Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Mr. Rogers runs for President

You may have heard that Louisiana Governor Piyush "Bobby"Jindal recently declared that he was running for President. I suppose that's just wonderful. Go big or go home I always say. At only 44 years old and a two term governor, former Congressman, former head of the Louisiana University system, and Rhodes Scholar, Jindal is an intelligent ambitious man. He's also a less than impressive public speaker. Remember this?  But more importantly he's a man who panders to the constant conservative feelings of being under siege and needing to strike out at the "other". In Jindal's worldview this other includes everyone from non-Christians and liberals, which to him appear to be the same, to especially Muslims.  His stupid repeating of a myth about London "no go zones" and his stubborn refusal to correct his statement when called out on it show that he's eager to appeal to bigotry against Muslims. His announcement speech was full of aggrieved rants about liberals who are supposedly at war with Christians and God. Why is it important if someone believes in a supernatural being or not? That's not the source of morality or political legitimacy.  Additionally, although it may be difficult for Governor Jindal to process this, there are millions of people who believe in the same faith as he does but see things very different politically. There are folks who read through the New Testament and didn't really pick up the ideas that Jesus said to hell with poor people, that it should be every man for himself, that the free market was the best way to organize everything in life, or that the road to prosperity is paved with corporate tax breaks. It's hard to believe I know but there you are. Governor Jindal may be the only Presidential candidate who ever conducted an exorcism, but I'm not sure that level of religious devotion is really what the American electorate is looking for in a President. The sort of Manichean worldview does fit in much more with the conservative mindset than it does with the liberal one. But the tide is turning (has turned?) on some of the issues of gender and sexuality which are near and dear to the social conservative heart. I think Jindal and company are going to find that out to their dismay. Well they would if they ever reached the general election. Jindal won't win the nomination because besides being somewhat goofy looking with an odd voice, he's trying to appeal to a base which is not necessarily inclined to nominate someone who's not a white male. As discussed previously, speaking of Hillary Clinton, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre sneered that eight years of one demographically symbolic President is enough, while recently Ann Coulter (wrongly) accused South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley of being an immigrant (based apparently on her South Asian heritage) who thus didn't understand American history.

So those are the sorts of people to whom Jindal will have to appeal. It's possible he could do just that. He was elected to Governor twice in Louisiana, after all. But I'm not seeing it on a larger stage. Not now. It would be a win for Jindal just to make it into the first debate. Fortunately for Jindal though, people from his parents' country can't vote in Republican primaries, because many seem less than impressed with Jindal and his perceived rejection of his ethnicity. Go figure.
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