jeudi, février 26, 2009

Luis does Bobby Jindal (but not like that, thank you very much)

Well, yesterday I gave you my play-by-play snark on Obama’s address to the joint session of congress (a sort of unofficial “state of the union” address). So today, I’m giving you my play-by-play reaction (snark) to Bobby Jindal’s response to Obama’s address. I tell you, this was really hard to watch, and not because of his compelling argumentation…

  • Ok, right from the beginning: who did the lighting for this debacle? How did you manage to make an Indian guy look orange?
  • Ugh, he sounds like a fourth-grade teacher. The excessive modulation of pitch in his voice (sing-song-y), the overly-slow rhythm of his speech, and his insistence on placing a massive emphasis on every remotely important word makes feels like condescension. It’s gong to be hard to convince us if you’re insulting our intelligence with your delivery…
  • And the hand gestures! People made fun of Obama for punctuating everything with a hand-jab, but this is kinda rediculous. The fact that it’s the same double-handed sawing gesture all the time makes it look like a nervous tic. He seems profoundly uncomfortable and ill at ease.
  • Oh great, now he’s making remarks about how great it is that a black guy is the President. I suspect that this is going to be the new opening gambit for Republicans voicing opposition to the still hugely popular president: “See? We’re sensitive to racial issues! Now, about that uppity president’s stimulus plan…” Also, the combination of the facile congratulations with Jindal’s condescending tone is especially galling: “Good for you, boy! Have a cookie!” Yes, Obama is black and the president at the same time; this is very historical and stuff, as evidenced by the fact that everyone and his or her dog has been saying so since November 4th. It’s no longer a new insight for anyone, so the fact that you keep repeating it is telling, IMHO.
  • “The President completed a redemptive journey…” oy vey.
  • Oh, now I see where he’s going with this: “Obama’s a child of foreigners, and I am too! So you should have the same warm feelings for me! (Unless you’re racist, in which case please note that I’ve changed my first name from ‘Piyush’ to ‘Bobby’).
  • “My parents also came from a distant land…” What is this, fairy-tale hour? JUST SAY INDIA! YOU’RE NOT A MEDIEVAL BARD!!
  • “They instilled in me an immigrant’s wonder at the greatness of America.” Oh fer fuck’s sake. “An immigrant’s wonder”? Really?? Because wherever they’re from, it certainly wasn’t as great as America. OK stopstopstop right here folks, I need to rant for a moment:
    • the US really has to drop this “greatest nation on earth” schtick. Do you love your country? Sure. Does this mean that you need to make absolutist claims about its superiority to all other nations of the planet? No, dammit. America is great: OK, at least within an ever-dwindling set of parameters. But the US needs to come up with another form of patriotic expression than superiority and supremacy. There’s a historically important reason why most European countries, for example, avoid this sort of rhetoric like the plague.
  • OK, back to listening to this.
  • Now some anecdote about going to the grocery store with his father, and his father saying “Americans can do anything.” Oh, you can already tell this is going to be a motto for this speech.
  • There you go, he said it again. Is this his version of “Yes we can?” ‘Cause it’s not working so well.
  • “When we pull together, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.” Wrong party, Jindal. The Republican party is the party of individual responsibility, not collective care. According to conservative philosophy, you don’t pull together, you act as self-interested parties in a free market that somehow results in a good outcome for everyone…most people…well, the profitable few. Those who don’t fare so well must’ve not worked hard enough.
  • “Republicans are ready to work with the new president…” I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when he said this, as I might’ve damaged my screen with spit-back. What?! The Republican strategy so far has been to minimize any efforts of bipartisanship by Obama and then obstruct his success as much as possible. It’s clear that the plan is to come out of this as newly-devout conservative purists, just as their opposition to everything that comes out of Obama’s office ensures a crashing failure (or so they hope). Gah.
  • “Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.” WHAT?! Did you just use the example of Hurricane Katrina to argue that government can’t save us from the financial crisis? Are you seriously arguing that, since the government failed horribly at dealing with Katrina, the government should have no role in dealing with the global economic crisis? Do you really think the government was too involved rescuing people from the floodwaters? What precisely was to be done instead? Anyway, as a Republican, you shouldn’t even utter the word “Katrina” for another 10 years. Christ. That’s it. I quit, I’m out of here.
  • OK, OK, I’m back. But I’m not enjoying this.
  • “Let me tell you a story…” NO. GIVE A SPEECH, PLEASE. Fuck. I mean, anecdotes are fine and everything, but they should be embedded smoothly into your argumentation, not jammed in there like some sort of entertainment “intermission.”
  • Declares his frienship with Terry Lee, a New Orleans Sheriff that has been constantly under criticism for racial profiling.
