Nothing More Than We’ve Come to Expect from Bobby and the Hardline

Detail: "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La. speaks in New York on Oct. 16, 2014." (John Minchillo—AP)

There comes a point when being a scientist might have certain advantages; if you need some time away from people, just go. When they ask where you’ve been, just say you were running an experiment. When they ask what it was, just shake your head like you’re annoyed and mutter that it didn’t work out. There are all sorts of ways to justify this as not being a lie, but we’ll skip the joke about the effects of repeated physical exertion during cinematic experience. Besides, Reubens established a result of some sort, decades ago, and it would be counterproductive to get arrested testing the reliability of that one.

Excuses aside, it is also true that the month before and after Christmas can be especially trying, and while most suggest a thing or two about sunlight in this region, it is unclear whether the application of the Seasonal Affective proposition is appropriately oriented.

Still, though, speaking of professional wankers:

You know what Bobby Jindal said about Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe, a statement that resulted in Jindal being criticized and mocked by mainstream commentators? It turns out many social conservatives in Iowa really liked it. To them, Jindal was warning about the danger of enclaves of unassimilated Muslim populations in an age of Islamic radicalism, a problem they fear could be in store for the United States. Jindal, who is himself the model of an assimilated American from an immigrant family, not only did not suffer from his remarks but instead benefited from them.

(York)

After the 2012 election, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal explained to his fellow Republicans that the GOP needed to “stop being the stupid Party”. Certes, there are those left of center who laughed at the time, but he pushed that line for a short while, and even managed to get Haley Barbour to back him on the point before the wheels came off. Depending on who you ask, Jindal made it a little while; when Jamelle Bouie made the observation that the starry-eyed Louisiana presidential hopeful had given up and joined in the stupid, the calendar had changed again, and it was 2014. One might be tempted to say that’s not so bad, but those fifteen months require generous assessment, as the would-be presidential pelican postured himself in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded drilling on federal lands, against the PPACA, and as a staunch defender of bigotry and Christian supremacism. Bouie noted:

After four years of failed debuts on the national stage, Jindal hopes that this “war” against “elites” will give his political career meaning. And this might play well with conservatives who have a persecution complex. For everyone else—including most American believers—it falls flat.

Which is to say, if “Jindal 2016” were a race horse, I wouldn’t just hedge my bets—I’d buy shares in the glue factory.

The problem, of course, is that you never know. Look at what just happened in the midterms. Kansas went Brownbacking, Iowa settled on the importance of being Ernst (i.e., having that parenthetic “(R)” after her name), and Colorado made a courageous stand for misogyny by sending Cory Gardner―who wants birth control to be a class issue―and a prosecutor who used his office to abet confessed rapists to the U.S. House of Representatives; voters this cycle had an appetite for stupid.

Jindal, however, is pretty much topping himself, like an athlete seeking to claim a new world record from himself.

There are a number of aspects to what happened this weekend, the first of which being to remember that the prayer rally Jindal attended this weekend is the same event Texas Governor Rick Perry used to launch his own presidential campaign in 2011. It is, as Rachel Maddow noted on Friday (23 Jan.), heavy on the bigotry, featuring the American Family Association and, this year, a strange televangelist named Cindy Jacobs who preaches tales of raising Pakistani children from the dead, and prophecies from God that compel her to pray not to forestall disaster, but merely diminish its toll. And here is a point about stupid: While Maddow was on the air, Jindal’s office responded, noting that “The Response … is a prayer event, not a political rally. It is free and open to everyone.”

Jindal seems to be one of the foremost purveyors of a Republican pitch that depends on people listening only to the pitch and never considering any other data. That is, it’s easy enough to see Louisiana faithful nodding and saying, “Damn straight, Bobby!” but here’s the thing:

• To say the rally is not political is at best questionable, given the amount of politicking going on in general and, specifically, the points that a presidential contender has already used a former iteration of the event to launch his presidential campaign, Office of Gov. Bobby Jindal, 23 January 2015: "The Response is an event for people of faith to come together and pray for the future of our country.  It is a prayer event, not a political rally.  It is free and open to everyone." (via The Rachel Maddow Show, msnbc, 23 January 2015)Governor Jindal is attending and headlining the event at the same time every other rumored presidential contender is scrambling to be seen at hardline conservative events, and also given the content of his speech. As reported, Gov. Jindal repeated the loathsome lie about Muslim supremacism in Europe―the one FOX News apologized for―and, as Byron York noted, excremental, bigoted lies seem to help Jindal build support among hardline conservatives.

• How can an event be “free and open to everyone” when so many people would have to stand there and endure such rancid bigotry as put forth by the Governor of Louisiana and the American Family Association? Yes, Muslim and gay Americans would feel “free” and “open” at this Christian-supremacist rally, wouldn’t they?

But the thing is that Bobby Jindal isn’t just a liar; he’s a reckless liar; check the pitch Steve Benen picked up this morning:

Stephanopoulos asked Jindal how he intends to stand out in such a crowded Republican presidential field. The far-right Louisianan returned to his “no-go zones” garbage.

“I’ll give you an example, earlier this week I gave a speech in London where I talked about the threats of radical Islamic terrorism,” Jindal said. “I know it made a lot of people upset, but we need leaders to tell us the truth.”

And by “truth,” the governor apparently meant “the exact opposite of the truth.”

Truth. Justice. The Louisianan Way?

There is something rotten down in the Pelican State, and Bobby Jindal is merely the emblem.

Hatred is a social disease; conservative voters writhe in fever; and Bobby Jindal is sick.

____________________

York, Byron. “12 keys to the GOP presidential race right now”. The Washington Examiner. 24 January 2015.

Martin, Jonathan. “Jindal: End ‘dumbed-down conservatism'”. Politico. 13 November 2012.

Lee, Kristen A. “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tells GOP: ‘Stop being the stupid party'”. New York Daily News. 25 January 2013.

Bouie, Jamelle. “Bobby Jindal Gives Up, Joins the ‘Stupid Party'”. The Daily Beast. 25 February 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “Questionable characters to join Jindal for prayer rally”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc, New York. 23 January 2015.

—————. “Jindal responds to request for comment”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc, New York. 23 January 2015.

Thompson, Catherine. “Bobby Jindal Blasts Muslim ‘No-Go Zones’ After Fox News Retraction”. Talking Points Memo. 20 January 2015.

Benen, Steve. “Jindal finds new ways to pander to far-right”. msnbc. 26 January 2015.

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