A Reminder of What Jindal’s Made of


By: Warner Todd Huston

We all saw the rocky performance that Bobby Jindal gave in his response to the president’s not-the-state-of-the-union speech earlier this week. There was a lot of wincing going on during and after his performance. But, let me stress the word “performance,” here. It was NOT the basic theme of the speech that was so bad. It was but how he delivered it.

Still, despite his less than show-stopping performance, a lot of second guessing on Jindal started to waft about conservative circles. The “he’s not ready yet” stuff was everywhere. So, we need to remind ourselves of just what sort of stuff Governor Jindal is made of. That reminder comes in the form of his reaction and efforts during Hurricane Katrina. If you want a show-stopping performance, there you have one.

With his actions during that natural disaster and his words as a result, we can see his most basic ideals laid bare. And they are ideals we should all applaud. So, as a reminder here are some highlights of his op ed in the Wall Street Journal from September 8, 2005. Jindal began his piece with these words:

Over the past few days, America has been both moved and disturbed by television footage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. But for those of us in Louisiana still struggling to cope, the troubling images are of opportunistic politicians playing the blame game while there is so much real work to do.

Rather than point fingers, we should be fixing the situation on the ground. And that will include taking steps to ensure that red tape doesn’t stifle the continued security and rebuilding efforts.

There have already been a number of instances in which an overly inhibitive bureaucracy prevented an appropriate response to the disaster. For example, on Wednesday of last week a company called my office. With only three hours before rising waters would make the mission impossible, they were anxious to send a rescue helicopter for their stranded employees. They wanted to know who would give them a go-ahead.

We could not identify the agency with authority. We heard that FEMA was in charge, that the FAA was in charge, and that the military was in charge. I went in person to talk with a FEMA representative and still could not get a straight answer. Finally we told the company to avoid interfering with Coast Guard missions, but to proceed on its own. Sometimes, asking for forgiveness is better than asking for permission.

True as can be. Big Government does not work. Local efforts are far more effective. And if anything speaks to Jindal’s basic American ideal it is this line…

My office became so frustrated with the bureaucracy that we often turned to private companies. They responded more quickly and flexibly.

Rugged individualism and local control. Now THAT is something we conservatives should applaud.

In any case, go on over to the WSJ and read Jindal’s whole piece. It is instructive to see what the man is made of. And remember, this came before he was the toast of conservatives everywhere, so he didn’t have quite as much to prove then as he might now that ambitions might be a tad more extent.

Lastly, I have to express my own disappointment in those that beat the man up so for his reply to Obama. I thought we were the party of ideas? Why are we so chagrined with a less than stellar delivery when the ideas were pretty solid? Are we going to throw Jindal under the bus so soon just because he doesn’t perform like Charlton Heston? I sure hope not. We are better than that, aren’t we?

And here is a great video of another Louisiana legend, Sheriff Harry Lee, a self-described “yellow dog Democrat,” who is a big supporter of Bobby Jindal!

This is Bobby Jindal. Please do not lose sight of this.

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