You know how, sometimes when you’re visiting with friends and the evening is drawing long toward the wee hours and the conversation seems to have stretched beyond its utility, things that could have been said and perhaps should have been said didn’t get said? My two-page February 25 submission, Bobby — we hardly knew ye, a reaction to Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address to the joint session of congress and the American public, was kinda like that.
A thoughtful reader sent a link to me that was a summary of Bobby Jindal by pundit Michael Gerson: “Jindal has the ability to overwhelm any topic with facts and thoughtful arguments -- displaying a mastery of detail that encourages confidence.”
If it was my nature, I’d say ‘Amen’ to Gerson’s analysis, and leave it at that. Alas, it is not. I disagree with Gerson on one part, and wholeheartedly agree on another. The former part, the “overwhelming” part is clearly not the case. I genuinely doubt many in America felt at all overwhelmed. On the other, the part about “facts and thoughtful arguments,” I couldn’t possibly agree with Gerson more. Unfortunately, for Republicans, the “facts and thoughtful arguments” by which Jindal encouraged confidence served only to reinforce the argument that the American electorate chose the correct path when it swept the GOP out of nearly every office in the land.
In his response to Obama and the Democrats, Jindal attempted to use his State of Louisiana as evidence that tax-cutting was an effective, as well as the preferred, strategy for combating the economic miasma plaguing the country. Hmm. The governor, one of three — all Southern, by the way — who said “No thanks” to the portion of federal funds intended as an unemployment compensation assist because it was a wasteful use of funds that only served to promote indolence, likely didn’t consult any of the unemployed in his state.
Furthermore, especially to the tax-cutting thing, it might be fruitful to recollect he is governor of the citizens of New Orleans: the 2008 MURDER CAPITOL OF THE U.S.!! (Washington, DC, Oakland and Detroit offer their sincere gratitude to Jindal’s Big Easy.) The friends and relatives of the victims just might have preferred a greater and more professional law enforcement presence than lower taxes.
(On a note of personal observation, I have stared into the impenetrable murky brown that passes for water in Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, and I’d take swigs from both before I’d swallow what Bobby was decanting.)
Jindal also said that an answer to our energy problems was an echo of John McCain’s “Drill, baby, drill.” A thoughtful PBS presentation a few nights ago, PetroApocalypse Now, was a gathering of testimony from a variety of the world’s most influential mineralogists, petrochemical engineers, and statisticians — including several from the Arab oil producers — that considered whether the planet has passed “peak oil.” Some claimed peak oil occurred in the late 70s. Others said that apex was five to fifteen years in front of us. The Arab producers claimed supply would hold steady for another 100 to 150 years. (It’s important to recognize the self-interest that inheres in the Arab estimates, estimates the producers have never permitted to be audited and which all others suggest over-estimate reserves by at least 30%!) There was one conclusion all agreed upon, most particularly as it concerned drilling in US territories and off-shore: Regardless how much of the activity is engaged, there will occur no demonstrable increase in supply!
The governor, in response to the medical care delivery crisis that has become an arrow to the heart of American business and the population, said that “Healthcare decisions should be made between doctors and their patients, not by government bureaucrats.” For those who have had need of critical medical care, or who know someone who has, or who know a doctor whose specialty frequently recommends therapies, not all of which can always be found in the computerized flow-charts the insurance company clerks read from, the medical decisions are already not between the “doctors and their patients.”
Prior to my retirement a few years ago, I spent a decade and a half as a licensed and appointed representative authorized to transact health insurance contracts on behalf of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United, Aetna and others. Approximately 30¢ of every $1.00 in paid premium goes to administrative costs and profit. It buys not a cent of healthcare. We pay more than any other country in the industrialized world, yet we have the very worst results to show for it.
“The way to improve the economy,” according to Governor Jindal, “is to cut spending in government.” Other than for defense and for the entitlement programs, ever since Ronald Reagan assumed office, that is precisely what has been going on in the US. And what has it brought us? Michael Milken, Charles Keating, the S&L meltdown that cost taxpayers $200 billion in Reagan dollars, Enron, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, salmonella, poisoned dog food, lethal peanut butter, Bernard Madoff’s $50 BILLION ponzi ripoff, the Wall Street and financial industry’s rip-off that has catapulted the entire world into the black-hole whirlpool where it now finds itself.
The “Americans can do anything!” mantra that Jindal used even included a review of our history. He resurrected the victories over the challenges of the Great Depression, both world wars, and civil rights as evidence. And I thank him most sincerely for doing so. Each and every victory he cited was directly under and due exclusively to Democratic leadership! It was and remains today’s Republican Party — what had been, until the distaste for equal rights among all citizens prompted the mass exodus to the GOP and its manifestly iniquitous, debauched, shamelessly reprobate “Southern strategy,” the “segregation now/segregation forever” Southern Wing of the Democratic Party, the Solid South, Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrats — that is in open opposition to the sort of progressive, problem solving leadership Jindal was cheering.
Understand, I am not attempting here, nor will I anywhere attempt to diminish the achievements or intellect of Louisiana’s current governor. My college degree is from California State University, Hayward (since renamed Cal-State East Bay). While a fine enough institution, it is not by any measurement the least equivalent with Brown University, and certainly not Oxford, where Jindal attended as a Rhodes Scholar.
It’s just that, try as he did, for every point he tried to raise for Republicans, he set in concrete the reasons no one — whether in an on-air or cable broadcast, or in the workplace, or one’s own home — should pay them either a moment’s respect for their thoughts or the first particle of a moment of one’s time. That’s because, as Jindal conclusively demonstrated, their time has past, if it ever should have been.
— Ed Tubbs