Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will deliver the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address on January 27. Hotline On Call's Erin McPike writes that GOPers are hoping to capitalize on the momentum the party has built from recent electoral gains, particularly by McDonnell in Virginia, Chris Christie in New Jersey, and Scott Brown in Massachusetts. According to McPike, the party believes McDonnell "is the best face to put in front of the country's surging populism." What advice should McDonnell heed when planning his rebuttal?
- Be Better Than Jindal, says Daily Intel's Adam Raymond. "For McDonnell's sake, let's hope his star turn goes better than Bobby Jindal's, who delivered the GOP response to President Obama's address to congress last year. Jindal's much-hyped performance was widely panned, though it's hard to dislike someone who so thoroughly resembles 30 Rock's Kenneth Parcell. "
- Find A Different Venue. The Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham lauds Bob McDonnell as the perfect Republican to deliver the address but frets that the minority party's rebuttal "always suffers so much just by venue-comparison; at least livening up the traditional empty room setting would help."
- Do A Roundtable Instead. Jimmie of The Sundries Shack proposes changing the format of McDonnel's rebuttal, subbing in a roundtable discussion with Christie and Brown for the traditional 15 minutes of "the same old boring and stilted language."
The truth is, most Americans aren't political junkies and they won't pay much attention to McDonnell at all. Unless he truly embarrasses himself, his 15 minutes will get boiled down to a ten second sound byte in the Thursday morning news reports and pretty much forgotten by the time noon rolls around....The GOP has a rare opportunity to talk directly to all of America, something the minority party only gets once or twice a year. Why waste it with a speech?
- Be Yourself. Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Magazine argues that McDonnell is the ideal choice. "He's not likely to screw up. This is a highly disciplined politician who survived the Washington Post onslaught and an avalanche of negative ads, never losing his cool during the campaign. He won by not just stating his opposition to Obama's agenda but explaining why ordinary voters should oppose it too....and finally, McDonnell's tone is perfect for this sort of thing -- calm, pleasant, upbeat, and reasoned. That too was part of his appeal last November with both women and suburban independent voters who don't much like fiery rhetoric."