The Presidential Address was covered on Twitter of course, via hashtag #nsotu, whereas Jindal’s response was tagged #jindalwarmupact. What struck me was how much emphasis Jindal put on his own biography at the outset – yes, he’s clearly running for President in 2012.
I was overall quite pleased with Obama’s address (as you might expect). As far as Jindal’s response, I respect his convictions but his remarks seemed anachronistic and almost helplessly out of touch with the reality of how serious the economic crisis is. The mantra of “government is incompetent, government is too big” was utterly incongrous with his repeated invocation of the Katrina aftermath, which if anything is a textbook example of the fundamental flaw in the GOP ideology.
David Brooks was on PBS’ News Hour immediately afterwards and made much the same critique:
DAVID BROOKS: Uh, not so well. You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a verypromising politician, and I oppose the stimulus because I thought itwas poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with astale “government is the problem,” “we can’t trust the federalgovernment” – it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party. Thecountry is in a panic right now. They may not like the way theDemocrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea that we’re justgonna – that government is going to have no role, the federalgovernment has no role in this, that – In a moment when only thefederal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to just ignoreall that and just say “government is the problem, corruption, earmarks,wasteful spending,” it’s just a form of nihilism. It’s just not wherethe country is, it’s not where the future of the country is. There’s anintra-Republican debate. Some people say the Republican Party lost itsway because they got too moderate. Some people say they got too weirdor too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and so he’smaking that case. I think it’s insane, and I just think it’s a disasterfor the party. I just think it’s unfortunate right now.
The reaction from conservatives to Jindal’s response was also one of general disappointment. This is the new Reagan Reborn who will lead the GOP out of the wilderness? Well, I for one have to admit that given a choice between him and Sarah Palin, it’s no contest.
Related – full transcript of Obama’s speech from the LA Times, and the transcript of Jindal’s response. Also, Gov Bobby Jindal deliberately misquoted the President to score a cheap shot in his response.