The Republican response was given by Paul Ryan of Janesville, Wisconsin. Like me! Except he went to the other high school. And while I have had years away from Janesville, Wisconsin during which to lose my accent, Congressman Ryan goes back there every weekend.
"He sounds so stiff," Megan said, "like those people in Saturday Night Live skits who are overdoing serious lines to get a laugh. Except he's serious. Why does he sound like that?"
"He's trying not to sound like he's from Janesville, Wisconsin."
What he did sound like (aside from, to me, a college freshman in Drama 101) was a harbinger of DOOM. Not certain doom, mind you. "We still have time, but not much time," he told us.
ACT NOW, AMERICA, BEFORE:
"That safety net becomes a hammock, lulling able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency."
I've had this conversation. Some people are cool with dependency. The vast majority of us vastly prefer to support ourselves and our families. We take pride in it. We would never, no matter how safe the net, willingly choose to be supported by the hard work of everyone else. So no, I do not believe for one minute that offering social services leads people to give up their dignity in exchange for government assistance. You have failed to terrify me, sir.
He also told us that we already know millions of people will lose the health coverage they currently have under the President's health care law. Oh, we already know that? I don't already know that and thus, am still not terrified.
That's why he and the House voted to repeal the law. They will work to replace it with better reforms.
Do you see what he did there? He's hoping you don't know that the House having voted to repeal it does not mean that they get to replace it. Because it hasn't been repealed. NOR WILL IT. Republicans in the House have either wasted time with a purely symbolic vote to repeal or, the scarier option, don't understand how the legislative process works well enough to know that there would be no actual repeal. (I think number one for most Republicans, option two for some of our Tea Party friends. No, really.) See, because the Senate would have to pass it too, and it'll never even come to a vote there because a person needs 60 votes to even introduce something in order to avoid a filibuster. And then, EVEN IF it somehow passed the Senate (which it wouldn't) the President would have to sign it! OR, the House and Senate would have to vote by two-thirds majority to override the President's veto. A majority that Republicans do not have! THE REPEAL IS AN ILLLLUUUUUUUSION!
After more prognostications of doom ("America's best century will be considered our past century!" ), the Congressman told us what we need to do. He then name-dropped Lincoln, followed I shit you not, by the sentence, "We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy."
Really, Paul Ryan? Unshackle?
As Lincoln freed the slaves from human bondage, Republicans now will free the economy from slavery to government regulation. They're pretty much the same.
And then, after all of that, Paul Ryan did not even God bless us. Apparently they don't teach a person manners over at Craig High School.
But you know where they did? Crazypants, Minnesota! Oh, Michele Bachmann God blessed us and the United States of America, but not until after spewing molten ridiculous all over CNN for a little bit.
Because the other networks didn't carry her speech, for some reason. Oh sure, she thrives on attention and isn't, you know, sane. But she is entertaining. And makes no accent-smoothing effort to keep from sounding like a character from Bobby's World.
She wasn't there to compete with the official Republican response, but simply accepting an invitation to give a speech for the Tea Party Express. It was apparently their camera, slightly to our left of the CNN camera, that she was looking into as she spoke. But we didn't know that at the time, so it just added to her Crazy Lady on the Street Telling the Invisible Person Next to You About How the Government Handed Her Over to the Aliens vibe.
Congresswoman Bachmann earned this spot in my good graces back when she suggested that there be some sort of research done to find out which members of Congress were, you know, un-American. Sadly, she was beaten to the punch on that proposal by yet another Cheesehead, Joe McCarthy. And everybody later agreed that it had been not such a terrific idea.
On Tuesday night, she regaled us with visual aids, the information on which has since been shown to be patently false. But who cares? Not us in Crazypantstown! We're too busy being mad that President Obama wants to tell us what kind of lightbulbs to buy! Nevermind that what she's talking about occurred under the Bush administration! We don't check facts in Crazypantstown! We just get mad about stuff that sounds like it's probably true to us!
Like how many [unnamed] regulations will cost the economy $100 million or more! We're going to have a full-on repeal of Obamacare! America is the indispensable nation of the world! THE CREATION OF OUR NATION WAS A MIRACLE!
No, Michele Bachmann, it was not. It was the result of hard work, sacrifice, and real debate over real ideas. And compromises.
But she already knows that we all have to come together. Just like all of those guys fighting the Japanese in Iwo Jima. She showed us a picture as she described their brave actions as they watched their comrades die and faced down death themselves at the hands of the enemy, but came together to triumph.
Then she said, I shit you not, "Our debt crisis is different, but we still need all of us to come together."
Oh, she also wants to let you buy your own health coverage from anywhere you want in the country. You know, provided you can afford it and don't have any pre-existing conditions that would entirely preclude you from being able to buy your own health coverage at all. She'll probably elect to stick with the government-funded health coverage that we provide her. I'm just guessing.
I beg of you, people of Minnesota: elect someone else in 2012. Move out of Crazypantstown and let all of us out of it too. If you're afraid of losing the entertainment value, fear not! Fox News will give her a show!
God bless you and God bless the United States of America. And Parker High School. Suck it, Craig Cougars!