I agree that having to address a national audience after the President of the United States has spoken before both Houses of Congress is a tough act to follow. Yet I don’t entirely agree with Philip Klein when he suggests it “is always a losing proposition.”
Klein notes “the speaker doesn’t get to deliver the speech with all the applause and ceremony surrounding the president’s address.” However, this was not the case with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who delivered the response to President Obama’s 2010 SOTU address in front of the Virginia House of Delegates. Granted, McDonnell’s address was front of a smaller audience and nor did it have the same pomp and circumstance as the SOTU. Nevertheless, McDonnell made lemonade out of lemons.
Which brings me to Paul Ryan. Whether Ryan decides to respond to next week’s SOTU with an audience or without I think it will present an opportunity for him to impress people on a grand scale. Those of us who are already familiar with Ryan know that he is a confident yet affable young man with a strong command of policy especially where it concerns the budgetary implications of Obamacare. If Ryan hits the ball out of the park look for the buzz around drafting him as a presidential candidate in 2012 to go into interstellar overdrive.