Another Great Communicator?



By: Jeremy Alford

While Gov. Bobby Jindal may have set the bar high for ethics and transparency in his administration, it was already set low for oratory prowess when he took office. That’s because his Democratic predecessor, Kathleen Blanco, was known for her lack of rhetorical and oratorical skills. In Jindal’s speech to open his second special session last week, the Republican governor was interrupted no less than a dozen times by applause — and one quasi-standing ovation. When he told lawmakers that Louisiana’s good-government rankings had risen as a result of last month’s ethics session, his cabinet, seated at the back of the House chamber, jumped to its feet in unison, clapping enthusiastically even as representatives and senators kept their seats. Nonetheless, the speech was tightly written and welcomed warmly by lawmakers. Perhaps in a nod to the recent comparison drawn by conservative maven Rush Limbaugh, Jindal also sounded Reaganesque in his address, declaring that “state government is in the way” of economic development and prompting cheers with repetitive one-liners. Reading from a teleprompter, Jindal noted obvious problems, then exhorted lawmakers, “That must change.” The phrase was uttered seven times during his speech. In his last special session address, delivered last month, Jindal used another clarion call: “Be bold.” Jindal’s pattern mirrors the rhythm used to perfection by former President Ronald Reagan, who was known as “The Great Communicator” by his GOP faithful.

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