Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coming Out With a Boiiiing-Boom-Tschak!

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was slated to have a grand coming out party Tuesday evening as the GOP's new, young gun delivering the response to the President's address before Congress. Instead, Jindall came across as an over-coached, over-rehearsed stiff spewing the same old tired rhetoric that the Elephants have been trumpeting now for what seems like eternity.

Jindal's speech garnered near instant criticism, including from those in conservative circles who have promoted the 36-year-old governor as the GOP's most likely advocate to bring the party back from the brink of irrelevance. Many conservatives admitted Jindal appeared at best off-balance and at worst buffoonish in his national debut.

From CNN Online:
"Some conservative needs to start a campaign to fire whoever wrote this cheesy response and coached him to talk like this," wrote conservative columnist Amanda Carpenter on the popular social networking Web site Twitter. "I can't watch."

"He should never be allowed near a teleprompter again!" declared the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez on Wednesday, while noting the governor had a much stronger performance on NBC's "The Today Show" the morning after his speech.

And on PBS' "The Newshour," conservative columnist David Brooks described the speech and the ideology it represented as "insane," "nihilist," and "a disaster for the Republican Party."

Generally an opposition party's response rarely wins wide praise. The location itself is a gigantic setback. While the President stands before a chamber full of opinionated, if at times grumbling old hags, hacks, and various partisan stalwarts who go about their usual jack-in-the-box applauding routine, the opposition response comes out of an ultra-quiet, usually depressing, and somber solitary room. The rebuttal is delivered straight into (what I suspect is) a locked camera, and if we're lucky we get the occasional slow push-in or pull-out on the zoom lens. That is, if the camera operator is awake.

But Jindal may be a victim of overhype and unrealistic expectations. The governor's impressive resume and compelling background have been touted to make him a natural fit to compete against the oratorically-skilled Obama. And let's face it, the prez is a hell of a tough act to follow, no matter what a cunning linguist one may be.

However, Jindal can take solace in the fact that in politics, one often gets to move on to Act 2. Some of the most prominent politicians still making waves today floundered on their first attempt in the national spotlight. Among them, former President Bill Clinton, whose speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention was immediately deemed a disaster, with many political chatterboxes predicting the end of his political career.

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