Last Thursday, shortly after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made his comments about how Democrats think women can't control their libido and therefore need the government to pay for their birth control, Republicans trotted out Cathy McMorris Rodgers to deliver the official Republican response to the State of the Union. Americans probably know McMorris Rodgers from Googling her several days ago, forgetting who she was, then reading this blog post on Time.com or maybe Wikipedia.
GOP aides swear, and we believe them, that the selection of McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4-ranking House Republican, happened weeks ago and had "absolutely nothing" to do with Huckabee's creepy comments. And yet there were so many creepy comments before Huckabee's speech, and the timing is so unfortunate, that it will be difficult for McMorris Rodgers to escape the Republican push-back against the "war on women" framing. We wish her the best going into the post-SOTU media cycle!
In addition, there were three other Republicans competing for America's underwhelming attention to these sorts of rebuttals. There's Sen. Mike Lee's tea party-oriented response, Sen. Rand Paul's totally unaffiliated, naked attention-grab of a response, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's Spanish-language response, which actually makes quite a bit of sense. Some quotes pulled from the sundry responses are below. Can you tell the difference between the GOP's four sparring rebuttalists?
1) "In the few minutes I have tonight, I'd like to speak especially to those Americans who may feel they have been forgotten by both political parties."
2) "The most important moments right now aren't happening here. They're not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber. They're in your homes. Kissing your kids goodnight."
3) "We are not defined by our limits but by our potential."
4) "You are probably as frustrated as I am about an ever-growing government that somehow thinks it is OK to lie to, spy on, and even target its own citizens."
5) "Obamacare—all by itself—is an inequality Godzilla that has robbed working families of their insurance, their doctors, their wages, and their jobs."
6) "We must choose a new way, a way that empowers the individual through education and responsibility to earn a place alongside their fellow Americans in the most prosperous nation ever conceived."
7) "Throughout the last five years, President Obama has promised an economy for the middle class; but all he's delivered is an economy for the middle-men."
8) "I believe in an America with a strong safety net, but one that doesn't suffocate our resolve to better ourselves and our country."
9) "We believe in a government that trusts people and doesn't limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for—for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional.
10) "We've all talked to too many people who have received cancellation notices they didn't expect or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. No, we shouldn't go back to the way things were, but the president's health care law is not working."
11) "Whether you're a girl in Kettle Falls or a boy from Brooklyn, our children should be able to say that we closed the gap.... The true State of the Union lies in your heart and in your home."
12) "In America, the test of any political movement is not what that movement is against, but what it is for. The Founders made a point at Boston Harbor, but they made history in Philadelphia's Independence Hall."
13) "Government spending doesn't work. It doesn't create jobs. Only the democracy of the marketplace can find those capable of creating jobs."
14) "When it comes to health care, we know the best way to repeal Obamacare is to deliver better solutions."
15) "In the marketplace, most small businesses fail. If government is to send money to certain people to create businesses, they will more often than not pick the wrong people and no jobs will be created."
Lee: 1, 4, 5, 7, 12, 14
Paul: 6, 13, 8, 15
McMorris Rodgers: 2, 3, 9, 10, 11
Ros-Lehtinen: 0 (Sorry folks, that'd be too easy.)