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God Help the GOP

February 25, 2009

Governor Jindal did himself no service last night. His response to the grand piece of oratory provided by our 44th President, Barack Obama was pedestrian. Jindal is thought by many to represent the coming greatness of the Republican party, but last night he failed to prove that he could stand opposite to President Obama as the voice of national opposition for republicans.

If you didn’t see it, I can best describe it as reminescent of a bad Barney Fife impression. Overtly attempting to be folksy and familiar – failing at both. But to me the most discouraging parts of the GOP response were there refusal to offer new ideas or direction as they contiued to force feed the nation a dose of fiscal conservatism in the form of “tax cuts”. Gov. Jindal decried every new path sought, even the most widely bipartisan with a red meat filled bashing of government involvement, which will do nothing but stoke the embers of a dying base.

It’s beneficial, I think to look at it from an unjaded perspective. So let us listen to one of the GOP’s stallwart voices in the media, The New York Times columnist David Brooks:

I oppose the stimulus because I thought it was poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with a stale “government is the problem,” “we can’t trust the federal government” — it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea … that government is going to have no role, the federal government has no role in this … it’s just a form of nihilism. It’s just not where the country is, it’s not where the future of the country is. There’s an intra-Republican debate.”

That my friends is a scathing rebuke by a sympathetic voice.

Another shamelessly tried ploy by Gov. Jindal was to use Katrina as a bludgeon against government interventionism. Apparently the Governor of Louisiana wasn’t watching the same TV screens as the rest of the world, or he would know that it was the federal governments lack of response and intervention that cost us hundreds of lives. He seems to forget that FEMA didn’t come, while people died stranded on the roof tops of flooding homes, that there was a botched recovery effort because of lack of federal assistance and control of aide on the ground.  And not least, he selectively failed to stamp his rebuke of Katrina’s handling with a loud diclaimer: “This continued crisis brought to you courtesy of a Republican Executive!”

God help the GOP, because if that response is evidence of their intentions, they aren’t going to help themselves.

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