During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told the panel that he knows “it’s constitutional, but the President doesn’t actually have to deliver the speech, he could actually email it out and we could read it.” Yes, the leader of the GOP’s national committee told the viewers of a national news show that the President of the United States of America should just send out the nation’s annual address through as an email attachment. This is the level of petulance the Republican Party has reached.
Thankfully, GOP apologist Joe Scarborough was not present, so Priebus found himself dealing with a decent amount of pushback regarding that comment and others, as well as being placed on the hot seat over the party’s decision to only address immigration reform in its Spanish-language response and not the official rebuttal. After he said the email line, an audible snicker could be heard from at least one of the panelists. He followed that line by saying, “Even the things he believes in, I question whether he cares a whole lot about them.”
After making that remark, Priebus prattled on a bit longer about ISIS and “an alternative universe of foreign policy,” claiming he and the GOP have a hard time believing in him at this point. Finally, host Mika Brzezinski stopped him and said, “Here’s the problem. I think the same can be said for your party.” She then asked the chairman if members of his own party would be willing to meet the President on common ground and be conciliatory. This was only met with more whining and complaining, with Priebus using the “both sides” argument and saying it takes “an extraordinary leader” to bring the parties together, stating Obama can’t lead the country and isn’t willing to work with Republicans.
Later on, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein threw a fastball at Priebus, asking him why the official GOP response to the SOTU didn’t mention immigration reform at all, but the Spanish-language one did. He pointed out that a cynic would see right through this ploy. Priebus’ claimed that, once again, it was all Obama’s fault, saying he’s “kinda screwed things up’ by “overreaching” and issuing “illegal’ executive actions. Both Mika and Cokie Roberts hammered away at him as he stammered through his Obama-blame. Eventually, Priebus claimed that he’s not a “policy guy” and then pivoted back to Obama not showing enough leadership.
It was apparent that Obama’s speech has Republicans on their heels. Priebus, who even on his best days still has issues dealing with the press outside the friendly confines of Fox News, struggled with his talking points, leading him to appear defensive and ill-prepared. Just a couple months after a resounding midterm victory gave the GOP strong majorities in both Chambers of Congress, the party appears to be in disarray due to the President’s strong progressive push in the last quarter of his presidency.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).