Silence, anyone? President Obama will address a joint session of Congress Thursday night on his new job-creation proposals — and, in a surprise move, Republicans have decided not to make a formal rebuttal. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner says Obama's ideas "will rise or fall on their own merits," and several GOP lawmakers have announced they won't even show up for the speech. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charges that Republicans' silence is "disrespectful" to Obama, and will "speak volumes about their lack of commitment to creating jobs." Is the GOP snubbing the president by declining to counter his address?
This is smart politics, not an insult: "Boehner has played this well," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. First he maneuvered Obama into a time slot right before the NFL season opener, when fewer people will bother watching. Then, "by waiving the response, Boehner is bolstering the impression that Obama won't be saying anything new." Besides, the GOP presidential candidates will get more attention with their inevitable rebuttals than Boehner could trying to compete with the Saints-Packers kickoff.
"Boehner: We'll waive the Republican response to Obama's jobs speech"
Insult or not, Pelosi is turning it to Democrats' advantage: It's actually irrelevant whether Boehner makes a direct response — everyone already knows he'll disagree with Obama's proposals, says Jake Sherman at Politico. Republicans may be calling Pelosi's complaint "dumb," but she's smartly using the occasion to once again remind Americans that Republicans have failed to pass any job-creating measures of their own this year — and won't even weigh in on Obama's plan.
"Nancy Pelosi blasts GOP silence"
Democrats are picking the wrong fight: Criticizing Boehner for not contradicting Obama only makes Pelosi look silly, says David Robertson at Wizbang. If she "wants to complain about something, then she should complain about Republican congressmen who refuse to attend the president's speech." Those congressman really are being rude and low-class. "They should have the courtesy of listening to the president even if they disagree with him."
"Pelosi peeved because why?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
Subscribe to the Week