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February 25, 2009

Can Gov. Bobby Jindal Recover?

I confess. After President Obama's address last night, the place I watched it at closed right before Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's response. So I'm confined to the blogs and Twitter, but even conservatives are saying his delivery needs work.

New York Times columnist David Brooks called it "stale" and "insane" and "a disaster for the Republican Party." (h/t Ben Smith, Politico)

That's unfortunate for Jindal, considering what Brooks told me last week.

Are there other evangelicals you would like to see more of?

I liked Mike Huckabee's campaign. There [are] a bunch of governors who are committed Christians as well as very modern, sophisticated politicians like Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. The people will naturally emerge, I think.

Over at Beliefnet, Rod Dreher makes a religious comparison.

Bobby Jindal was a total disappointment. He was badly over-rehearsed; Matthew, my kid, watched with me and said, "He sounds totally artificial. He sounds like a televangelist." I can't improve on that description. It sounded like that to me too.

On the other hand, Mike Gerson writes on a more positive note for the Washington Post.

It is also an indication of what has been called the "ecumenism of the trenches" -- the remarkable alliance between evangelicals and Catholics on moral issues such as abortion and family values against an aggressive secularism. ... If Jindal runs for president in three or seven years, he will be widely viewed as an evangelical choice.

There is an interesting similarity between Jindal and Kenneth from 30 Rock I couldn't help noticing.

Update: A few of our Twitter followers responded to this blog post. Here are a few replies:

tnhuckaby@CTmagazine I thought he did fine.
sherylshearer@CTmagazine So one poor performance ruins a politician? Plueeze. Way to show grace.
bwscoles@CTmagazine Too bad you printed this. Jindal's strength is substance not delivery. Seems for a "Christian" mag, that should be your focus.

Update #2: Turns out, I wasn't the only one who thought 30 Rock's Kenny and Jindal had some similarities. Here's Kenny's response to the Internet's response to Jindal's response to Obama's speech.


What was the similarity you kept noticing?

I would love to see CT explore what a conservative Catholic candidate really thinks and feels about evangelical churches before you embrace this potential candidate and wax euphoric about the liaison of the Catholic and evangelical conservatives. I think some readers might be surprised -- our way of faith is not welcome.

Evangelicals judging a politican merely on how delivery of a political speech v. substance? Seems to be a trend i.e. voting for Obama. Perhaps that is the new "scandel of the Evangelical mind."

I know why liberals are attacking Jindal for his speech, it is because they feel threatened. But why are conservatives attacking this man? You didn't like his "presentation"? Well, what about his hair? His suit? His accent? Did he blink the right amount of times? My questions sound rather silly, so what really matters here? I think he did a fantastic job, it was a fantastic speech - he was reading the teleprompter - so what? He had practiced it, probably a lot (who wouldn't?). And I found him quite sincere because I have taken the time to research his history I KNOW he is sincere. We already have a charismatic leader in Obama, now how about one with substance? and great REAL workable ideas?

The real "scandal" is that committed Christians have the reputation for swallowing everything the GOP has told us over the years....GOP doesn't stand for "God's Own party"--it never has, and it never will.

I am a little disappointed by this article. It basically lack substance and more like a left blog. If anything, you should at least have a deeper analysis of the content. Shame on CT.

The problem wasn't only with his delivery. To be sure, he could not get past the kindergarten voice with which he told the story of his father, but this was not the central problem. The problem, as I see it, is that he kept on with the refrain, "Americans can do anything." He must be cognizant of the fact that this "can do anything" attitude is in some way responsible for how we landed in this mess to begin with, the idea being that we can do anything provided we can do it on credit. Moreover, he opened his rebuttal by stating that we must conserve. What's the tacit premise of this assertion? That we cannot, in fact, do anything. Moreover, Catholic moral theology would take serious issue with much of this "can do anything" attitude, not only with things that are patently illegal or immoral, but which conflict with the prior requirements of the gospel. Again, we have been living as though we can do anything for too long. While he provided glimmers of clear, rigorous and creative thinking, he really offered up little in the way of substance.

You could have had Reagan recite the same tired talking points that Gov. Jindal used in his speech. It wouldn't have made a difference. I think it's starting sink in that Republican economic policy is not part of the cannon. How many times can you say "tax cuts" and magically expect a deliverance from all your economic problems?
If you think government is the problem you will staff it with idiots and hangers on and crow when it fails to deliver.
Let's up the bar to elect really smart, qualified people (dare I say elite?) to straighten out the mess we're in. Sara Palin need not apply.

The only reason Obama won the election was because of style .....the press picked up on this early and rode their pony all the way to the finish line. Obama won with hardly taking a stand on any issue other than Iraq which later became a non issue. He has NO SUBSTANCE at all. His first days in office have proved that. America ot what they voted for; a handsome, articulate black African American president. The question is does he have the brains needed to pull this country out of the mess its in ?

God help us all !!

C Johnson
Columbus, OH