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Bobby Jindal Channel’s Mr. Rogers, Ends Up In Kenneth the Page From “30 Rock” Meme (First Impressions)

You have to be mindful of your first impression. It could be your last.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got a prime spot Tuesday night, giving the GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s speech. By now, we all know how that turned out.

Obama gave a tough, but hopeful speech that was critically praised by many. The biggest criticism I could find from the opposition party was that it was more big government talk (so sez The Hammer: “The most irresponsible, hypocritical speech I have ever witnessed!“), but that was about it. When you’re good, you’re good.

Then it was Jindal’s turn.

A lot of people would have killed for Jindal’s spot. Namely former Mass. Gov. Mitt “Mittens” Romney (who ran for president and failed) or Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (who ran for veep and failed). The Republicans have been trotting out lots of shiny new potentials, all hoping one will capture our imaginations as the next big something or other. Who would get to glisten like a diamond after Our Fair Hopey brought down the house with his usual rousing oratorical?

Granted, speaking after the State of the Union is a tough gig. For every politico who has a good go of it (Sen. Jim Webb, for example), there is that vast wasteland of rebuttal-makers no one remembers because they committed the sin of being boring. In the defense of the dull, it’s hard to capture the attention of your audience when you’re following someone who just gave a speech in one of the grandest halls in our political system. But it’s the sort of horrible, thankless task people fight to the death over and Jindal won the battle of GOP’s version of “Republican Idol.”

And the verdict is in. He blew it.

Upon first watch, I was mostly stupefied that he was not laying into the president’s speech, tearing it apart while pleasantly explaining to me how the Republicans had just the right elixir to get the economy chugging again. You know? Some substance. Some “Hey Big Spender!” jazz hands. A little Jimmy Stewart with a little “Demo-Ratz Sux” gangsta rap remix.

You know? Something for everyone.

Instead he strolled awkwardly up to a mike with jacket unbuttoned and began telling me “gee, shucks, golly gosh” stories about his life, peppered with bringing up Katrina (Which for me is like a Clinton-era Democrat bringing up Monica Lewinsky unprompted. Er … why?) and politely shoving the entire party “lovingly” into the turbines with the whole “the Republican Party screwed the pooch” bit, but went right back to discussing the awesomeness that is being Bobby Jindal.

Doing what I thought was a bad version of “Cajun” Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, I was disturbed that he referred to “India” as a “far away land,” like he was discussing Krypton instead of the second most populous place on earth. And I was concerned about the weird sing-songy cadence of his Southern drawl mixed with the fact that he was talking about me like I was a nine year old with a mild learning disability.

And I don’t watch “30 Rock,” so The Internet had to teach me that in fact what I was watching Jindal become Kenneth the Page and there’s nothing worse than when something should have just bored people turns into a full-blown comic bit, bound to give Lorne Michaels another excuse to have yet another actor dabble in brownface, if only for the hope lightning will hit twice. (And I’m pretty sure Michaels is still writing thank you notes to Sarah Palin and Tina Fey.)

For more on this phenomenon, Gawker does a nice little round up of all the incriminating evidence. While I’m largely anti-brownface, if actor-comic Jack McBrayer channels his inner-Slumdog-by-the-way-of-Baton-Rouge I wouldn’t be shocked. For one, like it did for “Feylin,” the publicity will probably help keep “30 Rock” (The popular show no one watches!) on the air.

And maybe that was the goal all along. A one man Republican stimulus package to save Saturday Night Live, which since the election ended, has been trapped in a never ending cycle of “let’s all laugh at two straight dudes pretending to be gay.”

But I doubt that was what Jindal, a man who obviously wants to move up and farther than Louisiana, intended. He reached for greatness. He aspired for magic. He has everything the current president has (semi-“exotic”/fascinating heritage/storyline, brains, nice looking wife, etc.), only in a slightly less polished package. Maybe it was TelePrompter disease? Maybe he was frightened or nervous? I don’t know. I wanna give the fellow the benefit of the doubt since everyone is piling on. But it was bad. And everyone agreed it was bad (save, like Rush, who hearts Jindal almost as hard as Pat Buchanan hearts Palin and Pat LURVES him some Palin).

The “chattering class” conservatives were not impressed, but they hate pretty much everything the GOP puts out nowadays. Therefore I have to endure things like an exasperated David Brooks bemoaning how this is the latest WORST. THING. EVER. to happen to the Republicans.

