KNEE-JERKS: The Predictable Ass-Holiness Of Fox News And The GOP Post-SOTU

In a development that will surprise only a few mentally deficient cave dwellers, President Obama’s State of the Union speech was greeted by Republican politicians and conservative pundits with barefaced disdain. Naturally, Fox News took the lead in developing a hostile rapid response in order to provide the President’s foes with an easily referenced collection of attack themes. In fact, Fox was so diligent that their oppositional strategy was actually launched before the speech even began.

To set the scene, Obama presented a rosy picture of the nation after six years of his presidency. He spoke of the economic renewal that has created more than 11 million new jobs, reduced the deficit by two-thirds, and produced unprecedented private sector growth. He addressed many of the issues that have long been a part of the Democratic agenda including tax reform that eliminates loopholes for the rich and benefits the middle-class, enhancing opportunities for education, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and advancing the development and use of alternative fuels, Climate Change, equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, Net Neutrality, and access to affordable and effective health care. And he noted that the successes of the last six years were achieved despite the fact that “At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits.”

So how did the right respond to these facts? By denying them, of course. And they topped that off with some distractions and ad hominem insults. The apparent primary line of attack from the right is to accuse Obama of not having heard the message sent by voters last November. However, if there was any message at all it was delivered so faintly that the President could be excused for not hearing it. It was the lowest voter turnout in 70 years. Sixty-two percent of Americans didn’t vote at all, and the Republican victories were achieved with about 20% of eligible voters. That’s not exactly a mandate.

The GOP complained that the American people want him to work with Congress. But their definition of that is to abandon his principles and capitulate to Republicans. Obama tried to work with the GOP for six years and was rebuffed at every turn. It’s ironic that Republicans demand that Obama pay heed to the election results when they so flagrantly ignored them in 2008 and 2012, even plotting to oppose everything he did from day one of his administration. Where were the Republicans insisting on respect for the decision of the voters when Mitch McConnell declared, on inauguration day, that his first priority was making Obama a one term president? And it should be noted that Obama enjoyed landslide victories with much larger voter participation.

It didn’t take long for one of the points Obama made in his speech to get rolled over by the Fox News editorial positioning. The President sought to inspire a more substantive relationship between the White House and Congress saying…

“There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for?-?arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. […] A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.”

The response to this by Fox anchors and guests was to embrace trivialization and fake controversies. Within seconds of the end of the speech, Bret Baier complained that Obama had not said the name “Al Qaeda” during the address. Of course, Obama did speak at length about terrorism and his administration’s commitment to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the enemy. The problem is that if you don’t specifically say “Al Qaeda” you are criticized for it. If you do say it you are criticized for not saying “jihad.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying “Islamist.” If you do say that you are criticized for not saying ….. Well, you get the idea. Obama would have to make a list of every word the right obsesses over and make sure to stuff them all into every one of his speeches.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Fox News collective, and the Republican Party they serve (or is it the other way around) suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder: a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior, generally associated with children. A perfect illustration of this is the way the Fox Nation website characterized a post-SOTU article by the Associated Press. Their headline was “AP Fact Check Obliterates Obama’s SOTU.”

Fox Nation SOTU

To be sure, the AP took a decidedly biased and negative tone, as the so-called liberal media usually does, but even so, they could not find substantive fault with Obama’s speech, much less obliteration. Here are the “facts” they allegedly checked:

  • Obama: At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production – We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
    — The AP’s analysis essentially concurred saying that “Job growth has been healthy. […] Inflation-adjusted median household income…is about 4 percent higher than when it bottomed out in 2011. […] Booming energy production is indeed a reality.”
  • Obama: I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.
    — This, of course, is not a refutable fact and the AP didn’t bother to refute it. They simply argued that Republicans in Congress will not be receptive to the plan. But that knee-jerk obstructionism has been the GOP stance ever since Obama became President.
  • Obama: We’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.
    — The AP acknowledged that this is true saying that “Expansion of the massive Pacific islands monument puts Obama on top.”
  • Obama: Thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.
    — Yes, said the AP: “A survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business does show that a rising proportion plans to raise wages.”

It appears that Fox News is confusing the concept of “obliteration” with the diametrically opposed concept of “nearly complete concurrence.” That degree of cognitive failure explains the antsy grumbling of FoxPods and the GOP who are distressed that Obama has not concluded that the last two years of his presidency are irrelevant and that he should work on his presidential library and let Republicans in Congress govern the country. And it also explains how they can insist that his speech was defiant and combative despite these closing remarks:

“If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.”

It would be naive not to recognize that this sort of rhetorical communion is common in political discourse and is often insincere. But it was nevertheless an outstretched hand and the GOP ought to at least try to grasp it before they swat it down. But that would be totally out of character for a party that has made rancid animosity the hallmark of their tenure.


