The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Western Tribune column March 4 2009

Last week President Barack Obama made a speech before congress and the nation that told the state of the union, although officially it was not a State of the Union Speech, which presidents do not give during their first year in office.

Following the president, Republican hot shot and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response. No one would envy Jindal as he followed a polished speaker with a high approval rating who had members of both parties standing in approval several times during his hour long address.

But even if Jindal had to overcome all of that, and even if he was addressing a party that is struggling to re-discover its identity, and even if conservatives think the president’s spending plans are overblown, was making up stories linked to the biggest Republican failure in a state that thrives on federal assistance the way to do it?

Jindal told the story of being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee during the height of the rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina as the sheriff attempted to overcome supposed bureaucracy. Politicians should realize that everything they say will be examined with a fine tooth comb, and it didn’t take long to learn that Jindal was not in Lee’s office when rescue efforts were being organized, in fact, he only learned about the incident later and was not personally involved at all.

But even if he thought he could get away with the story, why would a Republican remind the American people about Hurricane Katrina? Immediately images of stranded victims being plucked from rooftops and an out of touch Republican president are recalled.

And why would the Republican Party pick Louisiana as the site from which to criticize federal spending when that state thrives on federal dollars?

All these things seem to underscore a party in disarray.

Traditionally it seems the Democrats are the party that is disorganized in strategy and self-defeating with its tactics. Next year’s mid-term elections are a long time away and a lot can happen, but unless the Republican Party can find its way look for more gains by Democrats.

Surely Republicans don’t think that by choosing a spokesperson with foreign roots and choosing Michael Steele, an African American, as chairman for the Republican National Committee they can prove their diversity and regain the support of the public.

Americans are smarter than that. Democrats should be rejoicing.

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