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Jindal Leads, Landrieu Obstructs

The contrast in leadership could not be starker. Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal, whose immediate family hails from closer to Iraq than any other Member’s of Congress, plans to raise a purple finger in honor of Iraqi voters during tonight’s State of the Union Address, and invites any other of his fellow lawmakers to do so.

Part of an immigrant family to the U.S., by doing this Jindal represents the aspirations to political and economic freedoms that many around the world wish they had, values fully realized for him when Jindal’s family came over here, and for those in Iraq when U.S. and other nations’ troops liberated Iraqis from the oppressive-at-home, dangerous-to-the-world, regime of Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile, a day of celebration for another Washington official of color remains delayed by at least one more. Alberto Gonzales remains in limbo concerning a vote to secure his nomination as Democrat senators first considered then rejected a filibuster against him as Attorney General. Perhaps the idea never would have gained steam had not a few “moderate” Democrat senators who have heretofore participated enthusiastically in judicial nomination filibusters such as Mary Landrieu immediately come out publicly against the idea.

Of course, Landrieu has had problems with supporting officials with Hispanic surnames. In the run-up to her narrow reelection win in 2002, she first claimed to support the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and stated as such in a campaign ad (broadcast around New Orleans, home of the largest concentration in the world of Hondurans outside of that country, from where Estrada had immigrated,). After winning, she repudiated the ad.

It’s unknown how many Members will take up Jindal’s offer but it will put Democrats on the defensive: either they demonstrate support for a very tangible result of a policy many bitterly opposed, or they look like obstructionists they are, refusing to perform a simple symbolic act praising the very thing, democratic rights, that they claim they are for, in doing so revealing their true selves: hyperbolic, irrelevant, and fixated on power who oppose the U.S. aiding democracy in Iraq because it validates a Republican president’s policy. (Indeed, the only finger they are likely to raise tonight is the middle one, befitting the anger that misguides their policies.) Given our mainstream media, it’s not going to happen, but I wish every single Member who does not sport a purple digit tonight would be asked by the media why they forswore doing so.

What is known is these incidents show that Jindal is a leader, and that Landrieu is a follower – of a crowd that is wrong for Louisiana.


PusBoy said...

Holding up a purple finger. Wow. What a leader. What a magnificent action to take.

How do we get out of Iraq? Let's have some Republicans hold up Peace signs. Problem solved!

How can we cure cancer? Why not have the president shoot the thumbs-up sign to someone in chemotherapy? Instant cure.

How do we create mass amnesia regarding the fact that our president used his daddy's influence to avoid going to Southeast Asia in the early '70s? Let's all wear little purple heart band-aids at the GOP convention.

I don't know which is worse: the fact that this kind of vacuous, empty symbolism passes as "leadership" where Republicans are concerned, or the fact that folks you'd expect to see through this stuff (like, say, college professors) buy into it.

Now, excuse me while I polish my "Jesus Fish eating the Darwin Fish" badge on my Ford Excursion, which proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that evolution is false.

Jeff Sadow said...

Mary Landrieu, to her credit, was one of the few Democrats to vote for the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General. A hundred more votes along those lines and maybe we can start calling her a moderate. It's only a little less than four years to the end of her term ....

Symbolic actions are good, but obviously better and verified when the walk is walked. I expect Jindal and others in the GOP to walk the walk when it comes to protecting this country today and supporting a foreign policy that protects this country and others that hold similar values as we do in the future. Let's put it this way, those who showed the purple finger are likely to do that; those that intentionally refused to are likely not to.