“Bobby Jindal’s Neighborhood” Just Won’t Hack It

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.

Gerry Ashley


3 Responses to “Bobby Jindal’s Neighborhood” Just Won’t Hack It

  1. Tom Jones says:

    Gov. Jindal is a creationist. I have a problem with that
    if he wants to be President.

  2. […] “Bobby Jindal’s Neighborhood” Just Won’t Hack It « Grand Rants […]

  3. Gerry Ashley says:


    Thanks for your comment. I understand where you’re coming from, but you must then also have a problem with the vast majority of Presidents this country has ever had.

    For discussion’s sake, I’ll use the term “Creationist” as defined by Wikipedia:

    “Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or deities.”

    Using that as a definition, I would say that the vast majority of our Presidents have been creationists. Our country was founded by those who believed in the deity. In fact, the surest way for a person to be eliminated as a serious contender for political office is to stand up and say, “I am NOT a creationist. I don’t believe this was all created by God.”

    I think you will be waiting for a very long time before such a candidate steps forward with any chance of winning anything above the level of county dog catcher. That’s not to suggest you are wrong, but merely the make-up of our society.

    Without tipping my hat either way on the issue, I WILL say that we need a leader who is intelligent enough to understand the logic behind the theory of evolution, the sanctity of the concept of creationism and possesses the intelligence to not let either play too central a role his or her decisions onhow to move this country forward in a way that supports our Constitution rather than tearing it down. I think Jindal would be a great leader in that sense, given a little more time to mature and build a power base for the next election. I just think he needs to better understand what kind of “package” the voters respond to. Obama did it, with NO perceptable governing capabilities, proving that governing experience alone won’t do it.

    I’m just curious, however… who do you see as a good potential leader and, more important, why? I think this would make for an interesting exchange.

    Thanks again for your comment, Tom.

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