Last night, Gov. Bobby Jindal gave one of the most tepid and embarrassing N(non)SOTU responses these eyes have seen. Not only did he offer no new solutions from a party struggling to find itself after two crushing cycles of defeats that have left them without the House, Senate or White House…he also stumbled on his first big introduction to the American people.
Clearly, the GOP wants a new messenger to deliver an old message and that was evident last night. For example, take this passage from Jindal’s speech:
To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you – the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything.
Huh? Empowering you? Who is you? Are ‘you’ one of the 600,000 people who lost their job last month? Are ‘you’ one of the 7.6% of Americans who are out of work? Are ‘you’ able to suck it up and just deal? No, ‘you’ are probably one of the 95% of Americans who will receive a tax cut from the stimulus legislation and ‘you’ are looking to the President and his party to help lift this country out of the ruins of this crushing economic meltdown. These smears on Democrats and false statements from GOP leaders don’t help the GOP move their agenda or their message down the road. They lose credibility because they are tone-deaf. They don’t need a smiley new messenger, they need to re-tool their agenda and present solutions.
I’m not sure how this plays in middle-America, but from where I sit, the speech fell flat. Considering Jindal has already visited Iowa and is expected to seek the GOP nomination in 2012 – this was a failure to launch.
Jason Linkins from the Huffington Post made a perfect comparison and one that I made to my fellow speech watchers during Jindal’s performance. Jason writes:
If it wasn’t such a dead-on comparison it would be catty to say out loud…but there’s no denying it: Bobby Jindal was totally channeling Kenneth The Page from NBC’s 30 Rock tonight. (With maybe a touch of “Moviefone guy.”)
Seriously, it’s uncanny. Close your eyes and see if you can detect any specific difference between Jindal’s opening paragraphs…
…and this special web-extra from 30 Rock, featuring Kenneth.