If you had asked me about the worst high-profile political speech I’d ever seen, I would have said it was John McCain’s effort last June, the one with the green backdrop, cringing smile, strangely awkward crowd and the whining “my friends, that’s not change we can believe in.”
Bobby Jindal’s effort last night approached McCain. I had never heard Jindal speak on a formal occasion, and he was bad. Bad message, worse delivery. Some of the harshest reaction came from conservatives who had hopes Jindal could be the party’s standard bearer. David Brooks put it bluntly:
“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…. It’s just not where the 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, and I just think it’s a disaster for the party. I just think it’s unfortunate right now.”
At the Corner at the National Review, they post an email from a longtime reader:
“Jindal’s delivery was weak in this sense: he did not look like someone who could lead this country. He did not instill in me any confidence that he would or could be the standard-bearer in four or eight years, which I was looking for. I wanted him to do well. But he didn’t. … He came across as the guy you’d want to have your daughter bring home, but not the guy you’d want leading your company during tough times.
Even the far-right folks at Free Republic panned it badly: