MSNBC cable-show host Rachel Maddow shares much in common with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Both are wonkish former Rhodes scholars in their mid-30s, bright and personable. Each could be perceived as a political outsider, Maddow for being openly gay, Jindal by dint of skin hue and ethnicity.
Their politics are poles apart, however, with Maddow an unabashed liberal and Jindal a staunch conservative. And that Maddow views Jindal as a threat became clear this week.
After Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Obama's address before Congress on Tuesday, he became the recipient of withering criticism from both sides of the aisle. Maddow's critique of Jindal, however, was so over the top that it bore little resemblance to what Jindal actually said --
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Wednesday delighted in a comparison of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to the MTV characters Beavis and Butt-head. Shuster singled out the Republican, who gave the GOP response to Barack Obama's February 24 congressional address, for his "hypocrisy watch" segment.
The MSNBC host slammed "Jindal's hypocrisy" for criticizing what he called wasteful spending, including volcano monitoring. (According to Shuster, Jindal is a hypocrite because, while the governor attacked volcano monitoring, he's also asked for comprehensive flood and hurricane funds for his own state.) The anchor gleefully recounted an attack by liberal New York Times writer Paul Krugman: Reading from Krugman's column, he recited, "The intellectual incoherence is stunning. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butt-head." Agreeing with the juvenile insult, Shuster added, "Beavis and Butthead? Well, Krugman didn't say which one Jindal is. Nonetheless, all of us at '1600' agree with the larger point."
Washington Post gossip columnist Amy Argetsinger didn’t bash Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with some demeaning Indian stereotype. She overlooked ethnicity altogether and compared him to psychotic murder Charles Manson. In a chat session on Wednesday with her gossip partner Roxanne Roberts, she claimed Jindal had "Manson eyes" on the TV screen:
Jindal: Is not anyone's hope except Michelle Malkin's (and consider the source) judging by the post-speech commentary. David Brooks didn't have anthing nice to say. It was uniformly panned.
Amy Argetsinger: I found his Manson eyes disturbing.
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Rick Sanchez referenced New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” during a short segment about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. Both men are known for their less-than-conservative stance on social issues, particularly on the issue of homosexual “marriage;” their sharp criticism of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during her bid for the vice presidency last year; and their sympathy for Obama.
The anchor cited the two writers a quarter of an hour into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program as examples of how Governor Jindal “hasn’t exactly been getting accolades from members of his own party” for his handling of the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Sanchez referred to Brooks as the “heralded conservative columnist for The New York Times,” and read a quote where he criticized the governor’s attack on big government: “It’s just a disaster for the Republican party. In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to say government is the problem -- it’s just a form of nihilism.” He then read an apparently sarcastic quote from “noted conservative” Sullivan: “This guy [Jindal] is supposed to be the smart one.”
Attempting to explain last night's off-camera "Oh God!" exclamation before Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, at the top of Wednesday's "Hardball," claimed he was taken aback by "The odd, antebellum look of the scene. Some people heard my reaction at the time," which contrasted with his view of Obama's address: "He wowed us! That's the running headline from last night's presidential address to the Congress. Barack Obama gave a great speech." This naked display of bias was so transparent that it caused guest panelist, former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay to point out the obvious: "Listening to your introduction somebody is gonna accuse you of being biased."
The following is Matthews' entire opening monologue and then DeLay's reaction as it was aired on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
While discussing President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress and the Republican response given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez observed: "And Americans loved it. The polls show that they're very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it's not going to work.’" Rodriguez made the remark while speaking with Democrat Dee Dee Myers and Republican Dan Bartlett. She turned to Bartlett and asked: "Do you think the Republican Party's taking the right approach, Dan, being so vocal with their objections?"
At the top of the show, Rodriguez interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and asked: "...the Republican party came out with their own charismatic, young, dynamic, ethnic spokesperson after the speech and said ‘we don't buy it, we're not on board.’ Are you taking any of their objections into account? Are any of their objections legitimate in your view?" Biden replied: "Sure. I'm sure there's -- there's some legitimate objections they have. But what I don't understand from Governor Jindal is, what would he do?...if you choose the inaction that Governor Jindal is talking about, how responsible is that? While people are just sinking into the abyss."
“Oh, god,” why did he have to use that word? According to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP “outsourced” the Republican response to a young, successful Indian-American governor who “had nothing to do with Congress.”
They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican party. They had to outsource to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to.
First of all, one might point out that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. Furthermore, Republican governors are quite important members of the party. The idea that the GOP was bringing in an outsider is flat out wrong.
