From The New York Times:
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has been a rising star in the Republican Party, but his stock took a hit as he was roundly panned for his televised response to President Obama’s first speech to Congress on Tuesday night.
Conservative commentators were among the harshest critics, calling Mr. Jindal’s delivery animatronic, his prose “cheesy” and his message — that federal spending is not the answer to the nation’s economic problems — uninspired.
Well, not all conservative commentators! There’s one guy who can’t get enough of Bobby J!
Laura Ingraham, the talk radio host; David Brooks, the New York Times columnist; and Juan Williams of Fox News were among Mr. Jindal’s unimpressed reviewers in television commentary, while Rush Limbaugh defended the governor on his radio show. Several commentators noted that response speeches, in which a designated member of the opposition party delivers a short, canned speech with no live audience, have often been a recipe for failure.
“He went in there with high expectations, probably too high for any politician,” said David Johnson, a Republican political strategist. “Republicans are looking for a voice to lead them out of the wilderness.”
Still, Mr. Johnson said, “it was a flop.”
Mr. Jindal’s first star turn was supposed to come at the Republican National Convention last summer, but he canceled his appearance after Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana. On Tuesday, he told viewers of his immigrant parentage and his father’s awe of American ingenuity.
“It seemed like part of the speech he was giving was the speech that he was to give at the convention,” said John Maginnis, author of the LaPolitics Weekly newsletter. “And that wasn’t really appropriate for the Republican response.”
Mr. Johnson faulted Mr. Jindal for telling a story about Harry Lee, the sheriff of Jefferson Parish during Hurricane Katrina and who has been repeatedly accused of racial profiling, and for bringing up Hurricane Katrina at all, which Mr. Jindal cited as an example of the failure of big government.
“The one thing Republicans want to forget,” Mr. Johnson said, “is Katrina.”
From U.S. News & World Report:
The Louisiana governor’s rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday has drawn a malestrom of attention – none of it the kind Jindal and Republicans were hoping for.
Among the newest jibes is an Internet video comparing the 37-year-old former Rhodes scholar to Kenneth Parcell, the barely-post-adolescent page on the NBC comedy “30 Rock.”
A new Facebook group titled “Bobby Jindal is Kenneth the Page” had already attracted more than 1,800 members by Wednesday afternoon.
Add this to New York Times columnist David Brooks calling Jindal’s remarks “insane,” and a Fox New commentator, Juan Williams, drubbing Jindal’s delivery as flat and amateur.
According to Chris Mathews [sic], the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” the cards were stacked against Jindal from the moment he stepped on screen.
Mathews created his own related mini-controversy when he was recorded saying, “Oh, God,” as Jindal was about to speak.
Mathews explained Wednesday that he was reacting to what he perceived as a pompous lead-in that invited comparisons between Jindal, speaking from the Louisiana’s governor’s mansion, and President Obama.
Jindal’s problems didn’t end with his intro. His remarks were deemed insensitive on a myriad of fronts, including one in particular where he arguably should have know better.
Jindal singled out $140 million to the U.S. Geological Survey for volcano monitoring as an example of the bailout’s excessiveness. Someone whose own state rightly received a massive influx of government cash after Hurricane Katrina, and is still struggling to recover from that natural disaster more than 3 years after the fact, might have pinned his critique of Obama’s plan on a different issue.
Many acknowledged that the wildly popular and oratorically gifted President Obama is a tough act to follow. Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh and a few others came to Jindal’s defense. “We cannot shun politicians who speak for our beliefs just because we don’t like the way he says it,” Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday.
But the speech has others wondering if this is one GOP phenom whose moment ended almost before it began.
This is one page Jindal, and the Republican party, will want to turn over quickly.