SOTU Live-Blog: Rubio Response

I’ve joked Republicans have been generous in offering three responses (Rubio, Paul and Nugent). I’m not watching Fox News, so haven’t heard anything from Nugent. Now Rubio’s up.

* Very early shout-out to anti-choicers. Now we’re getting a very cartoonish more government/less government lecture. Interesting he blamed the entire Great Recession on too much government.

* Predictions of ongoing Obamacare “disaster’ clearly going to be big GOP theme this year.

* Rubio’s “to be sure” qualification that government must play some role in life about as minimal as it gets.

* Now it’s pure, direct, second-person attacks on Obama. Pleases base, but not real persuasive.

* I guess GOPers believe voters will blame Obama for the sequester if they blame him one more time.

* Rubio’s disclaimer of interest in protecting rich would have been better if he had said: “I nearly declared bankruptcy myself!”

* This sounds like a 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest speech. Some “rebranding.”

* Rubio’s signature “rebranding” initiative, immigration reform, gets very brief treatment.

* Very weird higher ed section; apparent shout-out to for-profit schools.

* Obviously defensive rap on Medicare. Obviously didn’t anticipate Obama would say something new (though not a lot of detail) on the subject tonight.

* Weird projection of GOP false choice between big or small government onto Obama.

* Interesting but brief allusion to Santorum’s signature argument that cultural relativism cause of economic inequality.

* So we’re getting a very big dose of aspirational rhetoric at the end. Guess it excites some people.

* Better delivery than Jindal, but his speechwriter ought to be fired. Was there anything “new” in it at all? Even a single original line? Don’t think so.

Now listening to Paul Ryan on CNN, and it’s increasingly clear GOPers thought Obama was going to skin them alive. Maybe a head-fake that worked?

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.