One has to wonder about the thought process of some people. Dan Gilgoff, Faith reporter with U.S. News and World Report and Huffington Post writer, is a perfect example of what I am talking about. After a February 23 posting on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's Catholic faith, Gilgoff followed up the next day with a post claiming that Sarah Palin fans were smearing Jindal over his supposedly "secret Muslim" faith. Where did Gilgoff get such a ridiculous idea? Why, from just two commenters that posted on his entry of the 23rd, that's where.
That's right, just two people claiming in the comments section of his U.S. News post that Jindal was a secret Muslim was enough for Dan Gilgoff to decide that Sarah Palin's entire support base is smearing Bobby Jindal as a secret Muslim. Just two people. Two nuts is enough for U.S. News and World Report to slander Sarah Palin and all her followers as crazy, racist, hatemongers.
Update/Correction: It seems Chris Matthews, not Keith Olbermann muttered "Oh, God!" as Gov. Jindal walked out to deliver the Republican Response to the President's address to Congress. My apologies for the confusion. The text below is corrected according.
In another journalistic new low, MSNBC's Chris Matthews apparently mumbled the words "Oh God" after he introduced Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Republican who gave the GOP response following President Barack Obama's address to Congress Tuesday.
With a picture of the Governor's mansion on screen, Olbermann stated the following (video embedded below the fold):
Regardless of their actions on the stimulus plan, Republican governors are always wrong, at least according to MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow.
The ardently earnest Maddow demonstrated this on consecutive nights this week, first on Tuesday when Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, was one of her guests.
Maddow described how GOP governors are split on whether to accept money for their states from the stimulus plan. Some, such as Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, want the funding while others, including Sarah Palin of Alaska and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, are "vociferously opposed to the stimulus bill," Maddow said.
Frank Rich has apparently figured out that after January 20, it's not going to be as much fun for him. True, the Times columnist will surely disinter W as necessary to explain away Obama's missteps. But the buck for whatever post-inauguration problems the country faces will land ever more resoundingly on the new president's desk.
And so, like a vaudevillian tapping as fast as he can while anticipating the hook, Rich seems determined to spend these last few weeks of the Bush administration dancing on GOP graves and luxuriating in Republicans' perceived pain. You might say Frank is making hatred while the sun shines.
As we discussed last week in Have Fun For Now, Frank, Rich's immediate post-election column was one long poke in the Republican eye. The Timester is back at it again this morning, outdoing himself in sheer vitriol as he pour buckets of salt, generously seasoned with schadenfreude, into Republican wounds.
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez asked South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford if the Republican needed to abandon its social conservative principles in order to be successful again:
"Do you have to be anti-abortion, because that's a very important, big topic in the South..?" Sanchez later asked the Republican governor, as well as talk show host Neal Boortz, "Can you be a fiscal Republican and a social conservative Republican at the same time without making one side mad..?"
Sanchez had both Sanford and Boortz on to discuss the upcoming Republican Governors’ Association meeting in Florida. The CNN anchor first brought up a recent New York Times article, with its accompanying exaggerated map, about conclusions that the Democratic Party might draw from the recent election: "You know, as you look at this map and you start to look at the South, there was some suggestion in that New York Times article, for example, that maybe Democrats are going to get from this that you know what, they can win in the future without the South."
The next presidential election might be four years off, but it's never too early to sow dissension in Republican ranks. So would appear to be David Shuster's creed. Interviewing Bobby Jindal this evening, Shuster was clearly more interested in luring the brilliant Louisiana governor into a fight with Sarah Palin than in exploring the substance.
Jindal was way too savvy and diplomatic to fall for Shuster's transparent ploy, but that didn't stop Shuster—sitting in for David Gregory as host of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—from repeatedly trying.
In a interview with Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith asked: "...you have been an advocate for Senator McCain. He's committed a number of verbal gaffes over the last couple of weeks and the last couple of months. What does that tell you? Are they just mis-speaking -- is he just mis-speaking, or is it -- read something more?"
Smith asked no such question about Barack Obama being wrong about the success of the troop surge, but Jindal pointed out that fact in his reply:
Well look, there's no doubt that Senator Obama's an extremely gifted speaker. But when you look on taking the right positions. For example, I thought it was an excellent interview with Katie and Senator Obama, I think he had a great chance to say, that Senator Obama had a great chance to say he was just wrong on the surge. Senator McCain was right, even before the administration had agreed to this. Senator McCain rightfully saw that the surge would help to produce the kinds of security gains that Katie so rightfully described that are allowing us now to begin to withdraw troops, maybe even more aggressively than was thought possible a few months ago. That will allow us to redeploy troops to Afghanistan. So, to me, certainly, I want to say that Senator Obama is a great speaker, but I think on getting these core positions right, I think Senator McCain was right about the surge.
