Obama's SOTU Riles Rightbloggers Less Than Jokes About Thirsty Marco Rubio
Last Tuesday was the State of the Union address, in which the President laid out a bunch of plans and Republicans denounced them. Rightbloggers got into this with the aplomb you'd expect.
But when rising GOP star Marco Rubio had a comical moment in his official Republican response, and people had the temerity to laugh at it, rightbloggers sped past partisan bickering and straight into persecution mania.
Pre-speech, the American Spectator gave the floor to several eminent conservatives for prebuttal. One Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots compared Washington to the Capital City of The Hunger Games, a trope that despite the flogging of top rightbloggers has yet to make the big time. While ordinary Americans "are in the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression," said Meckler, D.C. residents are rolling in clover: "Lamborghini USA has put its headquarters in D.C. The construction cranes are everywhere. The restaurants are full, despite outrageously high prices." This sounds like class warfare to us; has anyone asked Paul Ryan to comment?
The other contributors were even angrier. "Tonight, if I even remember to turn on my television, my eyes will be on Samuel Alito, the most principled and civilized high court justice," sulked the Spectator's own Matthew Walther. "I don't want to watch Barack Obama give a SOTU address and I don't even want to think about Obama giving such a speech," cried his colleague Quin Hillyer, sticking his fingers in his ears. "He says the same things over and over, in the same hectoring, holier-than-thou tone of voice..."
While Hillyer's mummy was giving him a cookie, fellow writer Aaron Goldstein demanded the GOP Congressmen "walk out on Obama... Republicans would be excoriated in all the usual circles. The GOP would be accused of being divisive, disrespectful, eroding civility, and, no doubt, racism. But Republicans are accused of these things every day of the week and twice on Sunday. How will it be any different if they don't walk out on Obama?"
When Goldstein's readers peeped through the fingers they had no doubt clapped over their eyes at that point, they saw him try to explain "why this gesture will be advantageous to the GOP. First and foremost, it would be a sign of unity amongst Republicans. It's no secret there are hard feelings amongst GOP since Obama's re-election victory in November. Walking out on the SOTU address would demonstrate a resolve not only against Obama's agenda but against his imperial manner." True, this approach didn't work for the People's Temple or Heaven's Gate, but third time's the charm.
TV libertarian John Stossel made up a speech he wished Obama would give, in which the President admitted his own anti-poverty programs "perpetuate poverty by making Americans dependent," denounced Lyndon Johnson, and announced he would cut the budget in half. Conservatives may have finally found their Aaron Sorkin.
At Lew Rockwell's blog, Michael S. Rozeff warmed up the crowd by explaining what the State of the Union really is: "a ritual designed to reinforce the aggregation of citizens into the mass that supports the State... The State of the Union Address is one more tool by which it engages susceptible members of the public and lures them into playing its game on its terms. The goal is to reinforce consent to the State via togetherness and unity in a common process of striving. It is to make people forget the pain, travail, death, taxes and controls imposed by the State." Our Founding Fathers were some crafty bastards.
After the speech, some of the brethren followed the lead of Quin Hillyer. "BOORING" headlined the Daily Caller, which devoted half its coverage to Marco Rubio's GOP response and Rand Paul's Tea Party response. "Don't know how long I can bear to listen to this chump," Patterico christened his open thread before vanishing.
Over at National Review, live-rightbloggers grumbled throughout the speech. "Predictable, Forgettable," headlined James C. Capretta, who hoped Obama's unconscionable call for "even higher taxes on job creators and entrepreneurs... will be long forgotten in a few short weeks." Douglas Holtz-Eakin said Obama had a "finger-pointing style that makes one wonder why the Congress even invites him to speak."
Jonah Goldberg offered his usual level of analysis. He announced he had been attacked for speaking out against "the rote insistence that Jill Biden be referred to 'Doctor Jill Biden,'" though he failed to tell us who had thus rotely insisted. "Jill Biden isn't a 'real' doctor," Goldberg explained. "She holds a doctorate in education." Goldberg then denounced people who insisted on being called Doctor as well as "people who insist on calling other people 'Doctor,'" whom he claimed "do so for similar reasons -- out of an over-compensating need to show respect."
