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More On The Jindal Speech: It Wasn’t Just The Delivery

by @ 4:50 pm on February 25, 2009. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Politics, Republicans

There’s more out there this afternoon about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s speech last night, which I wrote about earlier today, and the criticism isn’t just reserved for how Jindal came across as a speaker.

Jazz Shaw at The Moderate Voice, for example, says that Jindal’s speech was a microcosm of what’s still wrong with the GOP:

[S]uffered from the same lack of specificity we’ve seen in the Democrats’ plans. When he finished with his homespun narratives about the similarities between himself and Obama along with tales of hurricane Katrina he launched into the Republican view of how to address our current fiscal crisis. Unfortunately, it contained nothing more than the same glittering generalities we’ve been hearing for weeks. Cut taxes, you know how to handle your money better than we do, less taxes on business means more jobs… we’ve heard the song already. Parts of it have a lot of appeal, as there are many portions of the stimulus package which make me highly uncomfortable and don’t appear terribly stimulative. Unfortunately, Jindal’s message gave the impression of saying that it would be better to do nothing and let the economy crash and burn than to try things the way the Democrats are doing it.


If the Republicans want to be taken seriously in their opposition, it would benefit them to draw up a full package, complete with some spending and job stimulus instead of just tax cuts and more tax cuts. They should present that in a coherent form to the voters for consideration, even if the Democratic controlled Congress will never consider bringing it to the floor. Jindal failed to deliver any of that last night and dealt himself a head wound in the national debate in the process. A poor showing by all accounts, and there really isn’t much more to say about it.

And, as Byron York reports, it doesn’t appear that Republican insiders are saying much either:

I just got off the phone with a very plugged-in Republican strategist who told me that Republican reaction to President Obama’s speech, which the party will roll out in the next few days, will mark the beginning of a new GOP approach to opposing the president’s initiatives. (No, Bobby Jindal’s ineffective response was not part of that new approach — everyone seems a little embarrassed about that.)

Daniel Larison, meanwhile, makes an interesting observation about Jindal’s speech:

Now that I think about it, Jindal’s response was structured like a party convention speech, and all that was missing was the endorsement of the party’s presidential candidate. There is the introductory personal story, repeated efforts to play to the crowd’s old-time favorites, deliberate insertions of talking points that match the presidential candidate’s slogans (I can’t be the only one who groaned when Jindal talked about cutting out such-and-such a number of earmarks from the state budget) and the inevitable catchphrase that links an otherwise jumbled speech together with a theme. In this case, apparently it was that “Americans can do anything,” which is something most Americans may like hearing, but which hit my ears as painfully as if it were an icepick. I don’t expect public officials to eschew confidence-building rhetoric (indeed, the President could probably stand to have a bit more of that in his public remarks), but this unusually saccharine expression of optimism is not only at odds with the public mood, but it is just insulting.

Of course, Jindal was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at last year’s Republican National Convention, but canceled his appearance when Hurricane Gustav bore down on his state.

But none of the substantive critiques of the speech goes quite as far as David Brooks, who called the speech “an insane nihilist disaster” for the GOP:

This all goes back to what I’ve said repeatedly — the Republicans have no credibility right now and continued repitition of the same lines they were using during the campaign, right down to the old “socialism” tag, isn’t going to work. If the GOP is going to come out of this any time soon, they have to do two things; (1) Purge themselves of the leadership that led them to this disaster, and (2) Communicate to the American public a platform that amounts to more than just saying “no” all the time.

Until that happens, I think they’re going to have a hard time competing against this President.

3 Responses to “More On The Jindal Speech: It Wasn’t Just The Delivery”

  1. Courtney Nobles says:

    Where to begin? Yes Gov. Jindal is an up and comer in the Republican Party with a talent for oratory and running his state of Louisiana; however, it seems as though his Rep. colleagues had more than a hand in constructing his speech which unfortunately is all too common in politics. I agree with the previous blogs that Gov. Jindal’s remarks are rather simply, maybe too simple, with no substance with his target audience of speaking to the masses, assuming they are truly arses. I’m a Conservative Republican at heart and Gov. Jindal’s speech was truly disappointing and embarrassing to say the least. Where’s the substance? By the way, he and Pres. Obama have that in common-speech with no substance. It really came across as: hey this is my time to get my face in the public spotlight for a run in 2012.

  2. [...] more than a few wondering if the Republican Party will ever get its act together (New Majority and Below the Beltway are the loudest voices I’ve heard – and I don’t mean that negatively).  For pundits [...]

  3. regretbeingprudent says:

    I didn’t see much difference between the two speeches other than the fact that President Obama has a better speaking voice. Neither of them did much more than cheer us on and try to convince us that everything is going to be OK.

    Does anyone remember Ross Perot when he running for President? Although I always thought his personality was too confrontation to be President, I always enjoyed his speeches. Why? Because I never thought I was being treated like an idiot lacking the mental capacity to process real information. When talking about economic issues, Mr. Perot was always prepared with the facts. I always had the feeling that, if he became President, he would treat us like the owners of the country, he would be our employee, and it would be his job to give us relevant information so we could make decisions as a country. I wish we had leaders who would treat us with the respect we deserve. The way I look at it, we are the ones making a living for our families and producing the products our society needs. And we are doing it without a government paycheck. From what I have seen lately, there is no reason for anyone in government to look down on the rest of us.

    As for the “everything is going to be OK” mantra, I think we need to get our minds wrapped around the reality of the situation. First of all, most of the losses we have seen in housing prices, the stock market etc. are not “slumps”. They are corrections. A house that costs $60,000 to build is not suddenly worth $200,000 just because a bank will lend you money based on that value. The stock market should have never reached the point that it did. The stock market is our perception of the aggregate value of our businesses. We have a trade deficit of almost 1 trillion dollars every year. That means that for every citizen of this country(man, woman and child), with most households being two-income, we fall over $3,000 short annually of producing enough to sustain our way of life. How can anyone believe that the value of our industrial base can increase like the stock market has with this kind of productivity?

    If President Obama thinks he can borrow/spend us back to the land of over-valuation I think he is leading us down the wrong path.

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