Bobby Jindal has marked himself as the Great Opposition to President Obama. His speech tonight was almost "Bush With A Brain" as one friend remarked.
He alluded to Obama's race as a point in American history where Americans have come to accept a man because of his skills and not because of the color of his skin.
He HAD to say it.
He related a folksy story about Hurricane Katrina and his actions opposing a slow government response. He certainly didn't remind people that it was a Republican government, a Bush administration government. He just made a point about BIG government and bureaucracy. He didn't mention that the last eight years of government were the most expensive years in our history.
I've "wordled" both speeches (below). Simply put: Jindal's was about himself and what he would do if he were President. President Obama's speech focused on the nation as a whole and recovery, not just from the economic crisis, but from the last eight years of an inept yet arrogant administration. Obama's speech was an "America First" speech while Jindal's was definitely "Jindal First - For 2012."
Jindal has gained the spotlight these last weeks in openly criticizing Obama's Stimulus Plan. Yes, he rejected $98 million slated for Louisiana's unemployment benefits. But he still accepted $3.7 billion from the plan.
Money and power in the hands of banks and corporations is, of course, more in the way of Jindal's style. And if Jindal gets his way, deregulation of everything is just four years away. So is Bobby Jindal just another George Bush?
Not quite. Jindal has an educational and political pedigree that Bush lacked: he actually learned things in school, became a Rhodes scholar (like Bill Clinton) and DIDN'T belong to Skull and Bones. And we don't think he's given any head of state an impromptu neck rub - yet.
And there are warning signs, the latest of which is buried deep in his response to the State of the Nation Address:
AP, Charles Babington:
In what sometimes sounded like a presidential campaign speech, Jindal said Washington should follow examples set by some state governments, including Louisiana's.
"Since I became governor," he said, "we cut more than 250 earmarks from our state budget" and "cut taxes six times, including the largest income tax cut in the history of our state."
In 2007, Jindal led the Louisiana delegation in Congressional earmark funding. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, in 2007, Jindal's earmark funding was 14th among all Congressmen. As Governor in 2008, Jindal used his line item veto to strike $16 million in earmarks from the state budget while allowing $30 million in legislator added spending.
Then there's the matter of Jindal's Uber-Religious Right stance on a great many issues as well as his being a straight-line Bush Republican:
- Jindal has a 100% pro-life voting record according to the National Right to Life Committee.
- He opposes embryonic stem cell research and voted against increasing federal funding to expand embryonic stem cell lines.
- Jindal opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage, and has voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment to restrict marriage to a union between one man and one woman.
- In December 2008, Jindal announced the formation of the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family, including Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Gene Mills, the executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum and Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (Pat Robertson's personal league of lawyers)
- Dan Gilgoff, U.S. News & World Report:
And for everyone else:
Religious conservatism in the GOP ain't dead. Far from it. The real story is that it has been reborn in younger, more sophisticated, and less divisive politicians like Jindal.
- Jindal voted yes on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.
- He voted in favor of the 2006 Military Commissions Act.
- Jindal has an "A" rating from Gun Owners of America.
Just a thought.