Speaking from the floor House of Delegates at the Virginia state capitol building in front of over 300 people, newly-inaugurated Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union Address last night. McDonnell was sworn in just 11 days ago after having received more votes for governor in his election last fall than any other gubernatorial candidate in Virginia history.
McDonnell stepped onto the national stage last night with great ease, articulating the conservative ideals and the common sense that Americans are eager to embrace after a long year of an unprecedented spending binge.
“Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much,” McDonnell said in the speech. “Last year, we were told that massive new federal spending would create more jobs ‘immediately’ and hold unemployment below eight percent.”
Touching on the over three million jobs Americans have lost in the past year and federal debt that is already over $100,000 per household, McDonnell called for spending restraint.
“Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity,” McDonnell warned. “The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level.”
As combative as the President appeared in his speech, McDonnell demonstrated why he has a strong connection with people. He gets it.
“In recent months, the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them,” McDonnell said. “We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship.”
While Obama demanded Congress shove through his government takeover of health care the American people reject, McDonnell called for free market reforms.
“All Americans agree we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality,” McDonnell said. “But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.”
McDonnell laid out his vision for a sensible energy plan that will lower consumer costs and provide high-paying jobs.
“Advances in technology can unleash more natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, and alternative energy to lower your utility bills,” McDonnell said. “Here in Virginia, we have the opportunity to be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore.”
On national defense, he highlighted the stark contrast between Obama’s pre-9/11 law enforcement mentality and the GOP’s support of common sense measures that will keep this country safe.
“Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit,” McDonnell said. “This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence. As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.”
There’s a familiar theme from these conservative Republicans who are winning over independents nationwide: an unashamed embrace of our founding principles that have made this country the greatest and freest nation on Earth.
“Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create this nation,” McDonnell said. “Now, we should pledge as Democrats, Republicans and Independents –Americans all — to work together to leave this nation a better place than we found it.”
The response address gave America a refreshing look at the common sense conservatism that will lead this country back to a future of freedom and prosperity.
I had a chat with Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, after the speeches. (More Friday.) I asked his overall opinion of the President’s speech.
“That was an endurance contest, that wasn’t a state of the union,” Camp quipped.
And the new Virginia governor’s response?
“I thought it was inspiring,” Camp said. “There was a lot of energy and there was a lot of new vision. I thought that he gave the best response that I’ve seen in a number of years.”
Read McDonnell’s speech as prepared in full.