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Bobby Jindal and Why I’m Not Worried about 2012

February 25th, 2009

Last night President Obama gave a speech to a joint session of Congress on the economy. It was great. I won’t bore you with why it was great… if you saw it, you already know that, if you didn’t watch it. Also, like, every political pundit and poll says it was great too. So, like, yeah… it was great.

But for those who hung on for a few minutes after the President’s speech you got the opportunity to see the great Republican hope give their… rebuttal? refutation? response? It was, in my political opinion, a train wreck. On this point I am also not alone. Bobby Jindal is the Republican Governor of Louisiana and seen by many as the Republican’s best shot at retaking the White House in 2012. Which isn’t saying much to begin with. But, if this is the best they’ve got, well… I think the Democrats have nothing to fear in 2012.

For the moment, let’s put aside the stupidity of a governor from a state recently ravaged by natural disaster making fun of studying natural disasters. Or of critiquing the idea that government is incompetent by pointing out failures of the previous Republican administration… or of perpetuating the foolish myth that individuals are universally better at all things compared to government. No, the words aren’t the problem — he can hire new speech writers and image consultants to figure out how to repackage old Republican ideas into something digestible in the 21st century — the problem is presentation.

I think the best way I’ve heard it described so far is that Gov. Jindal looked, sounded, and acted like Mr. Rogers. Which is another way of saying, Gov. Jindal did not sound the least bit presidential. He may be smart… he may be full of good ideas — I honestly couldn’t tell — but what I do know is that was not the speech of a leader. When Obama spoke at the 2004 DNC in Boston, there was no mistake that his was the voice of leadership. He may not have been the most experienced politician, but he had the ability to connect and communicate… skills which, in my opinion, you either have or do not. Experience comes with time and reflection, and in four years Gov. Jindal may have even more experience than Obama did coming into office, but I have absolutely not doubt that Jindal will still be far, far behind in that impossible to quantify, yet massively important capacity to connect, lead, and inspire.

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  1. Dagmar Szman
    April 8th, 2009 at 16:23 | #1

    I’m trying to relate to your opinion but I can’t manage to get my head that far up my ass. Disagreeing with $140 million being spent on monitoring volcanos is “making fun?” And then you continue in your hate filled commentary by mocking Jindal’s appearance?? You are simply making the arguement stronger that Obama wasn’t elected to office because of substance but style. Good job; I hope you’re proud. (It is safe to deride Christians, “caucasian,” fat people and republicans in our society; unfortunatly, you take the safe route.)

    The statement that Jindal made about the people being stronger than our government and telling of his personal Hurricane Katrina story is only one example. Look up real facts (that would be the truth or actual existence of something; not your opinion.) and you will find that, too, was foolish of you to stomp on.

    I will agree that Obama is a well spoken man. You seem well spoken (-er, typed) yourself. And I do applaud the fact that you are willing to use this skill to voice your opinion about politics where so many coward away. However, this opinion came off as simply an attack. If you want people to hear you point (and rep. us liberals in a good light), please, do not resort to the republicans current tactic of “like us because the other guys have Bush.” I enjoyed the read, God Bless and good night =)

  2. April 8th, 2009 at 16:43 | #2

    Wow… a comment on one of my political posts. I’m besides myself that someone would take the time to respond. For that on its own, you have my thanks.

    Now, to the merits of your argument. My objective was not to comment on Jindal’s appearance (although, many professionals have described him as a “Boy Wonder”). I was commenting on his style. For certain, appearance is part of one’s style, but it melds with other important aspects, like tone, cadence, word choice, etc. So many different elements go into ability to communicate and connect. I don’t claim to have those skills… but I do claim that Obama has them. He has them in a way that Sen. Kerry did not, nor Vice President Gore before him.

    Political Scientists talk about the “have a beer” factor in determining Presidential elections. Simply stated, American’s vote for the guy/gal they would most like to share a beer with. Personally, I think it’s an oversimplified metric… but it gets to what I’m talking about; that ability to connect to all walks of life.

    I once felt as you do… that we should elect President’s solely on the basis of substance. But as I’ve matured since those heady days when I voted for Ralph Nader, I’ve come to realize that the qualities of leadership are more than the set described by substance. I’m still trying to figure out what the right balance is, and perhaps history will prove out that Obama was more style than substance, I think it’s entirely too early to tell.

    What I can say, right now, is if Jindal plans to be a threat to the Democrats in 2012, he’s going to need to develop that skill of communicating and connecting a great deal more than was on display the night of his rebuttal.

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