Honestly, we're not sure whether this is from this year or last year, but what difference does it make?
Accuracy in Media (AIM) gave a patient, point-by-point rebuttal. For example, they said, "Obama headlined climate change and lecture the audience and the nation on the importance of heeding scientists' warnings on this issue," but "failed to mention that science is science, whose nature is to create hypotheses and theories and then disprove them over time," which surely would have turned the crowd against him. "Also," AIM added, "there is not a widespread consensus on the issue as he suggested in his address," despite the propaganda assaults of climate scientists.
Radio host David Hodges also did a detailed analysis, first setting the tone by announcing that "either my fellow countrymen are ignorant beyond belief, or President Obama is the greatest liar to ever occupy the White House, or both, but I could hardly contain myself as I listened to the fiction coming out of the President's mouth at last night's State of the Union Address."
To Obama's "already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I'm proposing go even further," Hodges replied, "I have already documented how the death panels are real... I cannot imagine anything worse that what you have brought to the American people unless, of course, we are looking at a mandatory termination age in which all people that reach a certain age will be euthanized similar to the 1970′s movie Logan's Run." To Obama's claim that "today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs..." Hodges retorted, "Why do you insist on jet fuel additives (i.e. fluoride) be in our water?" etc.
One real hair-raiser for rightbloggers was Obama's proposed raising of the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, which would lift the annual income of low-end workers to a princely $18,000. "The largest percentage of minimum wage earners have 'less than a high school' education," reported Warren Beatty at American Thinker. "...The last time I checked, public schooling included high school. And public schooling did/does not directly cost (except for 'cool' clothes) those being educated. Dropping out of school is a conscious choice. Yet we consumers are expected to pay higher prices to support what is a bad decision. Some economists suggest that increasing the minimum wages may actually encourage some students to drop out of high school." So Obama was not only costing businessmen money, he was also contributing to juvenile delinquency.
"There are people who would like to work for $4 an hour," said Ron Ross at the American Spectator, "and there are employers who would like to hire them for that wage. However, for them to enter into such a transaction is a criminal act. Some far-away clueless politician has arbitrarily decided that $4 an hour is not fair and not enough to live on." Well, it's good to see Republicans already working on their 2016 campaign pitch.
Adam Carolla thought the higher minimum wage rewarded bad behavior, reported the Daily Caller. "Your jobs where you're paid just a little bit are jobs you're supposed to have in high school and you're supposed to move through," they quoted the comedian. "And you certainly aren't supposed to have two fucking kids when you're making Minimum Wage. It's not responsible; it's not responsible to the kids you're trying to raise; and it's not responsible to the community they live in because you're not -- you're not paying your fair share... So you want to talk about fair share? Stop shitting out kids when you can't afford kids." Perhaps this signals a Republican shift on free contraceptive coverage.
All this is mere partisan bitchery, to be expected after any political event. But knowing the brethren as we do, we expected some grace note would be added to their froth, and sure enough an opportunity arose: People laughing at Marco Rubio's lunge for a bottle of water during his SOTU response.
The young Florida Senator is a rightblogger favorite. Before the speech, National Review's Betsy Woodruff rhapsodized, "Rubio, whose rapid rise has been exhaustively chronicled, has made quite an impression on his colleagues... The members of the Republican conference aren't the only ones who notice his star power -- over the last few weeks, the 42-year-old senator has made a plethora of media appearances in support of his immigration-reform proposals, and Time magazine declared him the 'savior' of the GOP." Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post further fluffed, "the GOP is fortunate to have an appealing and dynamic person to champion a more affirmative agenda and common-sense brand of conservatism. If Democrats want to know who is the leader of the party... Republicans would do well to start answering, 'Marco Rubio.'"
Come speech time, Rubio was visibly nervous and apparently dehydrated, and his brief duck off-camera to grab water became the most memorable part of his address for internet wise guys and Saturday Night Live. Even Rubio seemed to see the humor in it.
What for some of us was a funny moment, though, was to rightbloggers a coordinated media assault upon a top Republican Presidential prospect.
