The ability to laugh at oneself is an admirable quality in a leader, suggesting a sense of perspective about personal limitations.
That’s why we welcome the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., which involves the Washington press corps in spoofing national politicians — and also includes noted politicians spoofing themselves.
The presence of the incumbent president, Barack Obama, was a given at this year’s dinner, but Gov. Bobby Jindal’s participation made the event especially memorable for Louisiana residents.
Jindal’s remarks were wry and self-deprecating, including a tongue-in-cheek reference to his widely panned GOP response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union speech.
Jindal also had some fun with the persistent assumption, given his high profile in national GOP politics, that he’s interested in running for president.
“I have no plans to run,” Jindal told the audience. “I’ve made that clear, over and over again . . . in Iowa . . . in New Hampshire . . . and in South Carolina.
“There is a reason I’ve got no plan to run,” the governor added. “I mean, come on. What chance does a skinny guy with a dark complexion and a funny name have to get elected president of the United States?”
We have significant differences with Jindal, and we have already expressed concern that his frequent travels outside Louisiana, as well as many of his policy choices, appear to put his national political ambitions above Louisiana’s interests.
But we’re glad when Republicans and Democrats can share a meal and a laugh or two. That kind of collegiality is desperately needed right now in our political life.
“This dinner is a sign of America’s greatness,” said Jindal. “The press makes fun of the person running the country, the president makes fun of himself, the opposition party pokes fun at the party in power . . . and no one gets arrested.”
The governor is right to express thanks for such exercises in civil discourse.
We’re grateful, too.