LEHRER: Now that, of course, was Gov. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, making the Republican response. David, how well do you think he did?

DAVID BROOKS: Uh, not so well…I oppose the stimulus package because I thought it was poorly drafted but to come up at this moment in history with a stale ‘government is the problem, we can’t trust the federal government,’ it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill. But the idea that we’re just going to… That government will have no role, the federal government has no role in this, that in a moment when only the federal government is big enough to actually do stuff- to just ignore all that and just say ‘government is the problem, corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending,’ it’s just a form of nihilism. It’s just not where country is it’s not where the future of the country is. There’s an intra-Republican debate: some people say the Republican Party lost its way because they got too moderate, some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate. And so he’s making that case. I think it’s insane. I just think it’s a disaster for the [Republican] Party. I just think it’s unfortunate right now.

(Source: Crooks and Liars)

Brooks and his sooo frustrated, political-nerds-without-a-home seem to think the party went off the deep end and needs to dial it back about 11 or 12 notches so they don’t have to endure the indignity of becoming “Independents” or “Libertarians” or something. (You can hate the two party system all you want, but the bar is always open and free at all the Donkephant soirees. Everyone else is BYOB. Surely you can’t expect Peggy Noonan to get tipsy with the likes of Ron Paul on the Chiraz she bought with her own doubloons!)

But this is the world they’re living in right now. Where Rachel Maddow talks about the entire conservative movement like they’re trapped on the Island on ABC’s “Lost.” And if they are “Lost,” is Charles Widmore the reason why their leader Ben — and I’m assuming “Ben” is really a slender, impish Karl Rove — is off the island, not there to guide them through this most difficult time? Leaving them with no one but Cajun Mr. Rodgers, the Palinator, Mike Tyson’s former brother-in-law and my fair Mittens? If so, damn you, Whitmore. Damn you to hell!

My opinion? They could stand to dial it back 12 notches because, you know, they’ve had this nasty habit of alienating people rather than convincing folks of their wonderfulness. They’re losing in the North, East and West. They still have the South, which is great, but … um, no matter what Hannity sez, that last election didn’t work out because the Obama used his “secret Muslim powers” to hypnotize the electorate and make him King of the World n’ shizz.

Jindal, who looks great on paper, should have been appealing to someone like me who has grown up under the impression that the Republican Party didn’t even see me as “pander worthy.” I enjoy a good pander like all voters. You should at least WANT my vote enough to woo me. But in the end, his whole cheery “Screw government, please!” even when the problems are so huge that, quite honestly, the only entity that can actually do anything IS the government is a little off the button of where a lot of people are right now. And by now I mean horribly broke and under-employed. Then using, of all things, Katrina as an example of “Government is the problem” when that government was tethered to a Republican Administration many people have blamed for the nightmare that was Katrina was beyond strange.

I gotta agree with that screaming mimi David Brooks. Jindal really seemed a little out-of-touch with my present, underemployed reality where I work two part-time jobs, blog, hustle T-shirts and freelance and still can’t afford health care. I hit a car last week and because I drive a tiny piece of crap and hit a gigantic SUV at a slow speed, I’m driving around with a mangled hood and punctured front bumper because I can’t afford to pay any more on my car insurance.

Oh yeah. I’m livin’ it up in a Past-time Paradise. But please, continue to not give me an alternative to this shitty situation other than “let it ride.”

Sigh. While I know many people think this will be the death of Jindal (bad first impression with America! Frowny faces all around), he will survive this. There’s still no clear leader of the GOP. Rush is still threatening to chop some heads on his behalf. I don’t know if that helps or hurts or not. It’s kind of like having Pat Buchanan as your PR guy. Use at your own risk. But everything is very fluid and while American’s love a good take down they also love a good comeback story. He could get someone to help him polish that speech. They can rebuild him. They can make him better, faster, less like Kenneth the Page.

And he’s got four years to do it. He just has to hope this whole Kenneth thing doesn’t stick. Gerald Ford only had to fall down that one flight of stairs once.

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17 thoughts on “Bobby Jindal Channel’s Mr. Rogers, Ends Up In Kenneth the Page From “30 Rock” Meme (First Impressions)

  1. rikyrah says:

    I think the key will be SNL…will they skewer Jindal this week or not?The Kenneth comparison is frigging hilarious. If they actually got the actor who plays Kenneth in an SNL skit about Jindal…it’ll be a Youtube sensation..

