The response across the political spectrum to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) speech last night has been overwhelmingly negative. Even the most enthusiastic conservative talkers had harsh words for Jindal’s speech, calling it “cheesy,” “insane,” and “not his greatest oratorical moment.”
But Jindal still maintains one key supporter — Rush Limbaugh. On his radio show this afternoon, Limbaugh leaped to Jindal’s defense. “I love Bobby Jindal, and that did not change after last night,” he said. Limbaugh then directed this admonition at his fellow conservatives:
LIMBAUGH: [T]he people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style. Because if you think — people on our side I’m talking to you — those of you who think Jindal was horrible, you think — in fact, I don’t ever want to hear from you ever again. … I’ve spoken to him numerous times, he’s brilliant. He’s the real deal.
It should come as no surprise that Limbaugh would try desperately to shield Jindal from any criticism. Limbaugh repeatedly refers to the Louisiana governor as the “next Ronald Reagan.” During his Feb. 28, 2008 radio show, Limbaugh explained that Jindal is among the small group of conservative leaders with the “guts to articulate” right-wing “Rushism” principles.
The affection between the two is growing stronger over time. Limbaugh recently praised Jindal for rejecting unemployment benefits in the stimulus package. In an interview with Limbaugh in 2007, Jindal gushed that he reads Limbaugh’s books and that he is a “huge fan” of Limbaugh’s program. In addition, Jindal proudly displays Limbaugh’s kind words for him on his campaign website, where there are links to Limbaugh transcripts and articles.
Paul Begala urges Jindal to “dump Rush.” Begala writes, “But if it is Pres. Bush who haunts Gov. Jindal’s past, it is Rush Limbaugh who haunts his future.”
,Last night on Twitter, conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter wrote: “Hackwatch: Conservatives/GOP-ers who try to spin Jindal’s performance as anything better than it was..are hacks. Ugh, I have to go to bed.”