Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress.  You can watch the video here (or below) or read the transcript here.

 

These responses always seem diminished regardless of who is giving them, and regardless of party.  I think he did better the other day, but it is hard to compare the style of a rebuttal to a television camera compared to a speech in the U.S. Capitol to members of Congress.  They just don’t compare.  Apples to oranges.  It wouldn’t be that much different than comparing a President’s State of the Union speech to an Oval Office address.  The address without a live audience just doesn’t seem as on.

That said, he seemed off.   His cadence with the teleprompter was off.  He seemed like he was reading his speech – which teleprompters are supposed to help you seem like you are not.

Content wise – if I just read the speech it would have been just fine.  His personal story of being a son of an immigrant was compelling.  His points are the antithesis of Obama’s.

  • Not relying on the Government, the Government isn’t the solution, the people are.  “Americans can do anything,” quoting his father.
  • Pro-growth stimulus plan with tax cuts and business incentives for investing in new equipment and job creation.
  • Tax credits for homebuyers.
  • Pointing out pork in TARF was good.
  • Healthcare solutions from the private sector.
  • Education – charter schools & private schools
  • Ethics
  • Strong defense

Some may say that he needed to give more details, and he could have since he is very much a policy wonk (which is another reason you can’t expect him to be the GOP answer to Obama’s oratory skills).  The rebuttal isn’t the time to do that however.

He did an excellent job outlining how he as a Republican governor is living out the Republican principles of limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility.  The end of his response was the strongest part.

In recent years, these distinctions in philosophy became less clear — because our party got away from its principles. You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility. Instead, Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Republicans lost your trust — and rightly so.

Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share — the principles you elected us to fight for — the principles that built this into the greatest, most prosperous country on earth.

A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said ‘we may not be able to reverse.’ Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don’t let anyone tell you that we cannot recover — or that America’s best days are behind her.

This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery, overcame the Great Depression, prevailed in two World Wars, won the struggle for civil rights, defeated the Soviet menace, and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man — and the American spirit will triumph again.

We can have confidence in our future — because, amid today’s challenges, we also count many blessings: We have the most innovative citizens –the most abundant resources — the most resilient economy — the most powerful military — and the freest political system in the history of the world.

My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my Dad said years ago, Americans can do anything.

Thank you for listening. God bless you. And God bless America.”

Overall I don’t think it was bad.  I think he could have done much better. I do believe he did a good job pointing out the distinctions between the parties, and reminding the American public of what Republicans should and will stand for.  Gateway Pundit says it well that it would seem that much of the criticism against Jindal isn’t coming from flyover country.

Update: The American Spectator has a good piece on his response which echoes some of the same feelings I have about his response, albeit do a better job of communicating.

2nd Update: Jindal fires back on the Today Show on Wednesday.  This is the Jindal we know.  He certainly does better without a teleprompter than the Speaker-in-Chief.

HT: Politics and Critical Thinking 

3rd Update 3/4/09: From the Alaska Dispatch – “Jindal right to question volcano research funding

HT: Conservatives 4 Palin

26 comments
  1. It always surprises me when somebody calls a politician a “policy wonk.” What exactly is a policy wonk, a politician who is smart enough to actually read the legislation they support and oppose? I honestly can't imagine how there can be politicians out there who can't be described this way, but it seems like the exception to the norm, unfortunately.

  2. I kind of like Jindal.. watched him this weekend on MTP.. but I think that the GOP really needs a more charismatic leader to front the party. I am not a big fan of Sarah Palin but, IMO, she would have done a much better job on Tuesday than Jindal.. at least she comes across with a bit of passion and personality.

    And.. I know.. she may be the best that the GOP has to offer even though I am not a big fan 🙂

  3. If Jindahl wins in 2012, we at least won't have to worry about funding basic research including wasteful things like studies on volcanos.

  4. I think there's more to it than just reading legislation, but being able to determine what would be effective public policy and what wouldn't. Forging new ideas, etc, and being able to articulate them in a specific and effective way.

  5. Argon – he was saying it didn't belong in the stimulus package not that the USGS needs to be defunded. Give me a break!

    Watching volcanoes while important – is not economic stimulus. If they want to increase USGS funding then do it a regular appropriations bill.

  6. Shane, what do you think comprises 'economic stimulus'? Is the USGS simply tossing dollars into volcanos for giggles or are they purchasing equipment (ie. spending on goods & services), supporting researchers and driving technological advancement? The latter activities involving spending, increasing liquidity in the current economic environment, and increase scientific expertise, which has benefits such as protecting populations near volcanos.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,500267,00.html
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/25/jindal.v

  7. I beg to differ. Economic stimulus is multilevel. Creating new jobs and *sustaining* existing jobs is but one front. Another is increasing cash flow (liquidity) through the economy and businesses. Still another is reducing uncertainty in future business operations (such as the certainty of future orders) by establishing secure, low-risk contracts.

    a) This grant pumps money into manufacturers of geological survey equipment at a time when oil prices have dropped. Thus it helps offset the decline in orders in one sector and sustains some employment during the downturn.

    b) The allocation of money for future contracts reduces uncertainty in production and allows affected companies to move out of 'hunker-down' mode. It also increases the likelihood that banks will offer operational loans to these companies (this current credit freeze has *greatly* impacted businesses).

    b) It actually will create jobs: As noted in the links provided, someone has to build, deliver, install, monitor and maintain these devices.

    c) It will provide future benefit, increasing our knowledge of geophysics and providing experience in forecasting destructive events.

