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 Post subject: Brad Friedman: Stop Whining and Start Leading
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:05 am 
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Brad Friedman: Stop Whining and Start Leading

Jan 20, 2007 BradBlog.com

Brad Friedman

If Congress wants to be treated like a co-equal branch of government, it has to act like one, and Bush’s State of the Union address is the perfect time to start.

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Sen. Jim Webb, who will deliver the Democratic response to the president’s speech.

I don’t know how long the tradition of an opposition party response to the president’s State of the Union address has been going on. But for as long as I can recall, it has been a drab, embarrassing, cringe-worthy effort by whichever party found itself unlucky enough to not be in the White House.

Over the last six years, the Bush administration has run roughshod over its coequal congressional partners, stealing extraordinary power for itself at every turn with the shortsighted blessings of Republican chums in the House and Senate as an all-but-castrated Democratic Party stood quietly by in the background for the most part.

This year, the Dems have smartly tapped freshman Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to deliver the Democratic response to Bush’s State of the Union address. No simpering softy he, Webb has already shown he has the stones to look Bush straight in the eye and deliver as good as he gets in the face of a classic Dubya bully-boy alpha-dog snarl.

But no matter how much clout, moral authority or gigantic balls the former Reagan Navy secretary and proud father of a son serving in Iraq may have, the conventional stagecraft of the SOTU and its Democratic/Republican response simply stacks the cards insurmountably against the opposition party and—as is likely again this year—only serves to reinforce a perceived, if undeserved, imbalance between the two parties and between two of the branches of government.

Just moments after the predictable but rousing reception given to any president during a SOTU address—featuring long and loud applause break after applause break and the undeniable excitement of a speech delivered on live television to a packed and contentious house—there is no way that a one-camera opposition party response delivered in an all but empty room turned TV studio can ever hope to measure up to the pomp and circumstance of the president’s address. That fact would be true even if Superman was selected to deliver the opposition party response.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:16 am 
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Sounds good, won't happen.

If it were to be presented in this way, the Rs would walk out. Has anyone seen how they have been acting this first 100 hours?

The Rs have put up noise over every move, dragging everything out over as much time as they possibly could.

Not the rank and file Rs, but the leadership. They have no intention of ever giving the Dems a chance.

Nice thought to give Sen. Webb as good an audience as Bush, but not going to happen...

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