The best thing about President George W. Bush was that he was a pure red-blooded Republican. He is a conservative's conservative. He allowed the American people the opportunity to see what the Republican Party truly believed. He was Reagan on steroids. The problem wasn't just big government. It was government.
This brings me to the new darling of the Republican Party Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal has an impressive personal story. He went to college at Brown University and was accepted to Harvard medical school but instead went to Yale for law school. He then got a Masters degree in political science. In 1996 he was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. From then through 2003 he was appointed to multiple different agencies at a state and national level. He lost a bid for governor in 2003. In 2004 he ran for Congress from Louisiana's first Congressional District. He won this election overwhelmingly. He ran for governor in 2007, again, and won. This brings us to the present.
The reason I mentioned President George W. Bush (in the first paragraph) was that Bobby Jindal's response (full text) was the typical conservative Republican response. He offered no new ideas (as I expected). He served up a smorgasbord of tax cuts, suggesting we “… create jobs by lowering income taxes for working families… cutting taxes for small businesses… strengthening incentives (tax credits) for businesses to invest in new equipment and hire new workers… and stabilizing homeowners by creating a new tax credit for homebuyers.” Wasn't this the exact plan that George W. Bush proposed and passed in 2001 or was that his 2003 tax cut plan? This is more of the same.
The Republican hatred of government was on full display. The governor told us a story about Hurricane Katrina, the moral of which was that we don't need government to help us with anything. (This is kind of surprising since the governor's mother used to work for the government.) That was a lesson that he and other Republicans learned from Hurricane Katrina. They learned the government just can't function. I may be wrong but if you're running an agency in which disaster management expertise is called for from an agency and it is headed by a guy that has no experience in that field, it would seem to me that the agency may not function as well as it should. President Clinton and FEMA evacuated over a million people from Florida ahead of Hurricane Floyd. Now no one is comparing Hurricane Floyd to Hurricane Katrina. What I am saying is that the government can work if you put competent people in charge.
Finally, I was surprised at how poor the governor's presentation was. His gestures were wooden and his speech was halting. He never seemed to flow. I can get over the mechanical gestures if he only had something of substance to add to the discussion. Not one new idea. Not one new theme. Not even a direction where we can find an idea. He is simply the latest new, young face that the GOP has thrown in front of the American people.
Update: Could Governor Bobby Jindal have been mistaken about his touching story about the Louisiana Sheriff during Katrina? Did the Governor lie? Could it be that he wasn't in New Orleans until days after the Hurricane had passed? It sure seems like his story is very similar to President of Jefferson Parish Aaron Broussard's story that he told on Meet the Press. Then again, I might be mistaken. I'm sure that a Governor wouldn't go on national TV and make up facts. No way.
Update 2: America loved Obama's speech!!