Dueling SOTU responses

DUELING SOTU RESPONSES…. Congressional Republicans announced today that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the party’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week. Given Ryan’s often-ridiculous, far-right worldview, he’s a pretty awful choice.

But as it turns out, he’s not the only House Republican delivering a SOTU response.

We thought the speaking lineup for next Tuesday had been finalized, but there’s been a late addition. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will deliver her own response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, to be webcast by the group Tea Party Express next Tuesday.

The group announced Bachmann’s upcoming remarks in an e-mail to supporters Friday afternoon. […]

Bachmann, meanwhile, has been a tea party star for the past couple years. She recently hinted that she might run for president … and a SOTU response has historically been one way to catapult one’s status to the level of legitimate presidential or vice-presidential aspirant (when it hasn’t destroyed it, that is).

It’s a safe bet that Bachmann’s response will be far more entertaining, in a cringe-worthy sort of way, than Paul Ryan’s.

That said, I do hope Bachmann’s wild-eyed craziness doesn’t distract too much from Ryan’s official response. He is, after all, an unnecessarily-powerful House leader with a radical worldview, and the capacity to do extensive damage.

Bachmann is a silly, ignominious sideshow. Ryan has actual power. Both clearly bring the crazy, but the latter is far more relevant than the former.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.