President Obama spoke a couple of weeks ago in Kansas City, and briefly abandoned his prepared remarks while chiding Congress’ ineptitude.
“Some of the things we’re doing without Congress are making a difference, but we could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” the president said. “Just come on. Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time. Come on. Let’s get some work done together.”
Obama’s critics weren’t pleased. It wasn’t the president’s concerns about Congress that drew complaints, but rather, his use of the phrase “hatin’ all the time” – without the “g.” Peggy Noonan got a column out of it, and Rich Lowry used it as Exhibit A that Obama is “the callow president.”
The right’s outrage was pretty silly. George W. Bush’s use of language was routinely cringe-worthy, but conservatives were convinced his poor grammar and syntax made him “folksy.” But Obama drops a “g” in an unscripted moment and we’re supposed to believe, as Lowry put it, the president is “glib without being eloquent”?
Of course, if Obama’s brief departure into casual slang was enough to generate conservative ire, I’ll look forward to the columns on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) rhetoric. Dave Weigel reported over the weekend on the governor’s efforts to connect with Republicans in Iowa.
Seriously, Jindal was rolling. “I know that folks have been sort of teasing John Kerry about being in Nantucket and riding sort of a girl’s bike,” said Jindal. “Maybe Israel’s safer if he spends more time in Nantucket, windsurfing or riding a girl’s bike or whatever it is in Nantucket.”
If the right wants to talk about callow political rhetoric, let’s start with Jindal’s juvenile jabs.
It seems like ages ago, but shortly the 2012 elections, it was Jindal who said his party needs to “stop being the stupid party” and move away from “dumbed-down conservatism.”
Nearly two years later, this, apparently, is what he’s come up with.
Reading Weigel’s report, it’s clear Jindal thinks aiming low – and staying there – is the way to advance his ambitions, but that’s a shame. Even far-right audiences in Iowa should expect more.
Substantively, the notion that the Secretary of State is somehow undermining Israeli security is ridiculous, but it’s the governor’s references to “a girl’s bike” that’s especially jarring.
Jindal seems to think he’ll impress Iowans by questioning Kerry’s manhood?
Then again, maybe the governor knows his audience and talked down to them for a reason. Weigel took note of the crowd and reported that “the Kerry line was a hit.”