Colorado’s politics junkies were likely not surprised by Republican leading light Bobby Jindal’s flame-out on national TV, as he rushed through his ill-conceived response to Obama’s non-State of the Union.
Rachel Maddow’s spot-on realtime response is rocketing around the Web — probably because it resonates with Republicans as much as it does with Democrats.
“Honestly… to invoke government failure during Katrina as a model for how to move forward as a country,” she said, aghast.
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks delivered the same verdict but used more words:
“[T]o come up at this moment in history with a stale ‘government is the problem, we can’t trust the federal government,’ it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party… The country is in a panic now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill. But the idea that… government will have no role, the federal government has no role in this, that in a moment when only the federal government is big enough to actually do stuff — to just ignore all that and just say ‘government is the problem, corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending,’ it’s just a form of nihilism.”
Here in the Colorado, we got a double dose of Jindal-style political theater this week. In lieu of ideas, we got fire-and-brimstone quotes from scripture in the Legislature and “big government bad” recitations in a Senate Committee hearing. In both cases our elected officials were supposed to be working to solve quality-of-life problems that have persisted for decades. And in both cases the Republican proposal was to do nothing.
At the Senate Finance Committee hearing, citizen after citizen testified about how the provision to restrict the budget at the center of the debate had been devastating to many residents of the state. Statistic after statistic, study after study, bore them out. Colorado ranks at the bottom among the 50 states in providing child care, in spending on education and on infrastructure and health care. For a relatively wealthy state, the list is long and depressing. The Republicans were unmoved.
Which begs a question: Is this how conservative Republicans want our state (and nation) to look? After more than 15 years of TABOR-made small government, this is the result. Does it matter to the people still championing the philosophy that got us here?