Bob McDonnell seems to have taken notes from our pos
t collecting advice on his State of the Union response. Avoiding Jindal's gaffes, changing
venues, and delivering a collected speech that lacked partisan barbs,
McDonnell delivered a speech that impressed pundits for its solidness
and moderation. Liberals wryly complimented the Virginia governor for simply dodging snafus. Conservatives, meanwhile, take the performance as further evidence that McDonnell is the GOP’s rising champion.
- Not Great, But Good Enough says Matthew Yglesias
at Think Progress. “I think Bob McDonnell gave arguably the best SOTU
response I’ve ever seen—the choice to go with an audience is a big win.
It still wasn’t a good speech, per se, but it didn’t suck. And that’s a
- As Good As It Gets concludes Newsweek's Katie Connolly,
pondering McDonnell’s “awkward predicament” of following the President
that leads to “forgivable gaffes, like McDonnell’s digs about nuclear
power and offshore drilling even though the President had expressed
support for both” Under the circumstances, claims Connolly, McDonnell
Not only did McDonnell have to immediately follow
one of the most remarkable orators in recent memory, he had to respond
to over 70 minutes of presidential grand narrative in just ten, all
without knowing what Obama had in store... If McDonnell had made news, it would
likely be because of a screw-up, so McDonnell’s capable, cordial but
uninteresting performance is probably the best outcome he could hope
- No Humiliation Here writes The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle.
“Bob McDonnell did not utterly humiliate himself, which is a big win
for a SOTU response. There were a couple of minor "That's interesting"
moments with financial reform and gays in the military, but mostly it
was both sides saying, "I wish you'd help me enact my agenda,
He Avoided Political Disaster Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen
notes that while McDonnell’s response seemed fairly conventional-- and the choice of venue made McDonnell come across "as
the president of a much smaller country"--he was successful in the
grand scheme of State of the Union responses: “Giving the official
response to the State of the Union -- any president's State of the
Union -- tends to be the kiss of death for any political figure of
note…it was largely a pass/fail test, so McDonnell should probably be
Much Better Than Jindal Chris Rovzar
at Daily Intel notes that the State of the Union response is always a
“sketchy affair” when it comes to message and content, “penned without
knowledge of exactly what the president will say, so it's intentionally
partisan and vague.” However, Rovnar observes that the GOP certainly
picked up a few things after Bobby Jindal’s disastrous 2009 response,
if only aesthetically:
1) Put a handsome, eloquent man up against that other eloquent, handsome man.
2) If that means sacrificing diversity, round up some diversity to put
on camera in the background. How about an Asian dude, a black lady, a
cute blonde, and a service member?
4) For the love of God, include a live studio audience. After all the
applause during the State of the Union, a speech without an eager
audience is always going to seem flat.
- Keep Your Eyes On This One Conservative blogger Scared Monkeys marvels at everything from McDonnell's message to the venue, finally concluding "McDonnell is a star in the making."
- Presidential Material? Clifton Brown
at Another Black Conservative sees more than just a successful response
to Obama’s address. “I like that McDonnell took the high road and
avoided any partisan shots at Obama…All in all, McDonnell turned in one
of the best GOP response, I have seen in a long time. He also looked
quite presidential doing it too. Mitt Romney beware.”
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