This is a post from a Facebook friend (my first guest post!). I had very similar thoughts after last night's lame double talk of a rebuttal by the impish Bobby Jindal, but I've been so obsessed with Twitter, I've neglected my blog. Luckily, the piece below is spot on. But don't feel too sorry for Jindal, he's got another four years to work on his game.
My Response to Governor Jindal's Response to President Obama's Speech. by Jonathan Keith
We Americans love the underdog. We identify with them; it’s a fundamental component of our character as a nation. Despite the grim realities of our economy, the cynical malfeasance and misfeasance of our government and financial institutions, the piling of our debt, the crumbling of our infrastructure, and the shattering of our dreams, we will always believe in Horatio Alger. If we try hard, have faith, and hope for the best, anything is still possible. After all, we just elected a black man president and made “Slumdog Millionaire” the year’s Best Picture.
Clearly Barack Obama’s unlikely American story is already inspiring another would-be presidential hopeful, Governor Bobby Jindal, Republican of Louisiana. Jindal, an oft-mentioned candidate to commandeer the GOP’s rudderless boat and run for the White House in 2012, was tapped to give the Republican Response to President Obama’s Congressional Address last night. Jindal has been making some waves lately for denouncing the president’s economic stimulus plan, defiantly pledging to refuse billions of dollars in aid to his constituents. His LOUISIANA constituents!
Like Obama’s, no one is denying that Jindal’s story is sweet. The first generation American son of Indian immigrants goes on to be a U.S. governor at 36. Impressive. So out he strode shortly after President Obama’s speech was over, appearing before a TV audience of millions, of which many were seeing him for the first time. I can forgive the fact that he can’t read a teleprompter, but Jindal’s speech was so full of personal sentimentality, trite pro-America rah-rah, and, most especially, transparent self-promotion that it all quickly turned into wimpy, irrelevant noise. And I thought the Democrats were supposed to be the wimps! Jindal makes Dennis Kucinich look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Where was the critical analysis of Obama’s speech? The well-argued alternative ideas? Where was the substance? Instead, we got gauzy anecdotes about his childhood. This guy looked like he was running for president NOW! I kept yelling at the screen (we all do this), “Hey dude, we just picked a president a few months ago!” His recent coy denials of chief executive ambitions (the latest coming this past Sunday on ‘Meet The Press’: “I wanna run for re-election to be Governor of Louisiana in 2011.”) are now about as credible as an A-Rod press conference, but Jindal has a better chance of winning ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ than ever getting elected president of this country.
For one, he’s just not ... ahem ... telegenic. I’m sorry, but Americans want their presidents to look a certain way and they make their attributions about candidates almost immediately. Usually they want them to look like a guy at a barbecue, but a guy who looks like he might also be able to handle the grill. Obama’s sweeping victory last November may have changed that some, but his grace and charisma will present challenges for certain candidates, especially “different looking” ones, in the future. So now you either have to look like the guy at the barbecue or be really good looking. Jindal looks like he belongs at a Star Wars convention.
But the fundamental problem with Jindal’s message - and most of the Republicans’ - is that, mysteriously, he continues to cling to an ideology that is completely bankrupt and has finally been exposed as fraud, demonstrably refuted by the country. But I guess they didn’t hear the clarion call for “change.” Just why the Republicans think that anyone, save for the most extreme fringe of their party, should listen to anything they have to offer is a real puzzle. Maybe it’s history repeating. The GOP did the exact same thing in an eerily-similar situation in our history. Their reckless, laissez faire approach to the markets led to the crash of 1929, which took us into the Great Depression. FDR recognized that, with no demand anywhere, massive government spending was required to resuscitate the economy. The Republicans fought this policy and took the role of tone deaf obstructionists. They were trounced in the next election.
Maybe the Republicans are just completely out-of-touch with anything that happens outside the beltway or the political news media. Or maybe they think that we’re really stupid; we did elect W. twice. But they stole one election and scared us in the other one. Well, this time we’re really scared. We’re scared about our own future. We’re scared about our children's future. But we’ve been scared smart. We’ve learned from 30 years of history that the Reaganomics they continue to preach have been an abject failure and the deregulation seeds that he began sowing in 1980 led us to this place we are today. We want change, because we know the world has changed. We have changed. We have different priorities now, among them peace, tolerance throughout the world, conservation, and innovation. But one thing will never change, no matter how dark our days become. We still believe that the underdog can win again.
In 1990, I co-founded a magazine called URB (urb.com) in Los Angeles. URB captures an intimate view of progressive urban sounds and landscapes in print and online. Beyond my day job, I also explore the world of politics, race and culture, photography and media (new and old). pure/ROKER is designed to be a living and shared notebook of the most discussion worthy aspects. Enrichment is encouraged. Debate and disagreement unavoidable. And dissent welcomed. As always, please leave a comment if you're inspired, subscribe to my RSS or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.