David B.




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February 26, 2009

Bobby Jindal: But Seriously, Folks, This Guy is the Future of Your Party?


His onstage demeanor seems a mixture of Bob Denver and Howdy Doody. He sounds like he was raised inside a helium balloon. His cloying verbal presentation is infused with as much dripping condescension as one would find in a century’s worth of Daughters of the American Revolution conventions, and if original ideas were the size of elephants his would scarcely fill a thimble.


Republican Party, meet your future in the person of Louisiana’s own Bobby Jindal.


Rewind to those first buzz-killing moments following Barack Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress this Tuesday past, the moments in which viewers at home collectively realized that “Oh, God, we have to listen to those people now” as dispassionate anchor-droids on the networks warned us of the impending Republican “response.”


Come on, admit it: Even though you, like 95 percent of the rest of the country, had successfully avoided watching or listening to this southern-fried fool up to this pivotal moment, you’d heard all about him being the “new face of Republicanism,” and you were more than a little curious. Prior to his address, MSNBC had even tagged him as a possible presidential candidate a few years hence, a potential contender for Obama’s throne (though the network failed to address how any mere mortal, even Bobby Jindal, stood a chance of slowing the Sarah Palin White House juggernaut, cloaked as it is in Hillary Clintonesque “inevitability.”) All of us just had to see what magic tricks the Grand Old Party would pull in its ongoing attempts to pass off its chicken poop as chicken salad.


So we, the inquiring minds of America, sat and watched. What we saw wasn’t a response. It was the Great Louisiana Trainwreck of 2009.


The new face of the GOP turned out to be a snide, drawling fencepost with the personal warmth of a slug and the believability of a subprime mortgage broker, and with each cynical syllable that burst like a pustule from his sneering mouth, we got to see the future of the Republican Party self-immolate a little more. It wasn’t just that Jindal’s address was tone deaf, clueless, choked on its own dogmatism or packed to the gills with lies and misrepresentations, though it was all of these. It was that through the welter of Jindal’s dull-witted reactionary rhetoric, his seething contempt both for Barack Obama and everyday American citizens shone clearly through for all to see.


Jindal began his risible rightist rantings with a smug, patronizing and thoroughly insincere pronouncement of a “great moment in the history of our republic,” the moment when – gasp! imagine that! – a black man “stepped forward to address the state of our union,” subsequently declaring it “the completion of a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now, finally, the Oval Office.”


Set aside the fact that these patronizing platitudes do not, in fact, make any sense at all when parsed. Note instead the tone and strange inflections of their delivery. We were not listening to a statesman. We were listening to a third-grade teacher who clearly not only thought we were idiots, but thought himself so very, very clever as to be able to mesmerize us with incomprehensible saccharine niceties even as he packed our minds with lies.


From there, Jindal’s speech degenerated into a succession of generic ‘murrican homilies about moms, dads, immigrants, supermarkets and other Leave It To Beaverisms that rolled off his tongue like lead-laced toys on a Chinese assembly line, all mouthed in that same maddeningly contemptuous kindergartenese. It was a performance sufficiently repulsive that America stopped listening to simply stare in revulsion and horror. Was this clown serious? More significantly, was his party?


The short answer: Yes and yes. Faced with the most severe economic crisis to face this nation in the better part of a century, the Republican prescription was disingenuity, lies and condescension delivered by an opportunistic southern blowhard – an explicit expression of contempt for virtually every man, woman and child currently looking toward their government for leadership in a troubled time. Thankfully, the public’s judgment of Jindal’s sickly sideshow was swift and sure: A snap CNN poll conducted moments after the conclusion of his address showed a double-digit uptick in support for Obama’s proposals.


On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, the Republican Party chose its future. It is oblivion.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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