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Jindal Flubs Debut

Judging from a scan of memeorandum and my RSS feed, quite literally everyone writing about Bobby Jindal’s national coming out party, his Republican response to Obama’s non-State of the Union address, thought it was an epic fail.  Indeed, seemingly everyone came to the independent conclusion that his delivery was channeling moronic page Kenneth Parcell from “30 Rock.”

It’s great news for Tina Fey:  At least the cognoscenti are watching her show.

That ain’t good, however, if you’re hoping to establish yourself as a frontrunner for president in 2012.

What’s particularly interesting going through the RSS feed is that it confirms something I wrote earlier about reporting on “Remarks as Prepared for Delivery.” Namely, the reactions to the text of Jindal’s remarks were quite favorable, at least from the Republicans I read.  The reactions to the speech itself were universally awful especially from the Republicans I read.

The Next Right‘s Mathew Gagnon gives the most detailed breakdown of why the speech was awful.  It defies excerpting, so follow the link.

Alex Massie gives the best meta analysis of the lot:

I don’t know why Bobby Jindal, the Republican party’s Great Brown Hope, agreed to give the GOP response to Obama’s speech last night. Supposedly a privilege, this more often turns out to be a fools errand. Indeed, the only successful opposition response I can recall in recent years was given by Senator Jim Webb. Generally, however, the poor sap offered the chance to go up against the President is on a hiding to nothing: the man in charge has the full majesty of his office behind him; the opposition spokesman sits in a wee room on their own waiting for their chance to give a speech no-one is very interested in anyway…

Quite.  Indeed, I’ve always thought the idea of an opposition response speech was idiotic.

It should be noted, however, that blowing this speech — assuming that the pundits’ views and public perception line up — isn’t the end of the road for Jindal.   Bill Clinton’s big public debut, the 1988 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, was widely considered a bore and he came back nicely.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Didn’t listen. Wasn’t interested.

    I generally think that answering remarks to the SOTU are inappropriate and this was little different. I thought that when Bill Clinton was president; I thought it when George W. Bush was president; I think it now.

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  2. Triumph says:

    I thought Jindal was brilliant. We will need him to perform an exorcism on this country once B. Hussein starts screwing it up.

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  3. Franklin says:

    I just watched it. I would agree that he was given a tough job, and it seemed like a bad idea to introduce his life story as a “response” to a speech about the economic state of the country. Plus his mannerisms were distracting.

    But was it really THAT bad?

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  4. mw says:

    Jindal’s speech was very good…

    for Sarah Palin.

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  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Heaven forbid we judge a speech on content rather than delivery. It’s all about acting isn’t it? Substance? Who cares. Ideas? Yawn.

    Nobody remembers these responses over time. Jindal’s best bet is to be a good governor and keep working on policy ideas. I expect the country will be ready for a serious thinker rather than a showman next time around.

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  6. Michael says:

    Heaven forbid we judge a speech on content rather than delivery.

    It’s very hard to motivate people with content alone.

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  7. Dantheman says:

    Steve,

    “Heaven forbid we judge a speech on content rather than delivery.”

    Since the content was just a rehash of Republican talking points, which could have been made at any time in the last 30 years, there’s remarkably little to say on the content. For those who buy the Republican brand, they would agree with the content. For those who do not, and the last two elections show that increasing numbers of Americans do not, it gave no reason to support the Republicans.

    On the other hand, since Jindal is considered a rising star of the Republican party, his ability to give a prime time speech is at least somewhat important and worth commenting on.

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  8. Bithead says:

    It wasn’t really that bad, but a coupe things… and remember, I used to make my living behind a mike.

    I’ve seen Jindal perform before, and think him usually fairly comfortable in high exposure situations. It’s my view Jindal was over-coached, and thereby over-nervous.

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  9. Michael says:

    Jindal also suffered from high expectations. He is a “rising star” and a “Rhodes Scholar” as we keep hearing, so the expectation was that we should be blown away by him. I suspect that had Orin Hatch given this exact same speech, while not being lauded, it certainly wouldn’t be so strongly criticized.

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  10. Raoul says:

    It is definitely a tough place to be and it will probably not have any long term consequences, UNLESS, this is how he really is!

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  11. Janis Gore says:

    No, Gov. Jindal is usually like this.

    He typically has a rapid-fire delivery which also wouldn’t have played that well in the speech.

