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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Jindal Under the Vocano

On reading CNN’s report about the fallout from Bobby Jindal’s put down of “volcano monitoring,” I felt a sense of some sort of deja vu — haven’t we been here before?
Then, aha, I remembered John McCain’s snarky put-down “$3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the same knuckle-dragging reactionary wrote Jindal’s speech and McCain’s debate sound bite, so similar is the lame attitude behind them.
In addition to the contempt for science, Jindal’s ‘volcano’ remark is revealing in another way. For one thing, it indicates that the GOP is sorely in need of better speechwriters. The whole rebuttal was pretty thin, even though it does reflect Republican ideology faithfully enough, as Ed notes below. But the volcano remark was going well out of one’s way to step in it. A second-rate speechwriter should be able to understand that such a cheap shot would backfire because of Mount. St. Helens, where 57 people were killed. Certainly they should have been able to come up with something better, considering the broad scope of the stimulus. Crappy speechwriting often comes from lazy research.
A lot of Dem commentators have had fun mocking Jindal’s condescending delivery, here amusingly compared to the oratorical stylings of “Kenneth the Page” on “30 Rock.” Jindal’s rebuttal reminded me more of a comment attributed to Gore Vidal: “Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.” Not to gloat, but happily, we Dems are in the opposite position of having a thoughtful writer, as well as speaker, at the helm of our party. When Obama’s speechwriters slip up, they have a tough editor to get them straightened out in the person of the President. It helps a lot.

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