Reasonable Republican club

Yesterday, George Packer drooled all over David Brooks’ vacuous “Burkean bell” critique of Obama, which can be summarized as “it sounds complex, so I don’t think it will work.” Today, Amy Sullivan tells us that Bobby Jindal would have been brilliant if only he’d told us what he’d really thought:

Jindal is a smart guy, a frighteningly smart guy. I’d love to hear his real, honest, not-positioning-for-2012 response to Obama’s speech tonight because I suspect he’d have some sharp and useful criticisms.

Now, I suspect that Jindal is relatively intelligent since he was a Rhodes scholar. And, anyway, all Indians are smart, right? But if he’s never made any sharp or useful criticisms of Obama, then why should we believe that he has any? His educational pedigree doesn’t make his nonsense any more logical, just as David Brooks’ faux erudition doesn’t make his vacuous vagaries any more incisive.

Look, there are Republicans who have said intelligent things about the stimulus — Charlie Crist and Arnie (who support it) and Marty Feldstein who supports it with reservations, for example. But Republicans who unreservedly oppose the stimulus have not made any good points about their opposition. Repeating things that Herbert Hoover said 80 years ago does not qualify as a good point.

This really is the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.






41 replies
  1. 1
    Dave says:

    If Jindal was really a "frighteningly smart guy", he would have come up with something better than his "USA #1, NO TAXES, GOVERNMENT BAD!!" crap speech last night. If he was really that smart, he wouldn’t have gutted his presidential aspirations in less than 20 minutes.
     
    Christ, he went to Brown. Isn’t that the Ivy League safety school? : )

  2. 2
    flounder says:

    The fact he is expressing his righteous anger toward volcano monitoring gives me comfort that I could probably hold my own on the new TV program ‘Are You Smarter than a Rhodes Scholar’.

  3. 3
    Keith says:

    So basically, she’s using the Palin Defense (well, one of ’em anyway): "CandidateX performed poorly because the handlers didn’t let CandidateX *be* CandidateX."

  4. 4
    flounder says:

    And I really don’t see how he overcomes the whole anchor baby thing.

  5. 5
    liberal says:

    Yesterday, George Packer…

    Uh, he’s a purported "liberal" who supported the Iraq War.

    Screw him.

  6. 6
    tpc says:

    @ Keith: When I read that "Jindal is a smart guy, a frighteningly smart guy," I immediately thought – "Hmm..this sounds frighteningly familiar." Countless pundits spewed the "Dems underestimate Palin at their peril" B.S. when she was announced as VP selection. I kept waiting for her to display her brilliance, but that obviously never happened.

  7. 7
    Comrade Luke says:

    Jindal either a) gave a speech that he wrote, b) gave a speech that someone else wrote that he agreed with or c) gave a speech someone else wrote that he didn’t agree with but gave anyway.

    In the first two cases he’s a fool based on his ideals. In the third case he’s a cynical opportunist.

    In none of the cases is he "intelligent".

    Honestly, this whole Rhodes scholar thing bugs me. It makes me think that this and other things have have held up for years as marks of success, intelligence and/or achievement are really just a charade, and none of these people are anything special.

  8. 8
    Dr.BDH says:

    Sounds like Jindahl is ready to join the Tea Party advertised on your site, with Gleen "Heh" Reynolds, Michelle "Rant" Malkin and Not-Joe the Not-Plumber. Are the Republicans just trying to ease our pain with laughter?

  9. 9
    flounder says:

    All anyone can talk about is Jindal, effectively dampening any analysis of Obama’s good speech.
    What if Republicans knew they couldn’t compete with Obama as an orator, so they purposely tricked Jindal into giving the most god awful speech in the history of speechifying, knowing full well that it would distort the coverage of the not-SOTU?
    Like a bank robber who calls in a false alarm across town.

  10. 10
    DougJ says:

    Honestly, this whole Rhodes scholar thing bugs me. It makes me think that this and other things have have held up for years as marks of success, intelligence and/or achievement are really just a charade, and none of these people are anything special.

