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…
It’s fitting that a tea party group would sponsor its own SOTU response: Obama is slated to focus on reining in the federal deficit, and that’s been a prime issue for the tea party movement since it was sparked by opposition to Obama’s stimulus and mortgage-rescue plan.
I could sort of understand this if the GOP had decided to break from tea party concerns in its own SOTU response, emphasizing foreign policy, say, instead of spending cuts and the coming debt apocalypse. It didn’t. It went directly at those concerns by tapping Paul Ryan to give the address, a choice greeted with wide approval from grassroots conservatives if our commenters are representative. So it’s not like America won’t be hearing about the hazards of big government on Tuesday night; on the contrary, Mr. Roadmap himself will be playing the part of the Ghost of Deficits Future. (In fact, The One himself might tackle this issue head-on in the SOTU.)
As such, having Bachmann deliver some sort of “shadow” conservative response to Obama will achieve one of two things. Either it’ll be redundant by duplicating most of the same points that Ryan makes or, if she says something incendiary that the media ends up slobbering over the next day, it’ll overshadow his speech entirely. Or, actually, I suppose there’s a third option — that this will be as much a response to Ryan as it is to Obama, emphasizing that his plan to cut $60 billion this year (and maybe his vote for TARP?) simply isn’t good enough. She’s handing the media a post-SOTU “GOP divided!” narrative on a silver platter by doing this, but it helps her presidential candidacy among the base, I suppose. And it exacts a little revenge on the caucus after she was passed over for the GOP’s House Conference Chair in favor of Jeb Hensarling. Remember who it was who decided to back Hensarling instead of her? GOP divided!