After nominating Sarah Palin for VP in an attempt to copy a move towards gender equality, after electing a black RNC chief in an attempt to become more diverse, the Republicans have looked to Bobby Jindal who some are calling the "Republican Obama", for leadership.
Last night Jindal delivered the GOP response to Obama's speech. My wife thought Jindal's affected speaking tone made him seem creepy and weird. Remember the Republicans are looking for votes after the Bush administration almost doubled the foreign debt and was caught by surprise when our domestic economy tanked.
The GOP spent two terms playing out all their conservative economic theories - tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, reducing entitlements. This led to a complete economic meltdown which simply cannot be pinned on others - the left screamed the whole way at the 2006 Democratic majority for approving Bush's war appropriations and refusing to investigate.
So the GOP needs to take ownership, but instead are looking to shift blame. Jindal sounded like Grimer Wormtongue when he suggested the mistake the GOP made was following the Democrats in spending too much. Since we all lived through it, we know this is a lie - the spending came from Bush through wars, stimulus checks and revolving door crony contracts in every sector.
So I was waiting to hear the new way out - a plan to rectify the financial crisis, some strategy to spark the economy of the future.
Instead, we heard some of Reagan's most defeatist quotes. Government is the problem, he said. This is one thing coming from a truck driver, but when the GOVERNMENT is saying it, isn't it basically admitting failure? If Reagan believed government was the problem, why the hell didn't he get in there and fix it during his 8 years as President? His administration instead overspent and overborrowed, making his own fiscal stewardship the biggest "government" problem that would compromise us for generations.
Reagan and the Bushes signed off on about 8 trillion of our current debt, while Carter and Clinton signed off on about 2 trillion. But the current strategy for winning back the American people seems to be denial instead of taking responsibility.
If Jindal agrees "government is the problem", what is he doing about it besides complaining? What he showed last night was that he can criticize the other guys, but how is that leadership? I heard no specifics, no innovative strategies and nothing that compared to Obama's clear-cut plans: middle-class tax cuts, boosting the alternative energy and manufacturing sectors and reforming health care, the auto industry, reinvesting in infrastructure and education and reducing spending in Iraq.
Jindal reiterated the same conservative economic principles that failed before our eyes and the voters just rejected. If "government is the problem", isn't the solution to introduce greater transparency and accountability?
Then, Jindal even tried a slimy Nixonian media manipulation that was so condescending, I suspect even Sean Hannity supporters could see through it. He took an Obama statement out-of-context to make it sound like Obama felt our economy would fail, implying Obama was predicting irreversible failure. Jindal then instructed us don't allow anyone to tell us we can't succeed. My intelligence was insulted, coming off Obama's full speech in which he clearly had a positive and forward-looking message spelling out middle class tax relief and fiscal responsibility.
Indeed, Jindal felt Congressional Dems voted on a stimulus bill they hadn't even read - though Jindal's criticism of the same package didn't show that he'd read it either, claiming it was "larded" with pork but I started laughing when Jindal began listing the projects he thought were unnecessary and wasteful, such as mag-lev rail projects and volcano monitoring. The country is in such dire straits today, almost any shovel-ready project that creates blue-collar jobs is better than handing cash to unaccountable, greedy, failed bankers - but the projects Jindal cited had solid short and long-term financial benefits, making Jindal like just another parrot in the Fox/Newt/Hannity misinformation echo chamber.
It's not easy to follow Barack Obama addressing the nation, but Jindal sounded ridiculous asking for the people's trust without offering any new policy points to go on. Then, trying Karl Rove-style dirty tricks instead of leveling with the people sends the message that the GOP is stuck in an ugly partisan rut and hasn't started giving the awakened American public credit for understanding the workings of the economy and what's best to do about it.
Jindal hasn't got the sense to tell his new handlers that all the sliming backfired in November. He should continue with his own practical solutions and good-natured nerdiness.
"The government is the problem" is not a plan, especially coming from the government.