8 thoughts on “KNEE-JERKS: The Predictable Ass-Holiness Of Fox News And The GOP Post-SOTU

  1. I missed the “well-reasoned” rebuttal by the Rethuglicans (I have an aversion to watching morons on television). Did we get separate speeches written weeks in advance, like we did last year? Since none of the FoxPods saw any reason to actually watch the speech (much like the Big Fat Idiot —, why should they be obligated to actually respond to what Obama actually said? Of course, some of them need their five year old experts to translate Obama’s speech, and I believe they are all back in school by now…

    • Since they make up their minds how they are going to bash the President before the speech even starts, there is no need for them to actually watch it.

      However, Joni Ernst actually began her “response” by saying that “rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities.” And then she never said a word in actual response.

      • She hardly said ANYTHING in response.

        If you cut out the parts where she goes back to her background (and there were several portions of it), much of the rest were just a laundry list of things she says that the Republicans would do.

        Some of them were even in bullet-point-form, meaning next to no elaboration. When you compare it to some of the points Obama raised where he provided context and reasoning for his actions or decisions (case in point being the Iraq negotiations where he says that they are trying to negotiate and sanctions now would only hamper the negotiations therefore he would not approve of any), these points are, in some cases so vague you can’t even tell what she actually mean? (We will push back against “executive overreach”? What overreach? How? Why?).

        It sounded like a speech with promises by an aspiring politician to get elected, except for the fact that the GoP are already the majority in the senate and have already made these same promises over and over again in the past. They should be talking about how and why they want to go about fulfilling these promises not repeate them again as if anyone needs to keep hearing them.

        It was overall a near completely wasted speech, not even close to a proper response, she could have said so much more (even if she had less time than Obama, if that speech was prepared, a good speaker could have said the things she did in under 10 minutes).

        • Here is my translation of the rebuttal.

          Joni Ernst: We feel the economy crumbling but we are more concerned with abortion and who you sleep with. While campaigning on Jobs Jobs Jobs, we have only fast-tracked bills that attack women and reproductive rights. We see people suffering under high taxes and low paying jobs. In return we want to give more money to the rich and hope some of it trickles down, even though it never has in the past. Let me remind you that the success of ObamaCare is actually a failure. As we go forward, let me remind you that I have been paid to give you propaganda about the Keystone Pipeline that does not match the facts. We won’t allocate money to fix all the roads and bridges and our infrastructure, but we will support spending money to run a pipeline of poison so that someone else will benefit from it.

          Blah blah blah… everything wrong with ISIS / ISIL is Obama’s fault. Even though he is not a military tactician or soldier we expect him to know exactly what to do against terrorists, but will always take the other road because we cannot allow him to lead us effectively, even when we agree with him.
          We are going to spend a lot of money telling you that you don’t need health care even as we fight to keep our Congressional Cadillac plans. We keep using the phrase that we will “repeal and replace” ObamaCare but we have never, ever put forth a plan to replace it. We will work to repeal it, no matter who it hurts, and then maybe get around to replacing it some years in the future. We will work to balance the budget by attacking Medicare/Medicaid and gambling with Social Security to cover up the fact that it is going broke… not because it is broken but because we are stealing from it. We talk about honoring our veterans while blocking every bill that would help them. We talk about helping you but only actually do so if you make a lot of money. We tell you that we are working for you, but unless you are rich you cannot afford our support. Please try not to remember that in 2016.

          • Excellent Wingnut-to-English translation.

          • Love the translation, although the “even when we agree with [Obama]” seems out of place because the El Rushbo Rule requires the FoxPods to never agree with Obama because that’s considered treason since Obama is an atheist Muslim Catholic Communist Marxist Fascist Nazi Kenyan native from Australia criminal, illegally-elected militant pacifist dictator.

        • And really, who gives two shits about this lady’s “Little House on the Prairie” upbringing? As if handing out biscuits at Hardee’s somehow makes her morally superior. I’d rather she explain that hairdo. It looked better on Erma Bombeck.

  2. The way Fox News and the GOP has treated Obama since he was elected is disgusting! The birth-er stuff, race baiting, on the eve of his election declaring to oppose anything he tries to do and make him a one term president. In fifty years fair-mined people will look back and see the tea party treatment of Obama and compare it to the KKK of fifty years earlier.They say their the party of the religious right at the same time the try to cut food stamps for the poor, take healthcare from the poor. their unbridled greed is their true religion The GOP is made up of millionaires who work foe their donors. The GOP could care less about the middle class much less the poor. They lie and trick people into voting for them. They use hate against minorities and paint the poor as moochers. The GOP and their network Fox News are truly the immoral and dividers of our country!

Comments are closed.