If the State of the Union address is an great opportunity for the President of the United States to appeal the American people, the rebuttal to the State of the Union is often a place where would-be political careers go to die. It’s supposed to be an opportunity for the opposition party to promote one of its up and comers on the national state. But it just never seems to go well, particularly when it comes from a Republican. Remember Marco Rubio with his water bottles? Remember Joni Ernst with her stories about bread bags?
With the Republican Party having now devolved into the party of Donald Trump’s ghost, who were the Republicans supposed to pick for Tuesday’s State of the Union rebuttal? After all, the “up and comers” in the party these days are the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos, who don’t appeal to anyone outside the far right lunatic scumbag base.
So it’s not as if the Republican Party had any good options for the rebuttal. But instead of trying to find someone who could at least pretend to appeal to persuadable voters in the middle, the party chose Sarah Huckabee Sanders. No really, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. This is such a laughably bad choice, I honestly thought it was parody when I first saw the announcement.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is best known for having been Trump’s always-lying Press Secretary. She’s since somehow become the Governor of Arkansas, in a sad reminder that the majority of people in that state are willing to vote Republican no matter how pathetically awful the candidate may be. But the thing is, that trend doesn’t translate outside the most broken of red states. On a national level, mainstream American voters are moving away from Republican extremism, as evidenced by the Democrats’ historically strong midterm performance.
Sending a known right wing extremist and extremely poor public speaker like Sarah Huckabee Sanders out there for the rebuttal is the same thing as forfeiting. Actually, the Republican Party would have been far better off by not sending anyone out there at all. Huckabee Sanders is merely reinforcing the perception that the Republican Party is a right wing extremist dumpster fire that can’t be trusted to govern in a competent or sane fashion.
It’s the latest reminder that Donald Trump is one of the least savvy politicians in modern American history. He never did understand that in you have to appeal beyond your own base in order to find any success in national politics. And the Republican Party has learned precisely the wrong lesson from Trump. Even with Trump having failed and been pushed off the stage, the Republicans are still sending someone out there like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whose rebuttal speech will cost them votes in the next election. These Republicans are evil, and they are idiots.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report