This morning, not a whole lot is being said about Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell's GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Given the great fun everyone had after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's February 2009 attempt, that's probably as good a sign as any that McDonnell's effort, which he executed with new-look stagecraft and a multi-platform promotion, was a success.
Look for this style of SOTU rebuttal to become standard: here's former Bob Dole press secretary Douglas MacKinnon making the eminently sensible case for this in the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
But, as Lee Fang points out over at ThinkProgress, one lost point is the extent to which all that new-look stagecraft was underwritten by Wall Street. He points out that the rebuttal pageantry, as well as the accompanying online media materials, were funded by McDonnell's Opportunity Virginia PAC. Financial disclosures subsequently reveal significant financial industry support:
Fang goes on to note, "When McDonnell opposes Obama's proposed efforts break up big banks, regulate the financial sector, and impose a financial responsibility fee to financial institutions which helped cause the current recession, it should be noted that the very industry McDonnell is fighting to defend underwrote the platform on which he is speaking, both virtually and in Richmond." But it should be noted that McDonnell made only passing mention to those White House efforts. Outside of generic free-market platitudes, McDonnell restricted his comments on the financial industry to a glancing and oblique mentions:
Many Americans are concerned about this Administration's efforts to exert greater control over car companies, banks, energy and health care.
Over-regulating employers won't create more employment; overtaxing investors won't foster more investment.
Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our Founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best.
The next-largest contributor, the coal industry, got a stronger shout-out from McDonnell, who urged, "We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all."
But this is an interesting aspect to the potential shift in the rebuttal presentation -- fancy staging and top-flight production value cost more money. It's going to be really fun to track who pays for these things -- for each political party -- going forward.
Wall Street Bankers And Investors Fund New Media Platform For Gov. Bob McDonnell's SOTU Response [ThinkProgress]