Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gov. Jindal's lie about his Hurricane Katrina role

Childish, disaster, these were words, not only used by Democrats, and also by Republicans.
From the Associated Press, on GOP-leaning commentators' reactions:
David Brooks, a conservative New York Times columnist who has criticized aspects of the stimulus plan, nonetheless called Jindal's arguments "insane" and tone-deaf given the dire economic challenges the country faces.
"To come up in this moment in history with a stale, 'Government is the problem, you can't trust the federal government' is just a disaster for the Republican Party," Brooks said on PBS' "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." "It's not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is."

Fox News commentator Juan Williams focused on Jindal's delivery.
"It came off as amateurish, and even the tempo in which he spoke was singsongy," Williams said, adding that the content of the speech was "very simplistic and almost childish."

So, Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) will sit on the shelf of buffoonish Republican "leaders," and "stars."
And several Republican governors will attract a lot of voter anger in 2010, over their rejection of unemployment compensation aid. News reports have already registered voter anger at governors that that have rejected federal unemployment aid.
Frank Rich has pointed out that Gov. Jindal now has a budget with a $1.7 million deficit; in his campaign he offered in his campaign, and a promise of some kind of "alternative" administration.
Talking Points Memo has pointed out that Jindal's claim that he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a sheriff that was trying to circumnavigate bureaucratic red tape.
Jindal had described being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee "during Katrina," and hearing him yelling into the phone at a government bureaucrat who was refusing to let him send volunteer boats out to rescue stranded storm victims, because they didn't have the necessary permits. Jindal said he told Lee, "that's ridiculous," prompting Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.

But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.

This is no minor difference. Jindal's presence in Lee's office during the crisis itself was a key element of the story's intended appeal, putting him at the center of the action during the maelstrom. Just as important, Jindal implied that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. But it turns out Jindal wasn't there at the key moment, and played no role in making the rescue happen.

And TPM placed this episode in the larger context, connecting it to the GOP's fight against onerous government regulation: "There's a larger point here, though. The central anecdote of the GOP's prime-time response to President Obama's speech, intended to illustrate the threat of excessive government regulation, turns out to have been made up."

But overall, Jindal failed in the Republicans' quest to resuscitate their ideology that minimal government involvement is best for a comfortable country. Their impact, via the Gingrich Congress in the 1990s and the Bush presidency prove the contrary.

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