Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

League of the Over-Articulate

The "Axis of Evil" man has found his soul mate. Michael Gerson, George W. Bush's oratorical muse, is now in love with Bobby Jindal, who "has the ability to overwhelm any topic with facts and thoughtful arguments--displaying a mastery of detail that encourages confidence...with the world-changing intensity of a late-night dorm room discussion."

Others saw the Louisiana governor's response to Obama last night differently. Andrew Sullivan called it "tired, exhausted, boilerplate" and even the Fox News folks "panned" it. But Gerson recognizes a fellow wonk when he sees one--a "hall-monitoring, library-inhabiting, science-fair-winning class president" from high-school days.

The problem with such over-articulate nerds as Gerson and Jindal is that their fluency with words is too often disconnected from what everyone else would call reality.

Gerson could give Bush the "smoking gun, mushroom cloud" metaphor when there was absolutely no evidence that Saddam Hussein was anywhere close to having a nuclear weapon, just as Jindal can now prate, "The way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians."

As Barack Obama is making brains popular again with the American people, it's important not to confuse rhetoric alone without the kind of emotional intelligence needed to connect facts with feelings, understanding with empathy.

As Gerson has been demonstrating in his stint as a Washington Post columnist after Bill Kristol's disastrous year with the New York Times, the bar for brilliance is set low in the Neo-Con world. Next to them (and Sarah Palin), Jindal may indeed be of more imposing intellectual stature than he showed last night.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I believe another Washington Post columnist described Jindal as "Don Knotts-like," which was deadly accurate.

If Jindal and Palin go head-to-head (not intellectually speaking) for the GOP nomination in 2012, it guarantees a second term for President Obama.