The real Republican response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was not the forgettable Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ substance free official rebuttal. Nor was it one of the twin Tea Party responses from ideological clones Mike Lee and Rand Paul. And it most certainly wasn’t Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Spanish language rebuttal which was heard by dozens. No, the true GOP response was a preemptive salvo by Texas Representative Randy Weber who tweeted from the House floor moments before the speech the words:
On floor of house waitin on “Kommandant-In-Chef”… the Socialistic dictator who’s been feeding US a line or is it A-Lying?
While in front of the cameras, House Republicans at least made some attempt to feign respect for the President, Randy Weber just could not help himself. Launching into the kind of hyperbole that is sure to gin up the Tea Party base, Weber called Obama a Socialist dictator. Long after the GOP speeches that followed Obama’s address are long forgotten, Weber’s tweet may still be remembered like Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) “you lie” outburst during Obama’s 2009 Health Care speech before Congress. The mentality expressed by Weber explains exactly why House Republicans are unwilling to compromise on virtually any issue with the President. If you believe he is a dictator then compromise is a form of appeasement that only emboldens the President’s “totalitarian regime”. Weber’s rhetoric is coming straight from Ted Cruz’s talking points earlier this month. Complaining about Obama not enforcing federal marijuana laws against Colorado and being too lax on immigration policy, Cruz publicly stated:
If the president of the United States can simply pick and choose which laws to follow… we know what that looks like. There are countries on this globe where that is how the law works. You look at corrupt countries where the rule of law is meaningless, where dictators are in power and they have things they call law. But what does law mean?
He added that Obama was an:
extraordinary threat to the liberty of this country. A president who is not bound by the law is no longer a president. And if you love liberty that should concern you greatly.
The conspiratorial right-wing, whose behind the scenes leader has become Texas Senator Ted Cruz, has gained an unmistakable foothold in Congress. The idea that Barack Obama is a Socialist dictator should be relegated to fringe web sites like Infowars and Breitbart, but unfortunately those are now the sites GOP Congressmen surf to get their news. The fact that Randy Weber and Ted Cruz apparently have no idea what either Socialism or dictatorship really look like should concern American voters. Americans should be doubly concerned because the paranoid fantasies of far out right-wing web sites are now being tweeted by elected members of Congress without shame or any sense that they are engaging in hyperbole.
When Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address in 2015, it would be in America’s best interest if Randy Weber and other conspiratorial wing nuts like him were not in attendance. In 2014, voters have a chance to return sanity to the U.S. House by voting out the disrespectful and clueless members of Congress who equate the President with the likes of Stalin, Mao and Ceausescu.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.