  • “some bureaucrat” stopped N.O. citizens from saving others in their boats. Sure. If you’re going to make that claim, you need something more substantive than “some bureaucrat,” as if a tubby caricature in a pin-stripe suit just materialized in the middle of the post-Katrina devastation.
  • “The strength of America is not found in our government.” There’s the conservative money shot. It’s a pretty tone-deaf argument to make, but fine, at least you’re talking politics now.
  • “this spirit will get us through the storms that we face today.” No, Bobby. A bunch of people having “spirit” isn’t going to undo the financial crisis we’re in right now. It’s a bit bigger than grassroots organizing and individual volunteer work. Everyone can play a part, yes, but the government must play the part that no other entity can play.
  • Again, “Americans Can Do Anything™”. No, Bobby, no. Thanks to the last eight years of dwindling civil liberties, Americans certainly aren’t free to do a lot of things. If what you mean is that Americans are capable of anything, again, no. Americans can’t turn back time, they can’t un-kill Iraqis and Afghanis and their own soldier-children, they can’t completely snuff out terrorism, they can’t boss China into doing anything anymore, they can’t be serious about removing illegal workers from the US labor system without causing further collapse in manufacturing, construction and the domestic service industries, and so on. Nor, for that matter, are any other citizens of any other nation capable of anything.
    • In fact, just to bring in the Spinoza [LINK], the better point to make is that we can never fully know what Americans are capable of. This means that, at any moment, could potentially surprise ourselves with action we had never thought possible (both in the positive and negative sense). But anyway, I digress.
  • OK, now the Republican wish-list
  • Cutting taxes for working families
  • Cutting taxes for small businesses
  • “strengthening businesses” whatever that means
  • new tax credit for home-buyers
  • “These plans would cost less and create more jobs.” Prove it. This all sounds like an ass-backwards version of what was already proposed in the stimulus bill…only less economically stimulative. A tax credit for home-buyers? I realize that the housing market is in a slump, but encouraging more property speculation isn’t going to help.
  • Now on to complaints about the stimulus bill
  • while containing some good policy, it’s “larded” with wasteful spending. Examples follow…
    • money to buy new cars for the government
    • money for high speed train lines (he calls it a “magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland” which is wrong on all three counts; it’s high-speed rail and the budget hasn’t been allocated to a particular route yet, and that allocation will be done by a former Republican congressman)
    • “and 140 million dollars for something called volcano monitoring.” YES, IT’S CALLED VOLCANO MONITORING AND IT HELPS PREVENT MASSIVE LOSS OF LIFE YOU IDIOT. OMG THIS MAKES MY HEAD HURT.
  • “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington DC.” Oh I see what you did there. Yes, very clever turn of phrase. Excessive spending is TOTALLY analogous to the threat posed by another Mount St. Helens.
  • …”saddle future generations with debt.” Yes, thank goodness you weren’t doing any of this when your party was in power.
  • Apparently, Louisiana is a corruption-free paradise of bipartisan co-operation. Did you hear that, people of New Orleans?
  • Instead of mirroring Obama’s concerns for the environment, health care and education, here’s his hobby-horse: the price of gas.
  • “We believe that Americans Can Do Anything™” Ugh. OK, is that the fourth time so far? This is going to kill me.
  • Apparently, here’s the Republican health-care principle: “No American should have to worry about losing their health-care privileges.” Clever phrasing there. Notice that people who never had healthcare in the first place are not covered by this principle. Nor is the right to affordable healthcare. They just think that it shouldn’t get any worse than it already is. WE’D LIKE AN IMPROVEMENT, THANK YOU.
  • His take on education: “The Children of America Can Do Anything™”
  • OK, now he just made a joke about Louisiana being half underwater or half under indictment at all times. Seriously.
  • Republicans have hope, too! We just don’t hope in the government. Instead, we hope in you, the American people. Group hug!
  • “Our party got away from its principles.” Oh, here comes the mea culpa
  • “You elected a Repulican government to champion limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility….Republicans lost your trust, and rightly so.” OK, this would’ve been a good way to start the speech.
  • Apparently, he’s “determined to regain your trust.” Apparently, by making stupid shit up about ‘excessive spending’ in the stimulus bill.
  • “This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery” Yes, after the rest of the enlightened world had. It took a fucking civil war in the mid 19th-century to get rid of slavery in the US, so let’s not act as if America blazed the way for emancipation in the world.
  • And, in closing, “Americans Can Do Anything™”
  • You just couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you, bobby?

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

Wow Sweetie... that was impressive! You managed to make this hurt more than it did the first time I watched it. Well done! (And I have to go puke now.)