The Corner

Loving Bobby Jindal

Rush Limbaugh, yesterday:

Let me just say it right out.  I love Bobby Jindal and that did not change after last night.  I respect Bobby Jindal; I have great enthusiasm for Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, and nothing that happened last night changed my mind. . . .

But the people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style.

Because if you think people on our side, I’m talking to you, those of you who think Jindal was horrible, in fact, I don’t want to hear from you ever again if you think that what Bobby Jindal said was bad or what he said was wrong or not said well, because, folks, style is not going to take our country back.  Solid conservatism articulated in a way that’s inspiring and understanding is what’s going to take the country back.  Bobby Jindal’s 37 years old.  I’ve spoken to him numerous times.  He’s brilliant.  He’s the real deal.  I’m not coming here to defend him, he doesn’t need that.  We’re going to have to figure out what we want.  Do we want to have somebody in our party who can sound as smart as Obama regardless what he says and convince people to vote for us, or do we believe in a set of principles that defined this country’s founding and will return it to greatness again?  And if we do, we cannot shun politicians who share those beliefs simply ’cause we don’t like the way they say it.

I admire Jindal too, and that didn’t change for me Tuesday night either. I’m not in favor of “shunning” him. But I didn’t think that either Jindal’s substance or his style was right on Tuesday night, and I make no apologies for considering style important. Limbaugh says he wants “solid conservatism articulated in a way that’s inspiring.” The critics of Jindal’s response to Obama don’t think that he was inspiring, or even impressive, this time around. I don’t think anyone with Jindal’s interests at heart ought to be telling him otherwise.

Update: More commentary, and a depressing comment thread, here. (Then again I find most comment threads depressing.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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