Bobby Jindal has a wunderkind resume: a Rhodes Scholar appointed assistant secretary of Health and Human Services at age 29, elected to the U.S. House at 33 and governor of Louisiana at 36.
Increasingly, though, he’s being likened to Kenneth, the dweeby page on “30 Rock.”
The politically devastating comparisons started popping right up after Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s address a joint session of Congress. And they’ve spread like wildfire on the Internet.
Now the wunderkind governor, who’s often mentioned as a GOP presidential prospect, is struggling to overcome his association with this generation’s version of Gomer Pyle. And his predicament is organic, as opposed to the biting parodies of Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live.”
Several Facebook groups dedicated to the comparison have sprung up. The latest, “Bobby Jindal is Kenneth the Page,” had more than 20,000 members on Friday. In comparison, nearly 34,000 people list themselves as fans of Jindal on the social networking site.
Nine YouTube videos splicing the governor’s speech with clips of Kenneth the Page have been viewed by at least 10,000 people and the video of the Kenneth responding to Jindal on “Late Night” in which he calls Jindal a “goober” was featured prominently on The Huffington Post and other sites.
In Louisiana, the governor’s communications director sought to play down the comparisons.
“Being compared to Kenneth the Page is a whole lot better than what past Louisiana governors have been compared to,” Melissa Sellers said. “Kenneth sounds like Clark Gable.”
The content of Jindal’s speech was not the major issue, though it was also panned by some. It was his appearance and awkward delivery from the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.
Huh? It was the content, not just the delivery.
Appearing on CNN amid all the speech fuss, Jindal told Larry King that he hoped people would “look at the content of the speech, not just the delivery.”
“You know, for years, I’ve been told I speak too quickly,” Jindal said. “Now, I’m told I speak too slowly.”