning from mistakes.

Inga said...

Maybee, I didn't mean you personally. It was a general "you".

Mark said...

Here I thought having multiple responses was comical.

If these people are not the Republicans, then they should stop running within the structure of the R party. If they want to run within Republican primaries then the whole second response is juvenile aping of independence not real freedom,

Inga said...

Someonehastosayit, sure you are. You display it in every comment you've made in this thread, lol.

John Lynch said...

Althouse said

Prepare for President Clinton

Wasn't that what everyone was saying in 2005? Until a man showed up and showed who was really in charge of the Democratic Party?

Hillary is the President of the future, and always will be.

MayBee said...

Inga-
It doesn't matter. Some people admire Palin and Bachmann and some don't. Bachmann didn't make it far in the primaries, Palin is a personality now and not a politician. They are not connected to Rogers in any way, except by gender.

But you aren't asking for people to look at women as individuals. If you think women should be offended by a second response after Rogers, you should think women should be offended by the treatment of Bachmann. Women looking out for women and all that.

What are female politicians? A group or individuals?

MadisonMan said...

I think the Out Party should just ignore what Obama says in SOTU, and list out all the failures. She can do it in warm, soft tones.

There are plenty, and they have caused the deaths of citizens and police.

I would not focus on health care, though, until the Republican Party has a credible alternative to what's out there, unless you want to focus on the spectacularly bad roll-out of the program, or mention how its been put off 'til after the election. But that's all.

Jon said...

Althouse said: Do you think her diminuitiveness is appropriately augmented by having a second responder? That's what they're doing, those brilliant Republicans, who no, no, no are not having a war on women. There's a second SOTU response, from Senator Mike Lee — ostensibly on the theory that the Tea Party should have its own voice."

Actually, "those brilliant Republicans" had nothing to do with the decision to have a second responder, or with the gender of that responder. The Tea Party Express did that on their own, as they having been doing for several years. GOP leadership would undoubtedly prefer if there were no Tea Party response at all, ever.

Henry said...

Maybee wrote: No rebuttal would be spun as a historic, racist, disrespecting of Obama.

Not showing up certainly would be. The media have taken a republic and turned it into Versailles. Everything is empty posturing.

But to repeat myself: The vast majority of Americans aren't watching and don't care. The pageant is put on by the politicians for the media to plumb for meaning.

Laslo Spatula said...

Althouse says: "Here's a big clue for you all: Don't Disrespect The Woman."

Lennon sang: "Well, here's another clue for you all / The walrus was Paul"

Don't disrespect the walrus.

traditionalguy said...

May I suggest Camile Paglia and Mark Morano for the GOP response.

That would probably cause a blackout on the Networks other than maybe Fox and CSPAN, but it would be a lot of fun.

MayBee said...

I agree, Henry. Certainly the people watching the tea party response will be tea party activists and Think Progress.

John Lynch said...

Stop giving the President credit for his speeches and hold him responsible for his actions. Just ignore the speeches. Don't play his game.

Christy said...

Althouse, you don't sound friendly. Dear, you sound condescending. But maybe that's just me. The rest of us know the Republicans could put up a response from a blind lesbian who walked on water to get to the lectern, and your friends, whose perceptions you so easily understand, would mock the handicap and attack her for not swimming.

sinz52 said...

Ms. Althouse,

I'm puzzled by your reaction.

Rep. Rodgers is not some nonentity the GOP dragged out. She's viewed as a potential future star in the GOP, with her life story as happily married wife and mother. (She had three children while serving in Congress.) This is a chance to give her some visibility.

Mike Lee isn't trying to upstage her. He's there because he's a Tea Party leader.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I know who McMorris-Rogers is, she represents the Congressional district I use to live in. She's at least as well known nationally as Gary Locke was when he responded to one of Bush's SOTU addresses.

Brando said...

Why not pick someone based entirely on how good they are at delivering the message? It doesn't even have to be a politician. I can't remember the last time there was a SOTU speech that wasn't awful, or a response that wasn't even more awful. The mixture of bland and predictable tommyrot makes you want to change the channel.

But imagine instead a great speaker--picked not solely because they check the right box (no one will be impressed that the GOP picked a woman or Hispanic if the response bombs) but because they can make a great argument for why the opposition will oppose and where the opposition will concur. Perhaps unveiling some new ideas, and give moderates the idea that the Out Team deserves a chance back in power.

William said...

I've read that the picture was photoshopped to enhance her cleavage.

damikesc said...

Slamming Palin didn't hurt Democrats. GOP should be nice to Hillary...why?

SGT Ted said...

No mention of Obamas incompetence and fascist use of Government to attack dissent.

Instead, the GOP is supposed to "message" better, to a room full of Obama supporters and boosters that call themselves "the press" who will ignore the actual message to distort it into something its not, as long as it help Obama look good.

The "message" from the GOP always get warped into racistsexistbigothomophobes by the DNC Media, so whatever. One party control of the media destroys any GOP messaging from the start.

Titus said...