"When is a sip of water not a sip of water? When it occurs during a conservative speech," wrote Alton Foley at Bearing Drift. "The left wing media has used up a weeks worth of words describing that sip of water. None of it in flattering terms" -- which Foley found hypocritical because "many of the left's favorite comedians even take a sip of Scotch on stage." We think he's talking about Jackie Gleason.
"Any minute now The Washington Post will start daily posts about how 'Bottled Water is the New Macaca,'" added Foley's colleague Michael Fletcher. "How low will left-wing organizations go in demonizing Marco Rubio?" asked William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection. "Don't tell me WATER." "Of course, this nothing burger allows the 90% liberal media to focus on anything other than what Rubio's message in response to Obama's SOTU was about," groused William Teach at Right Wing News.
"You know, CNN has played video of this," intoned Rush Limbaugh. "I don't know how many times they have played this over and over and over again... This is what the Democrat Party's become. This is what their slavish, cooperative media have become. This is how they do it. Take out the opposition. Do whatever you can to eliminate any opposition. Rubio scares 'em, just like Sarah Palin scared them." And we all saw how that worked out.
"CNN Absurdly Asks If Rubio's Sip of Water Was 'Career-Ender,'" complained NewsBusters. Apparently the question was not serious, as Wolf Blitzer added that "[Rubio's] got a huge future ahead of him, he's a very impressive guy." But "CNN still milked 'Watergate' in the next segment, however," said NewsBusters, "as Blitzer asked his guests if it was a 'big deal' or a 'little deal.'" CNN milking a bit to fill air time! Whoever heard of such a thing?
"Throughout the broadcast day, between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST, MSNBC showed a replay of Rubio's swig approximately 155 times," reported the Daily Caller, clarifying that 101 of those showings "came during 'The Rachel Maddow Show,' which played the moment on loop at the bottom of the screen for more than 13 minutes" for maximum subliminal Alinskyite damage. "Why limit yourself to convincing the viewer with your argument when you can condition them to view Rubio as a ridiculous figure with visual cues too?" bitched Allahpundit of Hot Air, who also attacked MSNBC for "predictably mispronouncing Rubio's name."
When Ruth Marcus wrote something uncomplimentary about Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz, Ann Althouse connected the dots: "After Marco Rubio's career went down in flames because he drank a glass of water, the appetite for destruction rages. Look! There's another Hispano-Conservo! Get him!" The obvious solution: a Hispano-Conservo Anti-Defamation League.
Others happily reported that the media assassination had been unsuccessful. "Senator Rubio appears to be easily swapping aside the clear attempt to portray him as 'Not Ready For Prime Time,'" said The Ulsterman Report. "Rubio's awkward sip didn't hurt him," insisted National Review's Robert Costa. "If anything, he connected with Americans who fear such a public-speaking moment--aka everyone."
But for Eric Golub the water incident lived in infamy. "Marco Rubio gets Palined," cried Golub at the Washington Times. "Rubio extolled free enterprise. This is a worthy 'national conversation.' The liberal Obama media instead obsessed over Rubio reaching for a cup of water during his speech." Thus, "a speech contrasting the Reagan world vision with European social democracy governance favored by Obama was lost in the fog of MSNBC, CNN, and liberal comedians."
Oh wait, there's more: "Watergate 2013 is not about Rubio needing to quench his thirst. It is about liberals being unable to satiate their bloodlust... Liberals find humor in Rubio reaching for water because liberals are nothing but bullies... What was done to Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, George W. Bush and others is now being done to Marco Rubio... 'Watergate' is not funny or humorous. It is destructive."
Golub knew how such violent fun-making should be counteracted, too: "The only thing bullies understand is force... Mocking insults and ridicule are Alinskyite tools meant to stigmatize and dehumanize conservatives until they fear speaking out. The conservative solution is superior firepower. It is time for pushback against liberal schoolyard thugs until they learn humanity. If liberals want to 'Palin' a good man like Marco Rubio over nonsense then conservatives should shred Obama and other liberal darlings."
Say, there's an idea. Let us know how it works out!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.