Archive for February, 2009

Snake Oil

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Bobby Jindal is supposed to be a “rising star” of the Republican Party, but in his response to President Obama’s speech on the economy last night, Jindal looked more like a falling snake oil salesman. The man had all the charisma of an overcooked string bean. Sure, Obama has gotta be a tough act to follow under the best of circumstances, but that doesn’t account for Jindal’s extraordinary discomfort, his wooden delivery or his unsuccessful attempts to crack a smile.

Jindal’s poor performance was nothing compared to the deceit and hypocrisy of his so-called message. I wonder what compels a man to stand up in front of a national audience and tell a string of lies like he did. I’m not talking about the little white lie of his stupid anecdote about Sheriff Harry Lee and Hurricane Katrina, which is almost assuredly apocryphal. What I am talking about is his effort to peddle to the American people the ideology that is responsible for this mess that we are in and that has caused so much suffering and deprivation to the working class.

The essential feature of Jindal’s message is a fallacy. He touts an obvious truism – that government cannot solve all problems – and then offers the conclusion that government cannot solve any problems, or more specifically, the economic problems that we are now facing. Riding the crest of this false logic, he proposes that the answer is more tax cuts for the rich.

The evil here is palpable. People are in need. People are in trouble. We are talking about thousands of people who have lost and are losing their homes, who have lost and are going to lose their jobs. People are going to suffer and go through tough times. This is not pretend or make believe. These people, this country, our economy, needs help, and the only way that this help is going to get delivered is by the government taking strong action. Jindal and the Republican Party do not want this to happen. Instead, they want the government to give yet more concessions to that very small group of people who are not going to suffer at all. It’s like taking food from the hungry in time of famine to give to a bunch of overfed gluttons. It’s wrong, it’s disgusting, and it’s immoral.