Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Republican response

Bobby Jindal's story is an interesting one. He is smart and hard working, and has some accomplishments in Louisiana that are unusual, as accomplishments in that state that don't involve LSU football or basketball are hard to come by. Unfortunately, last night he came across as a corner watch salesman at 9th Ave. and 44th rolling up his sleeve to show the merchandise. His script was some sort of reverse Steve Colbert style parody of Obama, no doubt viewed as clever by his RNC handlers but in fact it was just very odd. Even more unusual, based on some of his self congratulatory comments, it seemed as if he had not been outside of the tourist areas of New Orleans in the last two years.

His only coherent thrust focused on the limits of government management effectiveness. That resonates here in New York where the government controlled legal system, tax systems, and social systems are designed to be as time consuming and tedious as possible, with the apparent goal of making everything litigious. It resonates as well with a friend of mine who did a stint at the U.S. Labor Department in D.C. two years ago and found most of the employees were at best 9 to 5'ers who spent part of their mornings planning their lunch break and errands, the rest of the time in meetings, with the exception of their desk work that focused on attending national conferences of various sorts where they would go on expense account and enjoy nice hotels and restaurants. Few people actually worked. I think, however, that most astute Democrats would agree with most Republicans that there's an issue here, and one should note that the Labor Department at that time was run by Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell's wife, and George Bush's most loyal cabinet member.

For the sake of his career and credibility, it would be wise for Jindal to avoid such controlled exposure in the future.


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