    I still think that he’s probably a lot smarter than Eric Cantor. If you follow that Yglesias link I gave (mostly as a joke), it brings up some intelligent ideas Jindal has about Medicare.

    I don’t think he’s an idiot. But he fucked up last night.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    All anyone can talk about is Jindal, effectively dampening any analysis of Obama’s good speech.

    I’m not sure that’s true. At this point, the debate among the punditry is all Republicans vs. Obama (not Obama vs. our problems). So Jindal’s failure is just as important, politically, as Obama’s success.

    The Republicans put up their “smart guy” and he delivered a lame response. That makes it harder for the Village to keep pretending the Republicans have a coherent position.

  12. 12
    oh really says:

    I think Jindal would be smart to stick to what he’s good at, namely, exorcisms and curing cancer through advanced faith healing.

    And if Obama wants to cure cancer, he could do no better than hiring Doogie Jindal, MD to head the effort. Unlike barbaric American doctors who have to resort to inhumane, costly, and excruciatingly slow treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, Jindal cured his friend’s cancer with the mere laying on of hands (I guess) and the ritual mumbling of commands as detailed in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Home Exorcisms.

    If Jindal runs in 2012, I look forward to his explaining exactly how he pulled off the simultaneous exorcism and faith healing of his friend. Surely, he should not keep that invaluable information from all those who suffer from the unpleasantness of being possessed by evil spirits or having cancer. Better yet, maybe Jindal can explain whether evil spirits are the cause of cancer. If so, then we can cut out all the wasteful spending on medicine and turn cancer treatment over to those most qualified — priests.

    Perhaps, Jindal can apply his faith healing directly to the economy. Enquiring minds want to know.

    An important lesson: being intelligent is no defense against being a complete moron.

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    Look- Bobby Jindal is not stupid. He is educated and intelligent. His problem is, amusingly enough, the opposite of Sarah Palin’s- he appears to be tone deaf and have terrible political instincts and no stage presence. I am convinced, on the other hand, that Sarah Palin is an utter fool, but has a great stage presence and excellent instincts (just notice how she has decided to take herself out of the national picture the last couple of weeks- she isn’t very smart, but she isn’t stupid).

    If you could combine the two of them, you would have the future GOP president. The problem they mutually suffer, though, is that they are true believers in a party that has simply outlived its usefulness and prone to holding extreme beliefs, not the least of which is that the Republicans have an answer for anything. They simply don’t right now.

  14. 14
    Indylib says:

    Rhodes Scholar does not equal political or practical intelligence – see Bill Clinton. You’d have thought that being smart enough to be a Rhodes Scholar might have informed Bubba that keeping his pecker in his pants while he was a sitting President so that he did not hand his political opponents a giant hammer to smack him with would be a good idea. It did not work out that way.

    Academic intelligence is all and good and in some people it is combined with practicality and common sense – see Barack Obama.

  15. 15
    dr. bloor says:

    Jindal either a) gave a speech that he wrote, b) gave a speech that someone else wrote that he agreed with or c) gave a speech someone else wrote that he didn’t agree with but gave anyway.
    In the first two cases he’s a fool based on his ideals. In the third case he’s a cynical opportunist.
    In none of the cases is he "intelligent".

    This.

  16. 16
    DougJ says:

    An important lesson: being intelligent is no defense against being a complete moron.

    Bingo.

  17. 17
    mistermix says:

    "Smart" by itself doesn’t mean shit. It’s "smart at" something. And whatever else was clear from Jindal’s performance last night, he’s pretty fucking dumb as a politician.

    Look at it this way. Was Huey Long, one of Bobby J’s predecessors, a "smarter" politician? The answer’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Huey was no Rhodes Scholar, but he wouldn’t be caught dead vying for the hind tit role that Jindal took last night: following the Obama act on national TV. And he sure as hell wouldn’t be reading a speech targeted at a vanishingly small group of dead-enders.

