Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Follow Up Thoughts re Gov. Bobby Jindal

Delivering the response to a president's speech in front of a joint session of congress, is arguably the toughest assignment in politics. Few garner enthusiastic reviews after a president benefits from the symbolic majesty of such a moment. Yes, Virginia Senator James Webb was terrific a couple years ago. I can also recall former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright, delivering an effective response following Ronald Reagan's 1987 State of the Union speech.

Nonetheless, Jindal's performance last night was the most pitiful response I have seen since former Senate Republican leader Bob Dole in 1996. At the time of Dole's response, I was quite critical of Bill Clinton from the left. Nonetheless, it was apparent that no one in the Republican Party held a candle to him.

Governor Bobby Jindal's performance last night and even John McCain's petulance at the "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" the day before, illustrates that the stature gap between Republicans and President Obama is widening. How will this impact substance I wonder? It still requires sixty votes to move legislation in the Senate. When will President Obama opt to stare the Republicans down and dare them to filibuster? And would enough Republican's blink when confronted with Obama's stature?

I'm convinced that President Obama has an opportunity to use his political capital and bargain aggressively for a far more activist agenda than he has to this point. Obama's speeches are wonderful. I just hope he seizes the moment and negotiates more effectively than he did with the stimulus bill. Even as the stature gap between Obama and the insipid opposition party widens, liberals must remain vigilant on behalf of peace, prosperity and social justice. As much as I respect President Obama, substance matters more than serving a cult of personality.


DB said...

I think Jindal actually helped Obama's message. I was incredibly shocked at his poor performance in rebutting the President's speech. I thought Jindal was of a higher caliber, but apparently not. Epic fail.

sue said...

Jindal was patheticly embarrsssing, if the GOP has any smarts they are hiding under the covers today!

thepoetryman said...

The empty words reflect the new Republican party. Sad really.

upinVermont said...

Wondering, Rob, if you read the NYTimes article on the economy this morning.

I have been severely disappointed by the various administration officials who dodge the big question - What if your anticipated rigorous economic recovery doesn't happen? None of them seem willing to answer the question. They all sound like the Washington insiders Obama, after all, hired them to be. All his choices were prudent and cautious.

Obama's Presidency is still just getting started but... I'm beginning to wonder if his circumspection might not be his tragic flaw. If Obama had been flying that plane that ditched in the Hudson, God help us all.

How much time would he waste, he and his advisers, trying to restart the engines, prudently, cautiously deliberating over which stretch of earth to land on? Could it be that he lacks the one quality McCain had in spades? - flyboy-caution-be-damned-boldness?

He still strikes me as a man who prefers to react rather than anticipate.

Patrick said...

Just found a top-notch blog you may or may not know about:

His current article picks up on what I've already been voicing - my deep concern over Mexico. We need to seriously and deeply re-consider this farce called a "war on drugs". Big government lost. Capitalism won. Drugs are here to stay. It's time to legalize them. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns as to Obama's willingness to take such a bold step, or even propose it.

Here's another post that will interest you:

Again, the blogger reinforces my own thoughts on the matter. Obama has *got* to start offending people and he has *got* to start making the big steps that economists like Krugman have been insisting on all along. Frank Rich tends to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, and Rich has been right in just about every article I've read, but so has Krugman.