Republican Errors Help Give Obama Big Win Tuesday Night


Barack Obama achieved a tremendous political victory with his speech Tuesday night, primarily due to the Republicans self-destructing. After Bobby Jindal’s dismal performance we may see a change in the view that Jindal is an up and coming Republican leader. Republicans might also need to reconsider the value of responding to presidential speeches if they are going to do this poor of a job.

Multiple bloggers have already compared Jindal to Kenneth from 30 Rock. Matthew Yglesias had one of the more favorable comments about Jindal, writing, “Bobby Jindal apparently believes it’s appropriate to address the citizens of the United States in a tone that suggests we’re all nine years old.” Nate Silver came to a similar conclusion writing, “If it sounds like Jindal is targeting his speech to a room full of fourth graders, that’s because he is. They might be the next people to actually vote for Republicans again.”

These evaluations that Jindal was speaking down to the level of nine year olds is far better than the review from Andrew Sullivan which said, “there was a patronizing feel to it as well – as if he were talking to kindergartners – that made Obama’s adult approach so much more striking.” The Note also went with the perceived younger audience in live blogging: “Reminds me of a Kindergarten teacher.”

The content was even worse than the delivery. Jindal’s response consisted of repetition of the same old Republican talking points which few still buy. They didn’t need a whole speech to do this. They could have just sent people to the GOP Problem Solver which I linked to hereEzra Klein wrote:

…it’s a speech that Boehner could have given in 2007 and that Frist could have given in 2005 and that Lott could have given in 1998 and that Gingrich could have given in 1993. Jindal made a mistake accepting the GOP’s invitation to give this response. Yesterday, he seemed like a different kind of Republican. Today, he doesn’t.

It is far too early for anything to definitely determine the 2012 Republican nomination, but Sarah Palin was the big winner following Jindal’s performance, making America the big loser.

Jindal spoke of Katrina, thinking the Americans he spoke down to had forgotten which party was to blame for the inadequate response. He repeated standard Republican scare tactics about tax increases after Obama announced a tax cut for 95% of Americans. It no longer works for Republicans to speak of fiscal responsibility and small government when the result of electing them has been increased deficits and increased government intrusion in individuals lives. How many times do they think they can get away with saying one thing when out of power and then doing the opposite after taking office?

Jindal attacked the stimulus package with standard Republican debating tactics (i.e. gross distortions of the truth). He protested ” a ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland” as if this was the only route under consideration for high speed rail, and as if we should stick to old fashioned railroads on standard tracks. He sees “volcano monitoring” as a waste of money. Apparently he believes that those in the path of an erupting volcano should receive no more benefits of advanced notification than those in the path of Katrina.

Jindal’s comments on health care were especially bizarre:

We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage. We oppose universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients – not by government bureaucrats.

His statement is puzzling considering that Republican policies would lead to health care being less affordable and would do nothing to promote universal access. He may oppose universal government-run health care, but so does Obama and so do most Democrats. None of the proposals being discussed call for government-run health care.

Jindal says he opposes health care decisions being made by government bureaucrats, but the Republicans have been the ones who have backed interference with doctor/patient decisions over the protests of Democrats. This includes Republican support for government interference in end of life decisions such as in the Terri Schiavo case, restrictions on abortion rights, restrictions on contraception, and opposition to medicinal marijuana use even in states where it is legal.Beyond these Republican policies, most Americans are far more likely to see a private insurance company interfere in decisions made with their doctor than they are from the government-financed Medicare plan.

Jindal did such a poor job that even Fox was critical. Considering the vast differences in their speeches, it is no surprise that most viewers were far more convinced by Obama’s arguments. CNN found that “two-thirds of those who watched President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress reacted favorably to his speech.”  CBS News found a tremendous increase in support for Obama’s policies as a result of the speech:

Eighty percent of speech watchers approve of President Obama’s plans for dealing with the economic crisis. Before the speech, 63 percent approved.

Fifty-one percent of speech watchers think the president’s economic plans will help them personally. Thirty-six thought so before the speech.

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  1. 1
    DB says:

    LMAO…it was Kenneth! I knew it had a very familiar tone, but was still kind of dazed on what I was witnessing.

  2. 2
    Fritz says:

    Ron, the one comment you make that I would dispute is that politicos from only one party were responsible for the inadequate response to Katrina.  Local and state authorities are supposed to be first on the ground with FEMA as backup — and it was pretty damn clear that nobody was functional.  

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    Politicians in the other party might also be faulted but the ultimate principle comes down to “the buck stops here.” It was the responsibility of the federal government to respond to a catastrophe of this magnitude and the Republicans failed miserably. In a case such as this the federal government was not only backup. We had warnings about the potential magnitude of the disaster and FEMA should have been ready far sooner. There’s also the issue of how Bush had decimated FEMA as an effective organization.

    Voters in Louisiana might want to also throw out some of their local politicians, but in the context of national politics it is the failure of the Republicans in Washington which matters. To bring up Katrina and to try to pass the blame off on others only accentuates both the inability of Republicans to govern and their tendency to blame others whenever they do fail.

  4. 4
    nomoreGOP says:

    Watching the so called “rebuttal” last night was both emotionally fulfilling and utterly disgusting at the same time. I was so happy to see Mr. Jindal fail miserably at giving the public ANY kind of actual facts or reasons as to why we shouldn’t support the President, but it also scares the you know what out of me that this man.. along with the Anti-Christ (Palin) are considered the cream of the crop when it comes to the Republican ticket.. we are in some serious trouble with these two douche bags

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Actually I would have been happier if Jindal did give a coherent rebuttal based upon facts, even if influenced by conservative principles. In a two party system it is always possible for the opposing party to return to power. I would prefer to have a competent party. Jindal is supposed to be one of the saner Republicans. Between this, and his signing a bill enabling the teaching of creationism in Louisiana’s schools, Jindal does not provide hope for seeing rational Republican leadership.

  6. 6
    BreakRoomLive says:

    This is where Bobby Jindal got his talking point from:

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