Detached

DETACHED…. Following up on an earlier item on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) speech last night, I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention some of the specific highlights.

I promise not to fact-check the entire address — it’s tempting, but I’ll resist — but let’s touch on a few key points. Here’s Jindal, for example, explaining his concerns about government.

“Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.”

That doesn’t make any sense. In fact, it’s backwards — the government failed to act in New Orleans, and a result, people suffered. Had a competent and effective federal response been in place, lives would have been saved. Jindal has learned the wrong lessons — the families devastated by Hurricane Katrina needed more from Washington, not less. (And did you catch Jindal leaving my friend Rachel Maddow completely speechless on this point? Good stuff.)

“While some of the projects in the [stimulus] bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.”

First, the “Las Vegas to Disneyland” line is still ridiculous. Second, marveling at the very idea of high-speed rail, as if it were some kind of fanciful magic, does not reflect well on the governor’s appreciation of infrastructure innovation. And third, since when is monitoring volcanoes a bad thing? Does Jindal think monitoring hurricanes is wasteful spending? The governor of a state ravaged by a natural disaster shouldn’t mock programs that can save people from natural disasters.

“A few weeks ago, the president warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said ‘we may not be able to reverse.'”

Actually, no, he didn’t.

A speech can be judged from a variety of different angles — content, accuracy, tone, delivery, context, audience, etc. Jindal’s was one of those rare gems that failed practically every test.