I’m sure this is going to come as a shock to my fellow writers here at Grand Rants, but you can count me as one who thought Bobby Jindal’s Republican Response to President Obama’s address to Congress was a disaster. It was painfully abysmal.
“Wait a second!” you’re probably saying. “He nailed it! Jindal absolutely nailed it! How can you say he was abysmal?”
My answer is, “Wake up and smell the coffee!” The era when substance, decency and honesty was enough to rally the American people behind you has passed. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself, “How did a virtual nobody emerge from the sludge of Chicago politics and, without accomplishing a damn thing in previous elected positions, wind up as President?”
How? He played America like the cheap ukulele we’ve become. As a nation, we no longer care about substance. We only care about packaging. How else do you explain the rise to power of Obama? Or the success of American Idol? Not just the hacks that pass as talent, but the enormous popularity of the show for six plus years. Substance? I think not.
Obama could have won the election by reading the phone book. He looked the part. He sounded like a pop star when he spoke. If he had the use of a teleprompter, women swooned and fainted. And he had one more very important plus: He had the American media on his side.
Anyone seen any actual substance in Obama yet? If so, please call me at 1-800-Where’s-The-Beef? and kindly inform me.
Jindal has none of that packaging. All he has is substance, a positive attitude, and a realistic approach to problem- solving. He has the foresight to realize accepting at least some of the monies from the Obama/Pelosi bailout porkulus crapulus stimulus bill would ultimately cost Louisiana more than it provides. Imagine that! Not one Democratic congressman read the 1,100 page bill before passing it, but Jindal has already read and dissected it enough to uncover the folly that awaits those who accept the funds, specifically in his state of Louisiana.
Nope. Nothing remotely Presidential there.
His appearance was embarrassing. Painfully. And it all has to do with his presentation. Who the hell came up with the idea of a Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood-style opening? The only thing he forgot to do was take off his coat and put on his sweater as he wished us a smarmy, feeble, “Happy Mardi Gras!”
During his entire address, it sounded like he was reading to a bunch of five-year-olds. Whoever his speaking coach is should be drawn and quartered. If you didn’t see the speech, here it is. I don’t blame you if you don’t get through it all. It’s hard to grasp the substance when all I can hear is, “Will you be my neighbor?” in his voice. But give it a shot. Your mileage may vary.
Here’s Jindal’s mistake: If he had been preaching to the choir, he may well have hit a home run. The man is sharp and intelligent beyond Obama (in every way but style and presentation, unfortunately). If you’re looking for substance, Bobby may just be the hope for the future of the Republican Party.
But Jindal wasn’t preaching to the choir last night. He was addressing the nation, the majority of which have proven they prefer style over substance. Obama is shrewd enough to recognize that and has almost as much charisma as Bill Clinton.
If Gov. Jindal hopes to be anything but a laughing stock to the very people he needs to get behind him, he’d better learn, and learn fast how to present himself in a manner other than a children’s talk show.
Keep the substance, Governor. That’s what’s really important in the end. But before you can ascend to the position you need to be in to help this nation, you have to appeal to the people and, sadly, that takes style, which was woefully absent in that speech. Sad but true, folks.
Here’s the saving grace for Jindal: I heard him being interviewed via phone by Sean Hannity last night. When he speaks in a normal conversational tone, Jindal comes across as intelligent, appealing, and as likeable as Barack Obama. If he can learn to use that voice when addressing crowds or making televised speeches, he can (and will) go far, and deservedly so.
The irony here, is that when Obama is on teleprompter, he is rock solid, but as soon as the teleprompter is turned off, he sounds like a stuttering boob. Conversely, when Jindal is on teleprompter, he comes off sounding like he’s reading to children. But when he’s OFF the teleprompter, he’s suave and believable.
I fear that all this speech has done is to awaken a sleeping giant in the writer’s staff of Saturday Night Live and filled him with a terrible resolve. If SNL leeches onto Jindal and portrays him repeatedly as he appears in the speech, he may as well kiss his higher political aspirations goodbye.
Fair? Of course not. But remember the state of our culture today. My advice to Bobby Jindal?
- Don’t schedule a national address immiately following “The Annointed One.” Obama is to smooth what you are to awkward. And, finally…
- Don’t schedule a speech opposite American Idol. Paula Abdul may love you, but nobody takes her seriously. Think Simon.