GOP Response – VA Gov. McDonnell’s Ironic Nod to New, Social Media

Tasked with following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, freshly sworn in Republican Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell delivered a 10 minute rehashing of Republican talking points and conservative dogma, certain to please GOP purists.  Gov. McDonnell waxed political about the attributes of a smaller, less regulatory federal government.

And, as you would expect from the GOP response, the speaker got his snaps in, asserting Obama is trying to do and spend too much.  “The federal debt is now over $100,000 per household,” McDonnell declared, blaming Democrats for the “unsustainable” national debt while neglecting to mention his own party’s culpability.

McDonnell’s response was largely Republican boilerplate — [You'll find the transcript and video of the GOP response HERE]– with one exception:  his awkward nod to new and social media. 

It came at a point in the speech when McDonnell was attempting to dispel the notion of a Republican idea deficit by touting the brevity of his party’s health care reform proposals:

…our solutions aren’t 1,000-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests. In fact, many of our proposals are available online at, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

The irony of this statement doesn’t stem from McDonnell’s implication that special interest input is exclusive to the Democrat’s proposal.  It doesn’t emerge from the laugh it got from those in attendance, or that the speaker couldn’t maintain a straight face while saying it. 

All too ironic, however, is that the new media platform created for McDonnell’s GOP response derived a significant proportion of its funding from a special interest he’s – SHOCK! – uninterested in regulating. 


The website, as well as the rally, is funded by McDonnell’s political action committee, Opportunity Virginia PAC. According to disclosures provided by the Virginia Public Access Project, [53 percent] of the money for the PAC has been provided by the financial industry .

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.

While I’m uncertain how much it cost McDonnell’s PAC, the addition of an audience was a vast improvement over past GOP response efforts.  Worth every penny.  Too bad the Republican policy prescriptions aren’t as savvy as their stagecraft. 

See Also:

VA Gov. McDonnell:  Brand New Face, Same Old Lies.” Media Matters Action Network, 27 January 2010.

Related on Care2:

*  State of the Union: Care2 Coverage

*  The State of the State of the Union: Your Comments

Image via Wikimedia Commons.


Ellinor S.
Ellinor S7 years ago

thank you

Scott Z.
Scott Z7 years ago

Unlike McDonnell's sons, I made no promises to anyone, so I didn't have to stay the entire 10 minutes. I left early.

Judith S.
Judith S7 years ago

Maybe the first amendment is over-rated. We have just been told by the Supreme Court that we can be directly ruled by corporations because of the "right to free speech."

Lindsey O.
.7 years ago

And, yes - he should be allowed to talk this way. He's not advocating illegal violent action against homosexuals - he's advocating changing our legal system. If some take those words and use them to feed their own stupid hatreds - well, that's what words (any words) sometimes do.

I may not like what he says (and I most assuredly don't), but I am much fonder of our Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech than I am of stopping this silly man from speaking his mind.

If freedom of speech doesn't protect words that we disapprove of, it doesn' mean much.

Judith S.
Judith S7 years ago

Do you realize that "liberty' and "freedom" are just Republican catch-phrases? When any or all of your phone calls can be listened in on by government eavesdroppers on a whim or you can be "disappeared" in the middle of the night for not agreeing with those in power, "liberty" and "freedom" are just words. And before someone starts spouting off about how we have lost our freedoms under Obama...No, it started on G.W.'s watch after the World Trade Center debacle. Everyone is so afraid of the word "socialism" (refers to the various theories of economic organization advocating Public Or Direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production) that they would rather be owned by corporations because they are in awe of "capitalism" (an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by Private Individuals Or Corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth); i.e., a few privileged take advantage of the many. The many ignorant who hear the word socialism associated with Obama (mistaken for communism, which is much different)and have knee-jerk reactions are those who put us in the current predicament. Better to get an education and look up the meaning of words than to panic over an incorrectly used word and throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Republican Party now appears to consist entirely of the rich and the ignorant.

Holly M.
H K7 years ago

I sure do watch! Everyone needs to LAUGH occassionally!

Paul Puckett
Paul Puckett7 years ago

Jim Steve - I was looking for a source for the debt and hoping to find one that included all obligations, thanks! Although it is very depressing.

Smoot Hawley, and at that time, the US Stock Market was over 90% of the world market. While we still have the largest individual market in the world, it represents less than 40% of the world market. Any mistakes we make are likely to ripple globally. Totally agree with your point, particularly that people don't realize the danger.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p7 years ago

only if shown on the daily show or colbert nation.

Rex J.
Rex J7 years ago

It should have been "way to go Fox" and I was talking about Obama's one on 140 with the republicans on their turf yesterday.

Rex J.
Rex J7 years ago

In my opinion republicans are too BORING. They , he said "liberty" about 5 or 6 times in ten minutes. Was that suppose to impress me? Liberty and personal freedoms are used instead of ideas. They have none. And after being schooled by Obama for over one hour even Fox couldn't take the fact one was putting a hurting on 140 and stopped showing it while MSNBC and CNN showed the whole thing. Why to go Fox.