    To recap: Will it sustain jobs? Yes. Increase hiring? Yes. Reduce FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) that freezes economic activity in that business sector? Yes. Pump money and increase liquidity in the economy? Yes.

    Is is stimulatory and even beneficial beyond the short-term? Yes, on multiple levels.

    Does it belong in a stimulus bill? Well that's more of a subjective political opinion, isn't it?

  8. Come on people…I watched the whole…if you want to call it that “rebuttal speech”. I liked Jindal’s thoughts, but to be sincere… (He sucked) he looked like a seven year old searching for the lines in his first snow-white and the Seven Republicans play. (He capitalized on the definition of the word idiot) If he’s all we have, we are in some serious trouble.

    Besides…if you slap a black beard on the man, he could play a stunt double for your typical, radical, Muslim-Terrorist…and that my friends…will be an immense problem for his credibility and electability in today’s day!!! (We need to look somewhere else!!!)

    I apologize if I burst anyone’s bubble, but its true!!!

    T.J.

  9. You realize you are calling a Rhodes Scholar an idiot don't you?

    Your comment, “if he's all we have, we are in some serious trouble” is suspect to me. You sound more like a Democrat than GOP.

    Your second paragraph is just plain racist and pointless. What a bigoted statement? So we shouldn't vote for him because he is of Indian descent?

    No “Thomas Jefferson” your comment is far from being true. It is just your asinine opinion.

    Jindal would not be my pick for 2012, but this characterization is out-of-line. If he does end up being the nominee, he will certainly have my support.

  10. It doesn't bother you that jindal's Katrina anecdote was an absolute lie. He walked right up to the camera and lied to America to make himself seem like a tough leader.

    LIED.

  11. Shane,
    Don’t confuse Education with wisdom… they are worlds apart, (I can name thousands of failed erudite’s) and as for being racist, I’m seriously offended, (my family is mixed) (And you sound very democratic because you’re whining about me expressing the truth) I live it every day. I’m just stating the facts. The American people will see him this way, (fact) and if you want to put your eggs in his basket… go for it…But I promise you, he will receive less than 5% of the vote. I don’t make the rules, but with my 49 years on this blue marble, and 25 years as a soldier I’ve seen much, and I call a spade a spade.
    So, I’m glad your confronting me on my comments, (This is why we blog) but he wont make it to the primaries. And yes it’s true. So we (the RNC) need somebody wittier, more genial, and articulate on the ticket!!!

    Thomas Jefferson,
    Lt Col USAF (Ret.) “07”

  12. I understand that education and wisdom are too different things. Look at Obama – a lot of education, very little wisdom. Regarding his wisdom, look at how he's governed rather than one speech. You can't tell wisdom from a speech (again look at Obama).

    T.J. – I just your comments about his race and the way he looks came across as racist to me. Sorry.

    It is your opinion and may or may not be truth – we don't know what will happen in 2012 – it's the future. All we can do is speculate.

    I have no problem with you not liking Jindal, but I do have a problem with the way you came across. Constructively criticize his performance and his content, but to call him an idiot and talk to about his race seems like something I'd read at Daily Kos.

    No you very well may be right about Jindal's potential for winning the nomination. By the way, I'm not putting all my eggs in the Jindal basket. I don't think he's a viable candidate for the top of the ticket in 2012. I like Palin, much, much better in that regard. He could be a VP pick though.

    We'll see.

    Also regarding his racial background, didn't we (as in Americans, not conservatives) just elect someone with the middle name of Hussein and whose father is a Muslim? There may be issues that hamper him in running, but I seriously doubt his race will be one of them.

  13. Shane,
    Don’t misunderstand, I don’t loathe Jindal…I like him…but I’m a realist, and I’m someone who understands his strengths and weaknesses with and objective vision and open mind. (Maybe because of my background) I don’t foresee my same empathy for him coming from the American public. (The media will tear him apart on his communal and uncertain responses to significant and mammoth issues facing our nation)

    I think Palin has a great future with the party. (She has it all) Brains, a great family, Common-sense, Looks, verbalization, spirit, and pizzazz!!

    As for electing an African American…yes we did…but people need to understand a huge portion of the country was doting of him because of a deceptive media, and others associated his success with some famous icon they watched on T.V. while growing up, others felt bad, and thought it was time to give a black-man a chance. (What harm could it do?) This feeling and support from the masses is not especially strong, and falls very short when it comes to, Indians, Muslims, and Middle Eastern Americans.

    Thanks for some great feedback, I really enjoy inquisitive discussions!!!

    T.J.

  14. Maybe I've just missed them, but are there any videos of interviews out there where someone in the drive-by media attempts to rebut every comment that a Democrat makes prefacing it with “but Senator so-and-so says this”? Hardball interviews are great, but do they do it with Democrats, too? I just thought it was weird that she was asking Jindal for his response to certain statements but then when he gave a response she was challenging him on it as well.

  15. I'll check it out. I haven't said much about it because I haven't read that much about it.

    From what I have read it seems more like the time line off and perhaps embellished a little, but I'll reserve judgment until I've read some more.

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