By Olivia Smith
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
There's a new gotcha game in Washington, according to some Republicans, involving a four-letter word: Fail.
The person whose failure or success is in question is President Barack Obama. And if you're not for him, you're against economic recovery and the country's longterm health. Or at least that's how some Democrats choose to see it, according to a prominent GOP up-and-comer.
Louisiana Governor and possible 2012 GOP presidential contender Bobby Jindal called Democrats out on that presumption in a speech at a major Republican fund-raiser on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
As President Obama was preparing to take the stage for a primetime press conference just blocks away, Jindal questioned the notion that wanting Barack Obama to fail was equal to wanting the country to fail.
"My answer to the question is very simple: 'Do you want the president to fail?' It depends on what he is trying to do," Jindal told the crowd, as reported by CNN.com.
Jindal went on to slam anyone who questions the right to wish anything less than 100% success on Obama.
"Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, 'Why no sir, I don't want the president to fail,' is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism," Jindal said told the crowd of 1,200 people, as quoted by CNN. "This is political correctness run amok."
Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh was the first to make "fail" a hot-button word with regard to President Obama and his agenda.
Speaking to Sean Hannity on Jan. 22 about anticipated Obama initiatives that Limbaugh equated with "the growth of government," the pundit said, "Why would I want that to succeed? I don't believe in that. I know that's not how this country is going to be great in the future, it's not what made this country great.
"So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail, if his agenda is a far- left collectivism, some people say socialism, as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?"
Democratic outcry about the remark was swift, and the "fail" has been used to pressure naysayers to support the president's goals.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters on March 3, "there's a significant number of Republicans out there who want the president to fail," the Huffington Post reported at the time.
That week Congress was working to push through a $410 spending bill.
Jindal's remarks at the dinner, which was headlined by President George W. Bush last year, again stoked speculation about the 37-year-old's bid for a national reputation and possible run for the presidency.
But first he needs to banish memories of his last appearance opposite Obama, when he gave the official Republican rebuttal to the president's address to Congress on Feb 24.
That appearance was so badly panned that it was widely perceived as having done more damage than good, both to Jindal and his party.
He took advantage of last night's appearance to joke about it at his own expense.
Speaking of the earlier address, Jindal said as quoted by CNN.com. "I have just learned that because of President Obama's opposition to torture, it is now illegal to show my speech to prisoners at Gitmo."