I would only be interested in these speeches if there was some drama, like a you lie or a supreme court judge shaking his head or Biden sleeping or Boner crying.

Otherwise, these things are completely boring.

Rusty said...

. You have to figure out how to hear what the message sounds like to people who are not already inside your group.

If the message is the facts it doesn't need to be spun.


Prepare for President Clinton.

Care to money on that?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I'm already prepared for President Clinton. I think America is just dumb enough to pull if off.

EMD said...

How about Joe Perry sings the response?

That would be fun. Maybe not.

EMD said...

I'm already prepared for President Clinton.

I would be less displeased if it were Bill again. At least on some level he understood most Americans.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

On the other hand, we weren't dumb enough to elected John McCain. There may be hope.

dbp said...

If the Republicans put up a white guy, they are out of touch.

If the Republicans put up a woman or minority, they are pandering.

Noted.

CStanley said...

There are two problems with the "friendly advice."

1. If one rejects the premise of the criticisms, then one weakens one position by trying to adjust to avoid the criticisms.

2. The game is rigged. If a white man is put forward, the GOP shows it lacks diversity. If a woman or person of color is the spokesperson, they are tokens. If it's a woman and a white man, that's a sign that the woman wasn't trusted to be a forceful enough entity on her own.

The only way to win this game is not to play.

Rusty said...

put

Doh!

Rusty said...


Apparently, even Althouse proves true to that.


I would hope our esteemed hostess would be more intelligent than that.

Broomhandle said...

"Oh but how wrong could you possibly be? People at home are watching, closely"

Absurd. I know a ton of political junkies, from across the spectrum, and I've never talked to anyone who gave a shit about the SOTU. It's antiquated theater, like staging a Noh play during a NFL half-time.

tim maguire said...

Why does there have to be a response?

Frankly, Obama's speeches are so forgettable that if you wait a couple days, they will peter out on their own and the Republicans will be much more free to pick him apart. Doing it right away, without a pause for reflection, hits him where he's strongest and Republicans are weakest.

Titus said...

Someone croaking in the audience would be cool.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Why watch the SOTU when you can just read Vodkapundit's drunk blog of it afterwards? It takes less time, it's more entertaining, and we all know what everyone will say anyway.

It's an empty ritual. The political junkies dissect it before it occurs, and the non-junkies don't want to bother wasting their evening on what essentially amounts to "As I have said before, blah, blah, blah, blah...."

And with streaming video, we're not even forced to watch it. We can watch something we want instead. We're no longer hostage to the forced interruption of network TV.

Broomhandle said...

Gadzooks, she's a babe!

hombre said...

It's interesting that the Wikipedia page for Rodgers is an obvious lefty hit piece last modified - are you ready? - today!

Wonder of wonders.

elkh1 said...

She is hot.

phx said...

The Tea Party response should be really good. Dems get the popcorn.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

No pasty old white guys! Declares the pasty old white broad...

EMD said...

I'd rather have question time.

EMD said...

The Out Party?

Are they like Log Cabin Republicans?

Lydia said...

if her star keeps rising the left will trash her

We should probably start a countdown from tonight.

Check out her encounter with Chris Matthews last year. Her style is not all that different from Palin's, especially starting around the 7:50 mark in the video.

Plus she graduated from a small Christian college, is a practising Evangelical Christian, has a child with Down syndrome, and a two-month-old baby.

Has anyone alerted Andrew Sullivan?

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
I'm tired of the explanations for all the poorly delivered messages from Republicans.

It's additionally off-putting that you don't even want to hear friendly advice about why this is so.


Cheering on the double standards that define literally every option "as disrespecting the woman" is not "friendly advice".

If she were the only respondent they'd claim she's being disrespected by being sent out as the sacrificial lamb, protecting the more powerful men.

If there were no woman the left would claim they were being pushed to teh rear.

And now with a mix they claim the women are being used as tokens.

Republicans count on intelligent people to notice the impossibility of meeting the leftist standards and reject their framework. Clearly that expectation is too much for some.

The Godfather said...

Well, Althouse, I keep looking for your apology for saying that "the Republicans" dissed Rep. Rogers by appointing Sen. Lee to give an additional rebuttal to the SOTU. At least since Jon's post at 8:16 am, you've been on notice that Lee is speaking not for the Republicans but for a Tea Party group. (I noticed, by the way, that you didn't have a link to support your assertion, contrary to your usual practice.)

Is this some kind of blog sweeps week where you try to gin up traffic by posting outrageous statements?

raf said...

Of course, having a women give the response is just tokenism, which is disrespectful of women. There is nothing the Republicans can do which cannot be explained as an insult to women.

phx said...

There is nothing the Republicans can do which cannot be explained as an insult to women.

Yeah, how did they get in that hole?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

I feel bad for any white males that are in your classes. I really hope that you do not teach any mandatory 1L classes.

john marzan said...

since 2010, the tea party has a SOTU representative.

maybe next time, we'll have mia love deliver the tea party SOTU rebuttal in 2015. #genderpolitics