Jindal’s response will provide more perspective on America’s future than Obama’s address
I already know what Barack Obama is going to say tonight. The president and his Democrats are about as well-disguised in their socialist roots and intentions as the guys who robbed a Denver convenience store wearing women’s thong underwear on their heads to obscure their faces.
Obama will carry on and superficially appear to be just optimistic enough to satisfy former President Bill Clinton and the rest of the pundits and insiders who feel as though the current president is talking down the economy too much. But even though he may avoid using words like “catastrophe” and phrases like “this is a recession from which we may never recover,” don’t look for optimism from the president at more than just a superficial level. Optimism doesn’t fit his legislative needs. Radicals need crisis from which to operate.
I’m not certain that the entire speech will be economy-driven, either.
He’ll likely go into brief but soaring rhetoric about education, enough perhaps to get a [deserved] dig in about former President Bush and No Child Left Behind, but certainly enough to satisfy the teachers’ union.
I’d also be willing to bet that he will definitely spend a decent amount of time speaking about our healthcare system, as it is inarguably intertwined closely with our economy and is a focal point of the plans for America crafted meticulously by the Democrats over the past 14 years. I’m not certain how specific he’ll get, though, as the specifics of the plan–between the government handling of medical records to the way it would weigh cost-effectiveness of treatment against necessity–get a little scary.
Furthermore, while I doubt foreign policy will take up as much focus as it would in a traditional State of the Union address, he might address it here — but, for a number of reasons, don’t look for him to discuss in detail the $900 million he’s authorized and committed to send to Gaza. Why not specifically address it? First, the money will be sent directly to Gaza for rebuilding efforts–through the United Nations (which had been extremely critical of Israel during the recent conflict) of course–rather than to the West Bank. Generally, see, we’ve traditionally focused any help in the region on the West Bank rather than Gaza, as Fatah controls the former while the terrorist group Hamas controls the latter. Secondly, he may avoid specifics because, well, we’re in an economic crisis and the notion of sending close to a billion dollars to people who, just a few months ago, were lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians may not go over well.
Of course, Obama will also likely paint the Republicans as obstructionists. He’ll undoubtedly say that he was disappointed in those Republicans who let their principles–those pesky principles!!– get in the way of the administration’s attempts to save the nation from impending doom. Of course, there will be no mention of how the Democrats wrote the book on obstructionism over the majority of the past decade, how they stonewalled judicial nominations and brought up hundred-year-old Turkish conflicts in order to put the lives of our servicemen and servicewomen in danger and derail Bush administration efforts in Iraq. No, no mention of obstructionism on the Democrats’ part. Only those pesky, principled conservative Republicans.
Honestly, I know what the president will say tonight. I don’t need Obama’s remarks to realize the direction in which the Democratic party is drifting, or the direction in which the Democratic party leadership will take this country. Their actions over the past four weeks have been enough to show that empty promises of bipartisanship and hopes of pragmatism are just that — empty. I may not be able to completely predict, word for word, what Obama will say, but I know enough to know that nothing he can possibly say will teach me anything about the direction of his party or our country of which I am not already aware.
Jindal was inevitably chosen to proffer the GOP response by the Republican leadership because he represents the future of the party, but for me his mere selection is not enough, on its face, to give perspective on the direction of the Republican party. Instead, that perspective will indeed come from his words and his delivery.
While the behavior of the Democrats over the past few weeks have made it abundantly clear that they are still up to their old ways despite the plethora of promises for change made over the past two years, the behavior of the Republicans have suggested that the party may have truly learned the lessons of the past four years, and that the party is ready to finally revert to conservative principles and restore that black-and-white, yin-and-yang between the parties spoken about so often by former President Ronald Reagan.
But unlike with the Democrats, I am not certain that behavior belies belief. The Democrats have become a party of radicals, and are acting like it. The Republicans, however, are acting like conservatives, but I’m not so sure they are pushing the party and its platform in that direction.
Jindal’s response, his words, delivery and demeanor, will provide more insight into the future of the Republican party and, indeed, the future of the nation as a whole. How aggressive will he be? How conciliatory? Will it be apparent that Jindal was allowed to be his conservative self or, like with Sarah Palin throughout September of last year, will it seem as though he was stifled by more moderate handlers?
Ideally, I’d like to see the Louisiana governor challenge Obama, and challenge the American people to think about the alternatives to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid plan. I’d like him to point out the cliff’s-edge slide on Wall Street since this bailout mess began with former President Bush, and highlight how the markets have reacted to Obama’s indecision and failing leadership. I’d like him to provide historical context as to the prior failures of Keynesian economics. I’d like to hear specifics, how the Republicans would approach economic recovery by promoting true growth, by slashing corporate taxes, payroll taxes, and capital gains taxes, and I’d like to see examples of where such an approach has worked before.
Jindal should also use his excellent communications skills to explain exactly why he and other Republican governors will likely reject some of the funds from the so-called “stimulus” bill destined for the states. He should talk about the long-term consequences for individual taxpayers like you and me, and do so in a way that each and every person who listened wakes up tomorrow and takes a second look at the man or woman in their own State House. The fate of the Republican party depends upon how people perceive the conservative message, how those traditionally on the right side of the political spectrum are motivated to get involved, get to the polls, and take control of the country. The right outnumber the left in this country — the fate of the nation depends upon getting us mobilized.
Bobby Jindal has a whole lot on his shoulders tonight. His message will be the message of the Republican party as we carry forward through what will inevitably be a rough 2009. It can be muted, an attempt to expand the tent over those in the center of the political spectrum, or it could be solidly conservative, an attempt to patch holes in the tent over those on the right. I hope it is the latter.