John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Molly’s First State of the Union

Posted on February 13, 2013

It was Molly’s first State of the Union Address (she is four months old) and whatever the President said clearly didn’t agree with her.   To say she was fussy would be an understatement.   She moaned.  She complained.  She cried.  And then she burped.

Okay, well maybe she had a bad case of gas.  But after the listening to the President spend some more of her money, I wouldn’t blame her if she were more than a bit upset.

It was one of those bizarre television nights.  You could tell that the networks didn’t really want to stop covering the Chris Dormer shootout, because every cable station (except for Fox, to its credit) stayed in California up until the last possible second.

And as soon as the President (and the Republican rebuttal) were finished, the cables moved as quickly as they could (with the possible exception being MSNBC) back to the Big Bear mountains, where for more than 30 minutes, reporters shot questions at a spokeswoman who could only answer, “I don’t know.”

The fact that she had no new information didn’t stop the reporters from asking the questions, the most important of which was, “did you get ‘im.”    Despite the fact that she stated quite unequivocally that they couldn’t confirm that the cop-killer was dead, somebody reported that the cop-killer was dead.

It all reminded me when I stood in the House cloakroom, cheering for the O.J. Simpson jury to declare Simpson guilty in the middle of Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Address.  Of course, that didn’t quite work out, because Simpson was improbably found innocent, but for a while, Clinton and the jurors were on a split screen.

Christie Todd Whitman, the New Jersey Governor, gave the response to Clinton’s State of the Union that year, which if you think about it, would never happen today.  Whitman would probably agree with Obama’s climate change stuff, so that would be a major disqualification.  Nothing is memorable about the Garden State Governor’s response, but I do know this:  She didn’t need a big drink of water.

You can’t say the same thing about Marco Rubio, who looked like he had just crossed the Mojave Desert to somehow get to the Speaker’s ceremonial office to deliver the GOP rejoinder.  Man, he looked thirsty, which is altogether an appropriate metaphor that is both thirsty and hungry for some new political talent.

And despite the fact that he messed up in the middle of his address, Rubio did a pretty good job of laying out how his vision of America is different than Obama’s vision.

  • Obama thinks that the debt is no problem; Rubio thinks it is a big problem.

  • Obama thinks that government can fix what ails the country;  Rubio thinks that government is what ails the country.

  • Obama thinks that we need more taxes on rich people; Rubio think we need fewer taxes on everybody.

  • Obama thinks that more regulations spur economic growth; Rubio thinks more regulations inhibit economic growth.

  • Obama thinks immigration reform is good politics; Rubio wants immigration reform to get his mother off his back.

  • Obama thinks that American imperialism is bad for the world; Rubio thinks that American imperialism frees people from fundamentally corrupt regimes, like Castro’s Cuba.

They have totally different visions.  But I thought that both sides made their points pretty effectively.

Except for the water incident.  That wasn’t very good.

If I were Rubio, I would make a bee-line for Saturday Night Live, and take this moment to poke fun at himself.   That would be making lemonade out of some lemons.