The response to the State of the Union is the opposition party's opportunity to inform the president that, yes, his agenda is welcome to crawl into a corner and die. Call it the STFU to the president's SOTU. It's also a hazardous assignment, if history's any judge.
Tonight Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will give the official Republican response, and Sen. Rand "Son of Ron" Paul will give the official Tea Party response, which is a whole lot of responding–and a whole lot of room for error.
Here's what Rubio and Paul need to do in order to avoid making complete(er) fools of themselves:
* Don't do it! There's still time to find a replacement. Seriously, the State of the Union response is the worst job in politics. The best-case scenario involves you addressing a camera in an empty room immediately after the president has received his umpteenth standing ovation from a joint session of Congress.
* Get a former Sergeant at Arms to introduce you. Everyone loves that.
* Don't make like Gov. Bobby Jindal and tempt Mother Nature. "Volcanoes, how do they work?" would be a great Insane Clown Posse lyric, but it's not a wise political platform.
* Gov. Bob McDonnell's response in 2010 was well-received, in part because he filled the Virginia House of Delegates chamber with a friendly audience. Smart man! Pick a mix of faces that appropriately reflect the diversity of the Republican Party–pale white people, tan white people, freckled white people–and surround yourself with them during the speech.
* No one remembers what Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels or Paul Ryan said during their SOTU responses. And that is the best you can hope for.
UPDATE: We're sorry we didn't warn Mr. Rubio that being near water bottles is bad luck. Sorry.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Republicans, State of the Union, Tea Party