10:36 pm: The Republican Response to the State of the Union Address was surprisingly cautious. It was mostly deferential aside from yet-another call to repeal the Affordable Care Act and predictable but terse rhetoric about Executive overreach. The response was surprisingly light on the substance; I think national Republican leaders were very eager to avoid the reputation for partisan hostility they have reinforced over the past generation, to leave plausible space to win the President’s assent on some of their bills, and possibly to stay out of the way of the many, fractious Republican Presidential hopefuls.
10:33 pm: “We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that has hurt so many American families.” Hurt them with less-costly and more-comprehensive health care than they’ve ever had in their lives, does it? I find that increasingly unlikely, not just because President Obama could veto any such proposal over the next 2 years if it somehow survived a filibuster, but because Republicans truly have no plan for what to replace the Affordable Care Act with, and probably never will.
Also, brief boilerplate about fighting President Obama’s Executive orders; court challenges may restrain some parts of certain of these Executive orders, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress fails to do anything about them.
10:31 pm: “There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together.” Free trade with Europe and East Asia; reform of the tax code focusing on eliminating many deductions and credits and lowering overall tax rates.
The President is given credit for supporting these measures in principle and asked to work with the Republican Congress on them. So far, the speech is giving the President a lot of slack for an opposition response to the State of the Union Address.
10:28 pm: Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a Senate freshman of the large 2014 Republican cohort, recalls wearing breadbags on her feet in the place of viable footwear. This approach is a gamble, but a Conservative who comes from poverty probably gets a longer rope with the crowd.
10:27 pm: “Rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities. I want to talk to you about the new Republican Congress you just elected.”
…OK, interesting approach…
10:26 pm: “Good evening. I’m Joni Ernst.”
Why shouldn’t I give equal time? Republicans have a vision, too…and they’re probably pretty ticked right now.