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I’m not from Louisiana and I don’t follow politics there, so the first time I knew of Gov. Bobby Jindal was when I watched the Republican response on February 24, 2009 to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress. I was powerfully impressed by Jindal’s brainless droning of Republican talking points, like opposition to President Obama’s economic stimulus plan without even a hint at what government might do to help the country out of our national economic meltdown.
More astonishing than anything was his citing of Hurricane Katrina as the show piece to warn against government solutions. This is the city in Jindals’ own state that suffered more than any other because of the incompetence of the Bush administration and its inept leadership of FEMA (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job“). One more time: The prior administration had done a total pratfall, causing millions of people to suffer. Jindal tried to get Americans to believe that this was clear evidence that government shouldn’t be a part of the solution to any of our major challenges. Let us say that my opinion of Jindal at that moment was less than favorable. Clearly, he was a tool.
Fast forward a few years to just past the 2012 election. Things didn’t go well for Republicans and Jindal was one of the out-front Republican explainers, saying, “We have to stop being the stupid party.” Is it possible he meant that the Republicans had to stop denying science? That they should stop attacking people for being intelligent? That they should stop flagrantly lying? “We have to stop insulting the intelligence of voters,” he said. He sure looked like a brave guy saying those things and was anything but a tool in those moments.
Then the Republican party slapped him down and he morphed back into a Republican talking points tool. He reverted to the dishonest, ignorant, insulting, inflammatory talk for which the GOP has made itself known for decades. Like the RNC talking points, Jindal tries to make it sound like the Republicans have the certainty of infallibility and all we have to do is give all power to them and all will be right with the world.
There is a pleasing comfort in being certain of one’s infallibility. It makes the discomfort of uncertainty disappear and choices are simple.. There’s just one thing: life is not simple or certain. When anyone invokes infallibility, they are being fundamentally divisive and destructive and they are doing exactly what Jindal warned against during his brief moment of good sense. They are being the stupid party and they are insulting you.
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by passing this along and encouraging others to do the same. Thanks. JA
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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