Every adult that is around children, whether as a parent, school teacher, or soccer coach, knows that invariably when one child in a group garners recognition for a noteworthy accomplishment, there is always another child who will go to great lengths to draw attention to themselves. It is not always because the attention seeker necessarily thinks they deserve special attention for their disruptive, and often, bad behavior, but that they cannot stand the idea another child is the center of attention, even if for a brief time. Tonight, millions of Americans will give their attention to President Obama as he gives the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, and because Republicans cannot abide Americans tuning in to hear a popular President with a clear vision, they will do what petulant little children do and draw attention to themselves with a variety of rebuttals and distractions to divert attention away from the President and his message the people want to hear.
After President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, Republicans will offer up “token” Marco Rubio’s official rebuttal that is certainly to be full of conservative buzzwords and catchphrases meant to rebrand the party as family friendly and the sole salvation for real Americans, as well as portray the President as a tax-and-spend liberal out of touch with the will of the people. Directly after Rubio expounds the Republican’s small government, fiscally conservative rhetoric, Rand Paul will give the Tea Party rebuttal full of personal freedom magniloquence and teabagger vision of America as a libertarian’s paradise, and like Rubio, will decry federal government overreach on everything from taxes to regulations, to the President’s assault on personal and religious freedom. However, before token and teabagger even begin their anti-Obama screeds, NRA board member and draft-dodger Ted Nugent will hold court and deliver a combination Rubio-Paul outrage courtesy of Texas Representative Steve Stockman.
Regardless how Rubio and Rand explicate the virtues of 21st century conservatism, it is the Nugent-Stockman extremism that informs the state of the Republican Party. Stockman previously threatened to draw up articles of impeachment if the President dared move forward with gun control measures, and inviting Nugent to rebut the President characterizes the sad state of the Republican Party. Stockman said “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama. After the Address I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say,” and his office encouraged reporters to schedule interviews with Nugent. No doubt, Nugent will have plenty to say and doubtless he represents a third of the Republican rank and file that opposes more than just the President’s stance on gun control.
The President will doubtless expand on themes of his Inaugural Address, such as infrastructure improvements and job creation, immigration reform, common sense gun controls, deficit and debt reduction while protecting Social Security and Medicare, climate change with increased production of new sources of energy, and protecting the middle class by revamping the tax code, strengthening education and reducing healthcare costs. Although the President’s initiatives and vision are popular with the people, they are anathema to Republicans and they will spend no small amount of time deconstructing and rebranding them as devastating to the economy, personal freedoms, religious liberty, and “real Americans” way of life.
President Obama’s priorities for 2013 will not be a surprise to the American people because he spent the entirety of the 2012 election campaigning on strengthening and giving every American the opportunity to achieve middle class status that Republicans loathe, and he reiterated them in his Inaugural Address barely a month ago. Conservatives have no response to the President’s vision except shrinking government and enacting austerity measures guaranteed to bring economic recovery to an end, and allowing three different rebuttals demonstrates their desperation and fractured movement that is self-destructing before the American people’s eyes. If Republicans did have a plan, or vision they thought could capture support from the people, they would prevent exposing the conservative movement as a fractured group of extremists jockeying for power against a proven, and successful, President with a vision that has not only worked against their obstruction, but succeeded with the people’s support.
Republicans are hoping the three-man distraction ploy works because they are distracted, and with no rudder, and little hope of gaining one in the near future, distraction is all they have. A strong organization would prevent more than one response to the President’s State of the Union address and present one vision their supporters could rally behind, but the conservative movement itself is disrupted and in a civil war for control of the Republican Party, and it is evident to Americans who must be as confused as to what the Party stands for as the Party itself. Are they teabaggers, religious extremists, gun-crazed psychopaths, fiscal hawks, compassionate conservatives, or just a pathetic collection of splinter groups united only in their opposition to an African American President who just won re-election? The chances are they do not even know themselves and it informs their lack of a cohesive agenda and unpopularity with the American people.
Tonight the President will present a well-thought out vision that expands the priorities in his Inaugural Address that features a path forward for “We, the People,” and it will be directly followed by a triumvirate of distraction founded in extremism in the hope of disrupting progress. However, the people are no longer easily distracted because after four years of divisive and troublesome Republican malfeasance, it will take more than a token, a teabagger, and gun-fanatic to divert the people’s attention away from President Obama’s message.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.