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  12. Our Paul says:

    In a word, it was Godawfull. Here is a snip we can contemplate, delivered with all the rhetorical flourish of somebody zonked out on valium reading an obituary:

    While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a “magnetic levitation” line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called “volcano monitoring.” Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

    And there you have the whole shooting match. A sneer at 300 million for new cars, and a failure to mention that this is targeted for hybrid and energy efficient vehicles.

    The big lie, once again, about a high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Dinsneyland. The Federal Railroad Administration has designated corridors for high-speed rail. In neither the Stimulus Bill, or in the designated corridors do the Vegas to Disneyland corridor exist.

    And of course, a the Republican disdain for all things science, in this case earth science, frivolously labeled as for something called “volcano monitoring.”

    Bah, humbug. The standard Republican speech, pan attempts at energy conservation, the big lie to cheer on the faithful, and who needs science, when we got God…

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  13. [...] we’re making pop culture references (Bobby Jindal as Kenneth Purcell), I’m reminded of Star Trek’s Pavel Checkov (Walter Koenig), who routinely made such [...]

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  14. [...] can follow the President of the United States and come off looking small and petty. Alex Massie, James Joyner, and Bruce McQuain all make similar [...]

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  15. Republican Disasters says:

    What Janis Gore said… exactly correct.

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  16. Republican Disasters says:

    Sorry, NOT Janice Gore… I ment “Posted by Our Paul”.

    And of course, a the Republican disdain for all things science, in this case earth science, frivolously labeled as for something called “volcano monitoring.”

    It’s amazing to me how the “liberal MSM” does not bother to ask him about his goal that creationism be taught in science class.

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  17. For Paul says:

    “..in neither the designated corridors do the Vegas to Disneyland corridor exist.”

    Las Vegas-Anaheim Maglev Project

    “Intensive pre-construction planning for this project was initiated in 1999 by a public/private partnership formed for the purpose of building a 269.1 mile Maglev system between Las Vegas, Nevada and Anaheim, California…The termini at Las Vegas and Anaheim represent two of the most active tourist destinations in the United States (gaming casinos and entertainment attractions in Las Vegas, and Disneyland in Anaheim)”

    Pg. 57
    Care to keep playing Mr. Hawking?

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  18. Our Paul says:

    Good grief, I must have taken a bite out of correspondent For Paul ( February 25, 2009 | 05:13 pm ) nose for he truly seems out of sort, and he is unable to comprehend simple sentences. To wit:

    The big lie, once again, about a high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Disneyland. The Federal Railroad Administration has designated corridors for high-speed rail. In neither the Stimulus Bill, or in the designated corridors do the Vegas to Disneyland corridor exist.

    Now then, I presented evidence, including a map, of where the Federal Railroad Administration recommends high-speed rail. The Vegas Disneyland line is not mentioned. Nor is there any mention of this high-speed line between the two cities in the in the Stimulus bill. Why then are the Republican luminaries, such as Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and Bobby Jindal, beating the drum against a non-existing program? Are these guys miss-informed, and just simply ignorant, or are they lying to the American public for political capital?

    By the way, the two pdf files that For Paul presented are irrelevant to the discussion. But then, that is what we in the The Bronx recognize as the old shell game.

    For those who are confused about the whole controversy, my suggestion is to ride the rails in Europe, and compare them to those in the United States, and then on to those of Mexico and other selected South American countries. You will not need bananas on Euro-Rail.

    PS: Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), for those of you who may not remember, made his bones in the GOP by distributing checks from the Tobacco Industry on the floor of the House of Representatives

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  19. tom p says:

    For those who are confused about the whole controversy, my suggestion is to ride the rails in Europe, and compare them to those in the United States, and then on to those of Mexico and other selected South American countries.

    I will say this about Mexico, our paul, one can get just about any where down there via bus. It isn’t always so pleasant, but it can be done.

    Just try to get to Spotted Horse WY some time guys… it can’t be done w/o a vehicle.

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  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    It’s very hard to motivate people with content alone.

    But not hard at all to motivate dumb people without any.

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  21. Michael says:

    But not hard at all to motivate dumb people without any.

    But even very smart people need a to be motivated to action. There are lots of facts out there, people are very selective as to which ones cause them to take action. Jindals speech, from what I have seen so far, gave no cause for action.

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