If we're going to promote a candid discussion of race in our country, we can't jump down the throat of everyone who ventures onto the racial minefield. Rather than finding offense in Roger Simon's suggestion that choosing Bobby Jindal as his VP running-mate would hurt John McCain among racist voters, I propose we simply analyze it. Here's what Simon said on this evening's Hardball, as guest host Mike Barnicle led the Politico reporter and Newsweek's Howard Fineman through a tour d'horizon of possible VP picks.
MIKE BARNICLE: Interesting new Republican face, Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.
ROGER SIMON: Interesting. Young. Very young, almost too young to run, not quite, he gets over the constitutional limit. But I gotta raise the delicate subject: if you're John McCain, and you know that you're going to get an 'x' percentage of votes based on race, do you pick a dark-skinned vice-presidential candidate, who some people are going to say–wrongly—is black, is a Hindu converted to Catholicism, who's an Indian-American? You know, none of that should matter in American politics, but is it a safe choice, or is it a choice that is going to get everybody chattering? I think McCain is going to go for a safer choice than that.
Charlie Crist, Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney better hope John McCain isn't banking on Tony Blankley for guidance on his Veep pick. Newt's former press secretary is blah—at best—on all three.
Blankley, also the former editorial page editor of the Washington Times and who continues to write a column there, made his remarks on MSNBC's "Race for the White House" this evening as part of a panel reacting to the news that McCain has invited the three governors—past and present—to meet with him over the Memorial Day weekend.
DAVID GREGORY: What would Governor Crist bring to McCain's ticket?
TONY BLANKLEY: I don't think he brings much. I think if McCain can't carry Florida on his own, he's not going to carry it. He needs to carry something else. I doubt, I don't think he brings much to the ticket.
Let's have some fun deconstructing Frank Rich's NY Times column of today. The gist of The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama is that it will be nearly impossible for McCain to defeat Obama because the Arizona senator reflects the politics of an almost all-white GOP in the age of a changing America.
Rich begins by mocking the the "collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols" who flanked McCain during his victory speech on the night of the Potomac Primaries. Adding insult to injury, Rich replays Letterman's line about the GOP presidential hopefuls looking like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”
ABC on Monday night, unlike the CBS and NBC evening newscasts, noted two political developments which conservatives cheer: Anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the inauguration in Baton Rouge of Republican Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana, the first non-white Governor since Reconstruction in the state dominated by Democrats -- though Gibson didn't emphasize Jindal's party affiliation -- and “a significant political breakthrough in Iraq.” On Jindal, Gibson relayed on World News, over video of the inauguration:
History was made in Louisiana today. Bobby Jindal took office as the state's new Governor. Jindal is 36, the son of Indian immigrants. He's Louisiana's first non-white Governor since Reconstruction, and the nation's first elected Indian-American Governor. Jindal, a former Republican Congressman, vowed to clean up Louisiana politics and speed hurricane recovery.
Congratulations, Bobby Jindal, on winning the governorship of Louisiana. Now if only you stood any chance of your constituents liking you, much less you getting anything done as governor. At least that's the highly pessimistic message readers of the October 21 New York Times received courtesy of reporter Adam Nossiter.
It's safe to say Nossiter, reporting from New Orleans, didn't exactly spend his "Louisiana Saturday Night" by dancing "in the kitchen 'til the morning light" over Jindal's victory (emphases mine):
The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state. Still, it is one with qualifiers attached.
The national media completely obsessed over Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, conducting an amazing propaganda campaign which suggested a la Kanye West that George Bush hated black people, demonstrated it by the government's "neglect." They paid little attention to the incompetence of state and local officials, like Gov. Kathleen Blanco. She was so tarred by her response that she didn't even run for re-election.
Yesterday, Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal, who lost to Blanco by four points in 2003, easily won the governor's race. Bobby who? That's right, the national media that obsessed over this area (and we mean you, Brian Williams, and you, Anderson Cooper) hasn't exactly been all over this post-Katrina story. Don't believe it's the victory margin. Dare we suggest that Jindal's status as an Indian-American person "of color" is an inconvenient topic for the liberal media?
The Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte covered the controversy over Democratic attack ads on GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal yesterday:
A political ad from the Louisiana governor's race is drawing a storm of criticism for accusing Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal of calling Protestants "scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical."
Democrats say the state party's 30-second TV spot - running in heavily Protestant central and north Louisiana - simply explains Jindal's beliefs with his own words, using portions of the Catholic congressman's religious writings through the 1990s, before he was an elected official.
Jindal, who is running for governor, said the ad distorts his writings.