Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jon Stewart's Take on Bobby Jindal's Republican Response to the President's State of the Union Address

Was pretty much like mine, only snarkier:

I love the part about the $140,000,000 to monitor volcanoes. He said Bobby said it's a waste of money. Yeah. Because averting disaster *AHEM* KATRINA *AHEM* or knowing its coming is just useless, right?



Kylopod said...

In the words of Paul Krugman, "the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead."

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

OK. You REALLY shouldn't say things like that when I have a mouth full of milk!!!

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. That's HILARIOUS!!! You made my day! Thanks! :)

And, I couldn't agree more.

Kylopod said...

This was not one of Jon Stewart's best segments. It didn't have to be. I laughed while watching Jindal's speech by itself! One of Stewart's talents is finding clips that are inherently funny and following them with a Jack Benny sort of pause where he just looks at you.

Part of Jindal's problem is that he sounds stilted and awkward on camera. As a Toastmasters member, I've grown an increasing appreciation for how difficult it is for a speaker to connect with an audience. You can work on it, but some people just have it, and some don't. Even Sarah Palin, for all her weaknesses, does have a resonant speaking voice and a smooth, natural delivery. That's why most people didn't notice how big a disaster she was until she went into unscripted territory.

Of course, the problem with Jindal's speech goes way beyond style, no matter how much the Republican spin doctors claim otherwise. As Krugman notes, the flaw in Jindal's message is not that it's conservative but that it's incoherent.

In Jindal's defense, some commentators have pointed out that Bill Clinton gave an awful speech (or so I've heard) at the 1988 Democratic Convention, yet he went on to defeat the incumbent president four years later.

Of course, Jindal is facing off against a charismatic president, something Bush I was not. One of the unwritten rules of politics is that if you don't have experience, you need a good dose of charisma--at minimum.

Jindal is still very young--37 years old. If he were to win in 2012, he'd be the youngest president in history. If he waits till 2016, he'll still be younger than Obama is now. Even if he waits till 2040, he'll be younger than McCain is now! Obviously, it would be terribly premature to write off his presidential prospects.

I just find it intriguing that Republicans have looked to this guy as a possible redemptive hope. If he doesn't have the natural charisma, what is the appeal? I have the sense, as I did with Palin and Steele, that they're so desperate to find a conservative antidote to Obama they'll latch on to any good-looking fresh face in their party who's either ethnic or female. And that says a lot about how superficially they understand the Obama phenomenon.

P.S. I was reading Wikipedia and it said that Jindal's real first name is Piyush. He took the name Bobby after the character in the Brady Bunch. At first, I wondered if somebody had vandalized Wikipedia and put that in, so I searched and Google News and found him saying it directly in a New York Times interview from months ago.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

It's definitely the ethnic/sex thing. No doubt about it. And whom they choose truly shows how little they understand.

Funny about the name thing. What's also interesting is that he's a Roman Catholic. Maybe we should start questioning whether he's a closet Hindu. Think the Charedim would vote for him then? :)

Did you see my latest post?

Kylopod said...

He actually is an ex-Hindu who converted to Catholicism in high school.

Some Charedim would consider that going from one idolatrous religion to another.

The funny thing is that Catholicism was once viewed by many American voters as the scary, sinister religion. In 1856, the Republican nominee John Fremont was rumored to be a closet Catholic. (He was actually Episcopalian.) The stuff thrown at Al Smith and John F. Kennedy when they ran in the twentieth century was incredible. People said Al Smith would extend the Holland Tunnel to the basement of the Vatican. Prominent evangelical leader Mordecai Ham said, "A vote for Al Smith is a vote against Christ." Among the people who publicly opposed JFK's candidacy because he was Catholic were Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Sr.

Of course, now hardly anyone cares if a candidate is Catholic. Kerry was never attacked for it, and nobody even seems to comment on the fact that we just elected the first Catholic vice president.

Still, the Republicans have never nominated a Catholic before, and there probably is still significant anti-Catholicism among the evangelical base, and that's a setback for any Republican Catholic who seeks the nomination.