Conservatives pan Jindal's 'weak' and 'amateurish' speech
Rachel Oswald
Published: Wednesday February 25, 2009

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After President Obama's strong address to Congress Tuesday, hopes were high among conservatives that their new golden boy, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, would respond with equal oratorical might. Judging from the responses of commentators and bloggers from the right side of the aisle, that did not happen.

Commenting on the public response to Jindal's speech, Kathryn Jean Lopez, a blogger with The Corner on National Review Online, a conservative Web site, shared one e-mail she had received from a reader in Seattle:

"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."

Writing for the American Spectator, Philip Klein wrote of Jindal, "The substance of his speech read fine, but his delivery was absolutely awful. His delivery was flat and his jokes and anecdotes were awkward, his grin childish. He may be brilliant, but presentation matters too, and this was a lackluster performance."

Even the folks at Fox News, who are generally more friendly towards Republicans had harsh words for his speech delivery.

“Jindal didn’t have a chance," said Fox News' Charles Krauthammer. "He follows Obama, who in making speeches, is in a league of his own. He’s in a Reaganesque league."

Juan Williams had the harshest words of the group reviewing Jindal's performance.

“It came off as amateurish and even the tempo in which he spoke was sing-songy," Williams said. "He was telling stories that seemed very simplistic and almost childish.”

Chiming in from the more liberal point-of-view, Andrew Sullivan with the Daily Dish compared Jindal to Kenneth the page from 30 Rock.

"Stylistically, he got better as he went along but there was, alas, a slightly high-school debate team feel to the beginning," Sullivan said. "And there was a patronizing feel to it as well - as if he were talking to kindergartners - that made Obama's adult approach so much more striking."

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin was kinder to Jindal saying that she thought "his delivery was fine."

"I’ll take Bobby Jindal’s genuine faith in American entrepreneurship over Barack Obama’s fear-mongering-turned-faux Reaganism any day," Malkin wrote. "His actions and his actual record — reforming his state’s decrepit health care system, fixing higher ed, serving in Congress, tackling entitlement reform, managing natural emergencies, etc. — remain mightily impressive."

Tepid though his delivery may have been, conservatives are criticizing MSNBC today for a remark an employee of MSNBC made off-camera of "Oh God" which can distinctly be heard coming right before Jindal first took to the podium.

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