  2. Patria says:

    I can’t even believe how jam packed funny and clever this post is. He’s totally Kenneth and totally concerning. I also loved your cheescake filled, last post on Michelle- I vote for the short hair too- she would rock a short hair cut. Her dress is perfection in that picture too.

  3. greer muldoon says:

    Jindal sucks. Steele sucks. The Republicans suck. It’s a LOT too little and a LOT too late for them to even try to "color" their party with these two. And their behavior in the House and Senate is mind-blowing. They are all but saying "We’re not going to do jack this Negro wants, are you nuts? He’s a NEGRO!" Really, that’s what it’s starting to look like. Jindal, dood, give it up. You are NOT the new face of color for the Republicans. You’re a little gnome fer goodness sake.

  4. Layo G says:

    Yea, it turns out that night was rather comical, from Nancy Pelosi jumping up every 3 seconds to happily cheer every syllabus the president utters (she didn’t even let him finish his sentences sometimes before she shot right up to applaud), and the vice president having this look of "give my knees a rest nancy!" to Jindal’s speech, talking to us like we’re 3 year oldsI see a skit of all these events on SNL coming soon! LOLbut on a more serious notes, while Jindal did not offer anything new, nor did he help his party by even uttering the word Katrina, at least he was not bitingly bitter like the rest of the idiots in his party usually are (He just looked like a lost lovable teddy bear, who needs some direction!)

  5. roselin83 says:

    Sidenote: 30 Rock really is a good show that everyone should watch. I know I do! Snob, you should watch it just to learn to love Sherri Shepherd in her role as Tracy Jordan’s wife.

  6. Erika M says:

    I thought Mr. Rogers as well as soon as he started speaking! And, as soon as you mentioned Kenneth the Page I had an idea in my head of who you were referencing without even watching 30 rock on the regular. Whoever said that first hit it dead on.

  7. Chanel says:

    Wonderful post. Did you see Rachel Maddow’s reaction immediately following Jindal’s speech. She literally could not form words. It was priceless!Oh, and as a SERIOUS Lost fan, I hate to tell you this, but it’s spelled "Widmore."

  8. Danielle Belton says:

    @ ChanelYou know? I realized I misspelled it while searching for Widmore on Lostpedia, but then forgot to go back and fix it!Will change!@ Roselin83I always mean to watch 30 Rock (and The Office), but I’ve been married to Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy for a long, long time now. I keep wanting to quit Grey’s but … I can’t. I’ll rent 30 Rock.

  9. princessbutterfly says:

    "I was disturbed that he referred to "India" as a "far away land," like he was discussing Krypton instead of the second most populous place on earth"That was so funny SnobI don’t watch The Office regularly, but it is the first show that I have ever laughed at out loud.

  10. Khrish says:

    I must admit that I was surprised when I heard that Chris Matthews was poohed for his hot mike with Jindal’s speech. I missed what he said because I was saying the same thing at the same time. I don’t know what the Republicans are out to prove. I know that if President Obama has chosen Hillary Clinton as VP that they would choose Jindal as VP. While he maybe quite bright, his speaking abilities leave a lot to be desired. He was stupid to allow them to put him up to speak after President Obama. I can’t think of anyone who has the guts to follow our President speeches. Oh well! It was a riot. I nearly fell out of my chair in laughter. He looked like he was scared to death. He has probably gone away for an excorcism himself. LOL

  11. "Piyush, Piyush, Piyush, Piyush Jindal, Why did you let the Republicans do that to you?"What have you done for Louisiana to appear on the national stage as the next coming of President Barack Obama? You have not reformed anything here and you have not improved anything here. We are not the state for other states to emulate because we have centuries of wrong doing which will take a different mind-set from the people to change.Remember, Piyush that there is only one Barack and you are not him and will never be. Although you are somewhat delusional of your own brilliance, you are not the Republican version of him. The Republicans have to come up with someone truly honest, independent in thought, compassionate for all people, unique and authentic than those they have now in order to recapture their prominence. "Maybe when hell freezes over will we see this". LOL!The next time you write your own speech, be sure to ‘tweak’ it yourself than have some of your fellow Republicans pad it with a bunch of lies.

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