President Obama gave his first address to the American people in front of a joint session of Congress last night (Obama outlines ambitious agenda for ‘lasting prosperity’). I think he gave a compelling speech explaining what his policies will do for working Americans. I am concerned as to how we are going to pay for this, but have confidence that our President will explore all options as he attempts to tackle a historic national debt and bad economy.
The Republican response was rather interesting. Louisiana Governor Jindal appears to be the party’s new ‘shinning star’ (Jindal calls stimulus ‘irresponsible’ in GOP response). There are clearly huge philosophical differences between the Democrats and Republicans on how to move this country forward. I was not sure who Governor Jindal was targeting, but it was not the average American.
He started his response by acknowledging the historic accomplishment that this country made by electing the first President of the United States who is of color. He then talked about his own experience; his parents came to the U.S. form India. His mother was pregnant with him and his family could not afford to pay the hospital bill. His father and the doctor worked out a payment plan and according to the Governor; never missed a payment.
I am not sure why he mentioned that his dad never missed a payment. I wonder what would have happened if his dad missed a payment? They couldn’t take him from his parents or force him back into his mother’s womb. What was he trying to say to the thousands of Americans have to file for bankruptcy or loose their homes because they could not afford to pay their medical bills? Was he trying to warn these people never to miss a payment?
Governor Jindal is lucky that a doctor or hospital agreed to an affordable payment plan. Jindal was born in 1971; I wonder how successful an African American family would have been in trying to establish a payment plan for a hospital bill in Louisiana in 1971? If anything, his story reinforces Obama’s call for health care reform right now!
The part of Governor Jindal’s response that was really misleading was his comments about Hurricane Katrina. He used Katrina as an example of how government bureaucracy and big government is not good. He claimed that a sheriff could no deploy boats to rescue people because of insurance concerns. He and the sheriff decided to ignore the request and deployed boats to rescue people.
I don’t know what part of Louisiana he was speaking of, but he clearly wasn’t talking about the 9th Ward or New Orleans; we saw people trapped on top of houses and in the Dome; no one came to save them.
In addition, Governor Jindal failed to mention that it was his party’s Presidential Administration who mishandled the Katrina recovery. The problem was not that government was too big to handle Katrina, it was that the people who were in charge of running Government didn’t know what they were doing.
President Obama’s vision for this country is huge. Some doubt his methods, but one thing that this country is known for is dreaming and accomplishing big things; I believe that we can succeed.