Archived Opinion

Speeches revealed
 party priorities

Speeches revealed
 party priorities

To the Editor: 

Given the current events many may have missed both the State of the Union and the Republican rebuttal. The combination was a contrast of content and a case study in irony. As is always the case, the rebuttal has less time, but is still an opportunity to present general policy issues. 

The contrast was breathtaking. Biden presented both general policy issues and specific actions. Among the latter was making available free COVID tests at pharmacies along with the new pill for treating COVID to minimize the possibility of a serious illness. Biden also proposed limiting the price gouging by big pharma for drugs, such as insulin, so families don’t have to choose between food or medication. The bulk of the talk was about the future and how to make life better for Americans. 

The Republican governor of Iowa tended to focus on the past and solutions that have not proven to be either economical or as positive as initially thought — such as biofuels. She also alluded to Republican grievance issues but did not explicitly state them. 

The biggest irony was references to “conservative leadership” — which based on observation is nonexistent. The only thing that resembles Republican leadership is not following COVID-19 recommendations as indicated by empirical evidence. Mitch McConnell has explicitly stated that the Republican Party has no policy issues or priorities until after the election of 2022. A case of “elect us and find out” is not reassuring. 

The Republican rebuttal included the need to “take care of each other” — another irony. Republican legislators in Republican controlled states are trying to restrict voting rights and suppressing minority populations. Maybe she just meant taking care of white folks. 

Nothing in the Republican presentation mentioned anything about Russia attacking Ukraine. This is understandable since Trump called Putin a “genius” and his former secretary of state was effusive in his phrase of Putin’s intellect. Prior to Putin’s naked aggression and probable war crimes several other Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruse and Sen. Marco Rubio have made statements seeming to favor Russia. Even Fox News hosts openly stated that the were on Russia’s side. 

In short, the State of the Union was a case study in forward thinking policies along with some specific examples of how the American public could be served by the federal government. In contrast, the rebuttal was a warmed-over collection of platitudes and no substance. 

Norm Hoffman 


Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.