Alex Massie

Holding out for a hero: GOP division.

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I don't know why Bobby Jindal, the Republican party's Great Brown Hope, agreed to give the GOP response to Obama's speech last night. Supposedly a privilege, this more often turns out to be a fools errand. Indeed, the only successful opposition response I can recall in recent years was given by Senator Jim Webb. Generally, however, the poor sap offered the chance to go up against the President is on a hiding to nothing: the man in charge has the full majesty of his office behind him; the opposition spokesman sits in a wee room on their own waiting for their chance to give a speech no-one is very interested in anyway...

Even allowing for that, however, the reviews for Jindal are in and, eh, they're not so good. Brutal in fact. The governor of Louisiana might be well advised to keep to his promise of skipping the 2012 Presidential election. It would be silly to suppose that one poor TV performance - even a high-profile one - can damn him completely but worse than Jindal's delivery was his recitation of stale GOP talking points everyone has heard too often before and no-one wants to hear again.

So if wee Bobby is not the obvious GOP saviour - at least not yet - who is? Don't ask me, but I'd bet that the GOP can only be renewed in the states, not in Washington. This is not, I admit, an original thought. So step forward Jon Huntsman, former ambassador to Singapore and now governor of rock-red Utah. He is this week's trendy pick for Republican Renewal. And why not? Anyone who says stuff like this can't be all bad:

"I don't even know the congressional leadership," Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, shrugging off questions about top congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "I have not met them. I don't listen or read whatever it is they say because it is inconsequential - completely."



*Gov. Huntsman has endorsed civil unions for gay couples. In Utah. His popularity has, it's true, taken a hit: he now only has an 80% approval rating.

UPDATE: How bad was Jindal? Here's fellow Ragin' Cajun Rod Dreher:

Bobby Jindal was a total disappointment. He was badly over-rehearsed; Matthew, my kid, watched with me and said, "He sounds totally artificial. He sounds like a televangelist." I can't improve on that description. It sounded like that to me too.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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