While I don’t automatically find myself a fan of the at least formerly rising young Republican political star Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, in half-hearted defense of a much panned (by both Democrats and Republicans) reaction speech to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, and from what little I bothered to take in of it on YouTube, he just spouted off the traditional and predictable Republican conservative line.
I only watched a little bit of his introductory remarks. I understand he did not offer any alternative program to that of Obama’s. That of course, would be the major flaw in what you might call a rebuttal statement.
It just seemed to me that I ought to actually at least see and hear some of his presentation after simply following the crowd and panning it as I kind of did (by relaying their reaction) in a P.s. In my previous blog.
While I couldn’t get myself to listen to the full deal, I will note the following:
I may be getting this more from what I read about his remarks than what I actually saw, but he did seem to come off as kind of condescending, like he was trying to explain something to little kids. I forgive him. The public likes simple messages (Democrats: yes we can/Republicans: just say no).
He said Republicans have the responsibility to offer better ideas (but apparently didn’t go on to offer any of any substance – except perhaps lower taxes and incentives for business, the old Republican standby).
And he offered that old bromide that the strength of America is its people, not the government. That line is a kind of meaningless one. It’s kind of like saying the American government or the military did not win World War II, it was the soldiers and the citizens who supported them. Maybe they could just say: “everyone can’t just live off the government”. But then if all of our elected officials took that to heart, they’d have to quit their jobs.
(I do realize that part of the Republican/conservative theory is that the government should take as little as possible from its citizens in the way of taxes, thus allowing them to take care of themselves, but following that line of thinking you wind up with the pure Libertarian philosophy, which basically sees government as a record-keeping facility that keeps track of who owns what. I somehow doubt any mondern day Republicans want that, Ron Paul excluded because he is really Libertarian.)
So, I really have not come to any conclusion on Bobby Jindal (he just didn’t stink as much as I was led to believe). He did tell a story about his folks running a small business and meeting all their obligations. Kind of sounded a little like the, albeit inarguably evil, much misunderstood Richard Nixon, son of hardworking small business people, self-made man who felt uncomfortable in the elite circles of the wealthy, but liberal (have not read up on the Jindal story yet).
The Republicans had six years of domination of the White House and Congress and eight straight years control over the administrative branch, turning a Democratically led balanced budget to a deficit, and reversing the policy of paying down the national debt to one of piling on more with borrowed money from China (and elsewhere). It is hard for any Republican now to make a case that they are the answer or have the answer to our current economic emergency.
In the common political parlance, Republican and conservative are synonymous (even though sometime in the past there used to be talk of liberal Republicans (Nelson Rockefeller) or progressive Republicans (Theodore Roosevelt).
But what kind of conservatives would let our national debt and our yearly budgets get so out of control? What kind of conservatives would join with liberals and induce a whole nation to live way beyond its means only to find that ultimately the piper demands that he be paid?
Right now, no one seems to know for sure what to do. Our economy is like Humpty Dumpty, and all the Kings horses and all the kings men can’t put it back together again.
If we were a nation of shopkeepers and conservative Republicans actually practiced what they preached, they might have more credibility.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but we (and don’t be insulted if you don’t fit into the mold; I’m talking population in total) are a nation of employees and consumers and through our own bad decisions and practices and through the bad decisions and practices of our own government we have come to the state we are in today.
Time for all folks of all persuasions, liberal and progressive, conservative, middle of the road (non committal), to reassess.
I’m not quite sure why some of Gov. Jindal’s own Republican colleagues panned his speech – maybe they’re just jockeying for position or maybe they were embarrassed that their party seems to offer little in the way of new ideas or constructive alternatives to the Democrats.