Last night Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was interviewed by Morley Safer on "60 Minutes." Safer had begun by stating that Jindal had indicated he was not at this juncture ready for "prime time" in his response to Barack Obama's first presidential speech before both houses of Congress.
While Jindal revealed an upbeat side that so many growling, curmudgeonly figures of the Republican right have not been displaying, when the former Rhodes Scholar and boy wonder of Louisiana politics was asked to discuss what the future holds for his party, he segued into the same rationale as earlier delivered in his response to Obama.
In Jindal's speech the governor who was in office when the Katrina disaster occurred delivered the same scolding reference to the federal government as an enemy so prevalent among right wing Republicans, albeit with the kind of sunny tone associated with another major Republican figure.
Many pundits questioned Jindal's comment in view of the fact that federal government funds kept many Katrina victims alive.
Then, in the Sunday interview with Safer, Jindal dropped what many Republicans, with presumably the Louisianan as well, regard as the silver bullet that will lead to continuing party success.
Jindal mentioned Ronald Reagan as a model for Republican success. Is this real continuity for the twenty-first century?
At a time when most Americans according to all major national polls believe that the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model of more national government to stimulate a shattered economy is the feasible road to traverse, we see a Republican spokesperson considered a major candidate for his party's presidential nomination in 2012 singing an ancient tune that was well borrowed when Reagan used it.
Reagan did nothing more than give a bright, cheery face and the professional delivery of a seasoned actor and public speaker to the failed "trickle down economics" theory that brought ultimate Depression after being followed by three Republican presidents in a row during a cycle from 1921 to 1933, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.
At the same time, the smiling, congenial, albeit failed economic ideas, remains the sunny side of the Republican Party. The darker side was revealed by Allen Keyes and speakers at the recently concluded annual Republican Political Action Committee Convention.
Keyes, no doubt still smarting from an overwhelming senatorial defeat against Obama in 2004, charged in a throwback to the vile McCarthy period that the nation's current president, replete with a better than 60 percent approval rating, is a "Communist" and that if he is not stopped that America as we know it will be destroyed.
In the same vein, Sean Hannity on his website ran a poll that played into the same kind of paranoiac posture exemplified by Keyes. Hannity's poll asked readers to vote on what kind of revolution they would prefer to come to America.
Cliff Kincaid, "media analyst" who has long proclaimed that a left wing media conspiracy is tearing at the fiber of America, told Republican Political Action Committee delegates that the nation's current chief executive was not born in America. This would make him ineligible to serve as president according to the U.S. Constitution.
This shameful deception was presumably put to rest last year when a copy of Obama's birth certificate, verifying that he was born in the U.S. state of Hawaii, was run on the World Wide Web. At that point even the staunchly rightist website World Net Daily accepted that reality.
Kincaid's tartly delivered comment served as the kind of red meat that CPAC delegates were eager to devour, however, despite an absence of verification. It was reminiscent of those days in the fifties when Senator Joe McCarthy would stand up in the Senate and proclaim the current number of Communists in the U.S. State Department, varying the figure repeatedly.
The idea is that you keep throwing mud and hope that some of it sticks. That appears to be the grand strategy emerging from the CPAC convention and shabby efforts as exemplified by Cliff Kincaid and Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina, who delivered his own wild appraisal in calling Obama "the world's best salesman of socialism."