Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bobby Jindal and Rush Limbaugh: Damning with Faint, Apologetic Defense

Rush Limbaugh did Bobby Jindal no favors today.

Let me make clear that I did not listen to either Jindal's rsponse to President Obama last night, or to President Obama's speech itself. Neither interested me. I knew what Obama was gong to say, and I agree with Limbaugh that how well Obama reads a teleprompter means nothing. As far as I am concerned, if ou have heard one Obama speech (and I have heard more than 1), you have heard them all. Obama's speeches have little to do with what he is doing, and nothing to do with whether what he is doing is the right thing. They are all style. What little "substance' is in an Obama speech is often an outright lie, contradicted int eh next speech (delivered with the same passion and conviction as the previous speech saying exactly the opposite).

Rish Limbaugh said basically the above about the contrast between Obama and Jindal: that we don't need "style", but real conservative substance. Limbaugh went so far as to say that it does not matter how "conservatism" is delivered, but only that the substance is right. Limbaugh asserted that Jindal is "brilliant" (with which I agree from what I know of the man), and that it does not matter that his style was not as impressive as that of Obama. Hogwash.

Oh, I agree with Limbaugh that Jindal was in a thankless position (responding to a major Presidential address). However, how bad did Jindal have to be to have Limbaugh say that he sounded like he was "talking to first graders", and that this kind of sylistic problem could be "fixed"? Nope. Limbaugh would have been better off not addressing the subject of Jindal at all, or merely condemning the overblown media criticism of Jindal's response. As it is, Limbaugh gave me the impression that Jindal gave one of the worst speeches in the history of mankind (reading between the lines). Remember, I was not encumbered with any preconceptions. I had not even paid any attention to the media reaction to Jindal's speech. My impression of Jindal's speech came totally from Limbaugh, and that impression was that the speech was really bad.

It is simply not true that communication does not matter. Reagan proved that. It is true that no major Republican politician since Reagan has had the substance right. But even when right on the substance, Republicans have not been able to communicate conservative ideas. We need BOTH a conservative right on substance, and able to communicatethe substance to the average person (like Reagan). John McCain was wrong on the substance, but he was also unable to communicate even when he was right on the substance.

I agree with Limbaugh that Obama's style wears thin. In fact, I think it has already worn thin. McCain got more votes than you would expect, considering the economy, McCain's mistakes, and the sheer inability of McCain to "sell" himself and his policies. I have said, and continue to say, that Obama ran a pretty BAD campaign, and that Hillary Clinton would have easily beat McCain with a double digit percentage.

Why, however, was McCain the nominee? Mitt Romney should have been the nominee. He said all of the right conservative things, and McCain was supposedly dead in the water (should have been dead in the wather) because of his immigration bill. Yes, Mitt Romney had a problem of a "liberal" "past". Yes, Mike Huckabee basically sand bagged Romeny with evangelical voters. That does not change that the main reason that Romney did not get the Republican nomination is that he failed to connect with voters.

Rush Limbaugh is wrong. It is not enought to be right. You have to be able to connect with voters, as Reagan did. You do not need the soaring, empty, teleprompter rhetoric of Barack "World" Obama. As I say above, I think that phony stuff soon wears thin. But you do need to connect. If you can't do that, it does not matter if you are right on substance. Mitt Romney was right on substance, and he did not even come that close to the nomination--with virtually a free path in front of him (only McCain and the previously unknown Huckabee in his way). Even with conservative talk radio's (belated, too late--as Limbaugh and the rest abandoned conservatives in their hour of need) supporting Romney, he could not "close the deal".

Nope. I am not "abandoning" Bobby Jindal because of one effort. But I do maintain strongly that Rush Limbaugh hurt him today--perhaps worse than the speech itself (the excerpt played favorably by Limbaugh was uninspiring, lathough not terrible--the problem being that if that were the best of the speech, the entire thing could not have been very good). Rush is going to have to be more careful. Acting this defensive about Bobby Jindal is going to do the guy in.

Are conservatives doomed to see Republicans nominate another John McCain, or Bob Dole, or Bush (41 or 43), in 2012? We are going to be so doomed unless a conservative rises who can connect with the voters. Sarah Palin showed an ability to do that, despite her inexperience and the media campaign against her. Bobby Jindal has to learn to connect at least as well as Sarah Palin, because the media is not going to treat him any more gently than it treated Sarah Palin. Conservatives must have a leader who can go over the head to the media, and connect with the people--like Ronald Reagan. If we don't find such a person, we will get the same kind of Republican politicians we have gotten lately--not believing in conservative ideas and unable to communicate such ideas

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