  18. 18
    N M says:

    /offtopic

    I love the "tea party" ad in the left column lately. My fav part, other than that it looks like an ocean buoy, not a sailing ship, is the last p-graph where we get the snippet:

    "… the PJTV team including Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, and Joe the Plumber are mobilized to help provide visibility."

    I mean, it sounds like a local morning radio program. When do they start interviewing strippers (or Stormy Daniels)?

    Also, you lead with Malkin? That’s all you got?

  19. 19
    Colette says:

    And, anyway, all Indians are smart, right?

    Loved the comment in that 11/08 Yglesias link describing Jindal as "unabashedly pro-life, brilliant, well-spoken, young, energetic, and scrupulously honest. No terrorists, race-baiters, felons, or election-fraud internships in his past. He would eat BHO alive in a debate. No “uhhhs” when he talks. He the future of the Republican party. A return to real conservatism based in faith in God and moral principles. I can’t wait."

    So, uh, how much longer do we have to wait?

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    "… the PJTV team including Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, and Joe the Plumber are mobilized to help provide visibility."

    If it were to turn out, a few years down the road, that these three clowns are actually working deep undercover for the feds to round up all the Timothy McVeighs running around loose out there, I’d LOL for months.

    (Disclaimer: Yes, I know this is impossible. None of them are either bright or deft enough to pull it off. Making them unwitting parts of the sting, on the other hand…)

  21. 21
    flounder says:

    @DougJ,
    I was being semi-snarky with my jujitsu reading of why Jindal flopped so-hard.

  22. 22
    flounder says:

    @NM
    Is that a Chinese junk in that ad?

  23. 23

    I think Yglesias was right. Bobby Jindal is faced with the unenviable task of trying to hide how intelligent he is, in order to appear acceptable to a political base that is virulently anti-intellectual.

  24. 24
    Stooleo says:

    I am so ready for the Jindal/Palin ticket in 2012, or would that be the Palin/Jindal ticket?

    Anyway who do you think will be playing Jindal on SNL? My guess is Fred Armisen.

  25. 25
    Feebog says:

    I dunno, Jindal lost me at "Happy Mardi Gras". Maybe it was the 70’s barber shop tie, or the wierdly parted hair, but the whole appearance seemed strangely out of whack.

    I was left asking the question; is this the best they have? If so, Republicans are well and truely screwed for 2012.

  26. 26
    AnotherBruce says:

    Jindal was on one of the morning shows (Today Show? I can never remember). I noticed that as he was being interviewed he talked a lot faster than last night’s fiasco and lost about 95% of his Louisiana accent. He did seem relatively bright and can think on his feet, unlike Sarah who thinks with her foot in her mouth.

    Here’s the thing though. The base doesn’t like guys like him, so he has to play stupid. The base also seems to like being talked to as if they were 6 year olds, which a lot of them are, mentally and emotionally.

    I’m not saying he’s any kind of genius, I have to question his judgment about some of the things he says. Bringing up volcanoes and Katrina was massively stupid. Even inherently bright people carry stupid around if they have cramped, narrow ideological views. But I do think he was dumbing down his presentation. Which was a dumb thing to do.

  27. 27
    Zifnab says:

    Jindal is a smart guy, a frighteningly smart guy. I’d love to hear his real, honest, not-positioning-for-2012 response to Obama’s speech tonight because I suspect he’d have some sharp and useful criticisms.

    Shorter Amy Sullivan: Only idiots get on the GOP Presidential Ticket.

  28. 28
    ricky says:

    I took you at your word about Packer drooling, and I think your English schoolboy analogy is dreadfully spot on. With careful editing, here is Packer on Brooks and Obama. It paints a disturbing picture requiring swift faith based intervention.

