January 28, 2010

COURTESY OR CATALEPSY:

At This Obama Speech, Courtesy From Ascendant Republicans (NAFTALI BENDAVID, 1/28/10, WSJ)

With political momentum on their side, underlined by recent victories in three high-profile elections, they wanted to keep public attention on the struggling Democrats and avoid behavior that would unify their opponents.

GOP lawmakers almost appeared to be looking for opportunities to courteously cheer Mr. Obama's words. They even clapped when Mr. Obama urged passage of his health overhaul, saying, "We still need health insurance reform."

This was no accident. At a meeting of House Republicans this morning, the top three GOP leaders urged members to behave courteously. Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) told lawmakers they should keep quiet "no matter how much you may want to boost your fundraising." That was a reference to Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), who saw contributions pour in after shouting "You lie!" during Mr. Obama's last speech.

When Mr. Obama listed a series of tax cuts he said his administration had enacted, Republicans were silent. The president joked, "I thought I'd get some applause" for that from the GOP, and the Republicans obliged, somewhat wryly, by rising and clapping.

On one occasion, Mr. Obama's exhortations appeared to unify the parties against him: hardly anyone applauded when he called for a three-year domestic spending freeze, which many Democrats oppose and Republicans consider insufficient.


By the end no one can have still been listening.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2010 6:44 AM
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