The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 February 2009

Talk Radio, Blogs Assess Governor Jindal's Performance


Conservatives Assess Louisiana Governor's Prospects


A gifted young Republican governor touted by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk hosts made his debut on the national stage Tuesday evening, giving many viewers their first chance to assess his future political potential.

Delivering the Republican Response to Barack Obama's speech, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, 37, introduced himself and his reconfigured party to Americans for the first time. In many ways, it was the more important performance of the two, given the unbearable overexposure of the former and relative obscurity of the latter.

So far, conservative websites have given Jindal mixed reviews, but focus group participants interviewed by Fox News were far more positive, as were commenters at Jindal's Facebook page. True to form, many Obama-supporting cable and network news pundits were harshly critical.

At her site, Michelle Malkin called Jindal's task a "can't win" situation.

Much of the news coverage so far mentions Limbaugh's ongoing support. In today's Washington Post, for example, Michael Gerson describes Jindal's standing this way:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- who delivered the Republicans' Fat Tuesday response to President Obama -- might be voted the man least likely to let the good times roll. Slight, earnest, deeply religious and supremely wonkish, Jindal resembles neither his flamboyant predecessors as governor nor his reveling, 30-something contemporaries on Bourbon Street. Somehow the hall-monitoring, library-inhabiting, science-fair-winning class president has seized control of the Big Easy. And his coup has been an inspiration to policy geeks everywhere.

At a recent meeting of conservative activists, Jindal had little to say about his traditional social views or compelling personal story. Instead, he uncorked a fluent, substantive rush of policy proposals and achievements, covering workforce development, biodiesel refineries, quality assurance centers, digital media, Medicare parts C and D, and state waivers to the CMS (whatever that is).

Some have compared Jindal to Obama, but the new president has always been more attracted to platitudes than to policy. Rush Limbaugh has anointed Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan." But Reagan enjoyed painting on a large ideological canvas. In person, Jindal's manner more closely resembles another recent president: Bill Clinton. Like Clinton (a fellow Rhodes scholar), Jindal has the ability to overwhelm any topic with facts and thoughtful arguments -- displaying a mastery of detail that encourages confidence. Both speak of complex policy issues with the world-changing intensity of a late-night dorm room discussion.

And al-Reuters reporter Thomas Ferraro delivered this assessment:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising star of the Republican party, on Tuesday said the answer to America's problems lay in its citizens and not in big government.

Jindal, often cited as a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2012, gave the party's rebuttal to a speech by President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress and accused the Democrat of spreading doom, gloom and big-spending policies that will fuel recessionary fires.

"Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover -- or that America's best days are behind her," Jindal said.

"The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and enterprising spirits of our citizens," he said.

"The way to lead is by empowering you - the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything."

Jindal, 37, often draws comparisons to the 47-year old Obama. The son of Indian immigrants, Jindal is viewed as young, bright and charismatic -- someone who could reinvigorate the Republican party and make it more attractive to minorities, who voted overwhelmingly Democratic in last year's election.

Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, one of the most influential Republicans, has likened Jindal to former president Ronald Reagan, a party hero who exhorted Americans to "believe in ourselves."

At NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard notes MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's inappropriate outburst as Jindal took to the microphone. Here's the clip:

Your Radio Equalizer believes Jindal did just fine once he became a bit more comfortable with the camera. While this was his first real national exposure, Barack Obama has had plenty of time to polish his stage act. No one should have expected their oratory skills to match up.

But what America needs is real policy-based leadership, not just a guy who can deliver a great speech. Jindal's "wonkish" strength on the issues (as opposed to Obama's vague, mindless platitudes) makes him a prime contender for 2012. That gives him plenty of time to upgrade his campaigning skills.

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  • It's no wonder Flush Limbowel Obstruction ... admires Jumpin Jindal he's young, cute and fit...They speak the same language Obstructionism . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 February, 2009 04:26  

  • I like the the description of him as "deeply religious"; in his own writings, he has admitted participating in an exorcism. If you think Mitt Romney's nutty religion was a roadblock, and Sara Palin's "blessing" to protect her from witchcraft were campaign fodder, wait until people learn about Bobby's beliefs!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 February, 2009 15:19  

  • Jindel is what Arnold would call a "girly man"

    a total joke.

    please run him in 2012, he is the next Ronald Reagan (if Ronald Reagan was a feminine Indian guy)

    Jindal/Palin 2012

    a LOCK!!!
    exactly what America is looking for! Rush nails it again !!!! hahahaahahahaah
    HOME RUN!!! America loves Jindel!!!! and Palin !!!!!

    the savior of conservatism!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 February, 2009 16:23  

  • I've been wasting too much time watching fox's coverage, although thankfully, i was there to add an "oh god" comment for that network as Jindal eerily crawled from out of the darkness

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 February, 2009 22:08  

  • Not the "conservatives'" finest hour.

    This is the main reason they must not be permitted to regain power.

    Between Jindal and Steele, the right's only response to our current national catastrophe, is to emulate the Dems, and float empty suits and tokens of their own...

    It's the IDEOLOGY, stupids!

    "Conservatives" have not been able to move past the warm fuzzies of Ronald Reagan, and they have no solutions to cope with today's unprecedented national challenges, as a result.

    Rush and his clones are sadly mistaken, for jumping on this crazy train, precisely when the country needs a clear, rational voice of opposition, and strong leadership, that will stand up to the current administration's foolish excesses.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 February, 2009 08:37  

  • please, please, please run Jindal in 2012. that way, democrats can continue to work on fixing the country instead of campaigning, because there is no way this freak would ever win. Jindal / Palin 2012!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 February, 2009 09:58  

  • Oh, and let's not forget Jindal LIED

    to make his anti-government screed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2009 14:25  

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