Mini-SOTU: McDonnell gets national platform

news-mcdonnell-sotuThe staging of Governor Bob McDonnell's Republican response echoes the State of the Union address.

In office as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 11 days, Bob McDonnell added another role to his new duties: spokesman for the GOP following President Barrack Obama's January 27 State of the Union address.

When McDonnell was invited to provide the Republican response last week, political pundit Larry Sabato warned that the president and the pageantry of the State of the Union in Congress were a tough act to follow.

Perhaps McDonnell heeded that warning. His response in the House of Delegates chamber, surrounded by a diverse group of supporters who applauded and looked at him adoringly, prompted NBC political commentator David Gregory to note that it looked like a "miniature" State of the Union.

"From a political standpoint, Governor McDonnell gave probably the best State of the Union response I've seen," says Charlottesville political blogger Jamelle Bouie, "and I've been watching them since high school."

Bouie contrasts McDonnell's performance to last year's widely panned response by up-and-coming Republican star Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

"While the optics were very good, the actual substance left much to be desired," says Bouie, noting that McDonnell's speech was standard Republican playbook written in advance of Obama's address, making it difficult to actually respond to the president's speech.

McDonnell was surrounded by supporters that included an African-American woman and Asian man. "It's obviously intentional and kind of funny," says Bouie.

"It might be a little inaccurate as far as who voted for him," Bouie continues. "Exit polls showed they were over 35 and almost entirely white. The optics are great, but not really accurate."

McDonnell drew some heat from the Democrats for staging his response to a Republican-only audience, Politico reports. "This just strikes us as odd," said DNC Communications director Brad Woodhouse. "A man who has billed himself as a bipartisan problem solver– is giving a speech to respond to the President's State of the Union address in the House Chamber in Virginia's Capitol to an invitation only crowd (i.e., Republicans)."

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told Politico that the Virginia Democratic legislative leadership would be invited.

And even some Republicans didn't get emails inviting them to the Capitol until 6pm January 27, Martin tells the Hook, describing an "ad hoc" invitational process. "The Democratic leadership was invited," he says, "and none attended."

McDonnell invoked Thomas Jefferson twice in his 12-minute response, and like Obama, led with jobs as the most important government priority.

"Bob McDonnell did well enough that in the future," predicts Bouie, "he'll probably be on a short list for Republican national office."

Updated at 3:40pm.


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Here's a tag cloud of Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address:

penelope! If he didn't use "code-words" then surely he used more appropriate language! Shame on you.

Blandy McBlanderson needed a little multicultural spice behind him, I guess.

Democrats could only hope he's the nominee next time around. I was left wondering what George W. Bush would have done in such a setting. McDonnell seemed like a decent minor league GOP pol. Utterly lacking in charisma, he served up boilerplate GOP talking points. It's a nice sop to him from the RNC, but after what happened to Jindal last year, one wonders if the governor wasn't taking one for the team by doing this.

McDonnell needs some sort of narrative or schtick or issue if he's going to go further than the governor's mansion. His personal appeal is purdy darn low. He won't have Creigh Deeds to run against in his next campaign, either.

Missed it.

I wonder if the so-called "Jobs" governor explained why his concern for Virginia workers doesn't extend to favoring an extension of their unemployment benefits.

Cue crickets chirping


more like a VERY downmarket Bush marketing attempt. Karl Rove would be rolling in his grave (if he were dead; which he's not).

Ham-handed, mush-mouthed gobbleygook from a guy who's never really been put to the political test. Here's my prediction: if he enters the GOP presidential primary, his campaign won't even make it to the Iowa caucus.

Having just Republcians there is a classic sign of just how ' inclusive' they are. It also shows how afraid they are of letting anyone but bobble heads be there. I don't necessarily include the people CPD mentioned because they belong there.

I couldn't help but notice just how carefully he used code words for things like ' anti-abortion' which was why he was so unnatural.

