Just a few days ago, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was talking to Politico about how his party “has divorced itself from the American culture,” and he hopes to change that. Priebus specifically talked about the pointless rhetorical shots at President Obama who does care about the culture: “[We] would make fun of the president for going on ‘The View’ – and you’ve heard me say these things – you know, talking hoops for half an hour on ESPN. That’s where a lot of America is at, and I think we’ve got to get with it.”
It appears congressional Republicans are choosing to ignore Priebus’ suggestion.
President Obama appeared on ESPN this morning to share picks for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, as he’s done every year of his presidency. For those who care about such things, Obama likes Indiana over Louisville in the finals.
The last four years, the fact that the president does this has been a source of widespread Republican complaining – Obama shouldn’t focus attention on March Madness, the argument goes, he should be focused on solving problems.
But that was before the RNC decided it’s time for Republicans “get with it,” right? Wrong. Soon after the president’s ESPN appearance, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), chair of the Republican Study Committee, issued a statement complaining that Obama should be working on the budget instead of his bracket. Scalise called it “a shocking failure of leadership.”
The House Republican conference released a YouTube video soon after, making a similar complaint. It wasn’t long before a series of prominent Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, were using social media to argue that the president shouldn’t be tackling the NCAA tournament, but should instead send them a new budget that they can ignore.
Maybe Republicans can “get with it” next year.