    David Brooks is one of the best …attacks based on a world view… not viable but almost always … overrate our ability to solve problems through… the application of his… philosophical roots…. he had lost touch with this inner… early Bush. Obama should do Brooks at least once every few months.
    Brooks’s is bound… top-down …in a year or two Brooks will have to admit … The results are always dissatisfying,… and leave most of old Brooks…so high that … as refined …ideological purity to… let fester until they turn …Brooks pits … to… very hard things.
    Obama isn’t… ideological hubris. He’s …a set of interrelated emergencies that require swift, decisive action. …Brooks, is …clear-eyed and critical-minded … can harden.. for a long time. could become …calcified and resistant. Party now…. Obama will need …Brooks all the more. But for the moment, Obama is necessarily experimenting in the face of … Brooks.

  29. 29
    sparky says:

    @Zifnab: As the last smart guy they had was Nixon, it’s certainly stratergery. Also, I would think it’s much easier being a tool of the oligarchy if you don’t have a brain.

  30. 30
    Cris says:

    I’d love to hear his real, honest, not-positioning-for-2012 response

    How many times do we have to hear this excuse from Republicans? It’s just like "Where is the real John McCain?" Oh, he’s a real (conservative|maverick|what-have-you), but the campaign won’t let him show it!

    As Vonnegut said, you become what you pretend to be, so be careful what you pretend to be. No wonder they all think Obama has some secret personality that he doesn’t show in public — that’s exactly what they’re hoping is the case with GOP politicians.

  31. 31
    aimai says:

    If he’s "frighteningly smart" he seems determined to run for president of really, really, stupid people. I don’t get the notion that there *are* great ideas out there, on the Republican side, which he’s being forced to hold back on in order to pump up his chances of winning a republican primary in three years. If there were great ideas out there why wouldn’t it be kind of stunning to unveil them now? Unless they are of the "are there no workhouses?" sort, a soylent green kind of solution to the problem of world hunger, say.

    aimai

  32. 32
    Cris says:

    With the Bush presidency behind us, I think we have to remind ourselves that it doesn’t really matter whether a politician is intelligent. It’s not a question of whether Jindal is an idiot, it’s whether he supports idiotic policies.

  33. 33
    KRK says:

    Kris Kristofferson (perhaps apocryphal):

    I think between us, Bill Clinton and I have settled any lingering myths about the brilliance of Rhodes scholars.

  34. 34
    DougJ says:

    @ricky

    Well done.

  35. 35
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    For me, a reasonable Republican club is a Louisville Slugger with a few twelvepenny nails driven through the business end.

  36. 36
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    The fact that Jindal isn’t allowed to tell us what he actually thinks, if that is the case, should tell everyone in the country that the GOP is stuck in some other time. No opposition, no new ideas, just stick with the drill….lower taxes, government is evil, blah, blah, blah. If government is so damned evil, why do all these guys pant to lead it?

  37. 37
    skippy says:

    are we sure he isn’t listed as a "road scholar"?

    that might explain a few things.

  38. 38
    Johnny Pez says:

    Three signs you’re not a reasonable Republican:

    You’re angry about socialism.

    You’re angry about ACORN.

    You’re angry about George Soros.

  39. 39
    TenguPhule says:

    Reasonable Republican is an oxymoron.

  40. 40
    SFAW says:

    Jindal is a smart guy, a frighteningly smart guy.

    I guess I’m shallow, but the first thing I think of when I hear a line like that is Katie Couric’s mash note about Condolleezzaaaa Rice ("scary smart"). Given how effective Condi was, while National Security Goddess, at getting the various agencies (FBI/CIA/NSA/RNC/BFD) to work together before 9/11 – which was her responsibility, and should have been one of her top priorities – I can only pray that FSM save us from frighteningly and scary smart Rethugs.

  41. 41
    SFAW says:

    Of course, my previous comment was a misdirection (re: 9/11). As we all know, 9/11 was entirely the fault of Bill Clinton, Jamie Gorelick, and Jimmy Carter. And Barack Hussein Osamabama.

    1000 Ave Marias and 1000 Pater Nosters for me!

Comments are closed.