His speech also rang hollow because in his long history in Virginia politics, he did nothing for jobs or the economy. Deeds did, but Deeds just isn't a leader either. He has tied to push women backwards, and he has spent more time being upset over homosexuality.

Wow penelope. If you belong to the party of 'family values' and talk like that, I fear for anyone in your house within earshot. Shame on you and your foul mouth.

CPD!!!, Dave Matthews Band DOES suck.

Deleted by moderator.

To all the libs posting snarky remarks about our new Governor: Get used to voters wising up and installing conservatives in office throughout the country. You ain't seen nothing yet...just wait until this November and November 2012. Liberal heads will roll.

Gosh Tingler, if the conservatives were such hot shi_, wonder why the voters tossed em out in the first place?

Why? Because of a severe case of BDS among many Dems and the fact that the Republicans' candidate wasn't the best they could have produced. As much as I admire McCain's character and patriotism, he ran a miserable campaign and was, I think, satisfied with simply getting to run for President. How else can one explain a candidate with radical views and associations and NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER (unless you're a loon who counts 2 years as a Senate back-bencher, some community organizing experience plus being a part time law school lecturer as relevant experience) getting elected President? What a miserable joke on the country. He stands a good chance of surpassing Jimmy Carter as the most incompetent POTUS ever. I never would have thought that possible. I thoroughly enjoyed the VA, NJ and MA elections and am looking forward to this November's electoral avalanche. The Dems won't know what hit'em. Actually they should, but they're still in a state of denial.

Howzabout: McDonnell/Cheney in 2012 as POTUS and CEO?

Gosh Tingler, if the conservatives were such hot shi_, wonder why the voters tossed em out in the first place?

the media's bias and lie's.
Now that they have openly admitted such, its all over for you libs.
Cant wait for the first congressional hearings 2013, STRING EM UP BOY'S

Love it! That John McCain was a crummy candidate is your explanation for Obama's victory - that and the fact that the electorate was too stupid to see beyond the "ruse" perpetrated on it by the unqualified Obama (no mention of McCain's choice of an unqualified and crazy person for his veep, of course). Yet you are confident that the same electorate that you deride will suddenly wise up and come around to the GOP. Priceless logic.

You also, predictably, fail to account for the Dem's current majority in Congress. Or perhaps BDS explains that away as well (but certainly not Republican incompetence!)?

Ans I don't suppose that if the GOP does manage to regain the Congress you will be so generous as to attribute those gains to ODS? No, I'm sure you will credit the inherently superior platform and leadership of the Republicans.

Just a guess...

WHATS WITH THE RADIO STATIONS LYING ABOUT A "PERFORMANCE TAX"? There is NO tax, it's a royalty paid to artists and record companies. Just the fact they have to manipulate their story makes me think they have reasonable argument. They just don't want to pay artists for their music. Music that gives the stations advertising dollars. It is done in other nations and they still have radio.

McDonnell was surrounded by supporters that included an African-American woman and Asian man. ââ?¬Å?It’s obviously intentional and kind of funny,” says Bouie.

ââ?¬Å?It might be a little inaccurate as far as who voted for him,” Bouie continues. ââ?¬Å?Exit polls showed they were over 35 and almost entirely white. The optics are great, but not really accurate.”

Actually, the ââ?¬Å?black woman” is McDonnell’s Secretary of Administration, Lisa Hicks-Thomas. The ââ?¬Å?Asian guy” is Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng. The ââ?¬Å?military guy” is Staff Sargeant Robert Tenpenny, who served with Jeanine McDonnell in Iraq. And, for good measure, in the lower right, is Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Polarek.

Whoa, could this guy look any more insincere and fake? A puppet for the mass of zombie-nation Republicans who have lost the ability to think for themselves. The whole thing looked totally contrived, like the Bush marketing machine back in action. I wouldn't be surprise to learn that the audience was paid to be there and they had "applause" and "standing ovation" signs. I listened to about half of it then threw a brick through my TV. I sure hope this guy is the next Republican candidate for President. And he picks Palin to run with him!