Bobby Jindal, the face of the new GOP, demonstrates how isolated the party has become

One of the rising stars in the Republican Party, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal was tipped as a possible running mate of John McCain and is now seen as one of the main players in the party’s bid to rebuild for a congressional comeback in the mid-terms and to mount a challenge to President Obama in 2012.

On the face of it he’s a good candidate: Jindal is an able politician with a good record, who as governor in 2008 oversaw, with Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, the huge evacuation and preparations that saved hundreds of lives during the landfall of Hurricane Gustav.

But underneath it all, Jindal is still in hock to the religious right.  He has opposed embryonic stem cell research, abortion, gay marriage, refused federal aid in hate crimes investigations, and promoted the teaching of creationism.  During his time as a student he attended an “exorcism”, a procedure in which a young woman was detained and assaulted by people professing religious motives.  Such characteristics, as Sarah Palin found to her cost, are only attractive to the Republicans’  base of religious extremists.  To everybody else, they raise serious questions about a politician’s fitness for office.

More recently, Jindal has made some more serious faux-pas, announcing that Louisiana would reject state unemployment relief provided by the federal stimulus package.  Thus in a state already hit hard by natural disaster, the most vulnerable families are placed needlessly in hardship by the stupidity of their own governor.  Governor Jindal was also chosen to make the official Republican response to Obama’s stimulus proposals.  He was severely criticised for his poorly chosen words, particularly in a clumsy aside, so mind-bogglingly stupid that it might have come from Senator McCain, about volcano monitoring.

This week Obama’s poll ratings improved, largely as a result of a rally among Republican voters. The GOP needs to get its act together.  Revisiting the follies of the old Republican party, in new clothing, will not work.

7 Responses

  1. I have an uncle, an RC priest who was in training to be an exorcist for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He quit and took a parish priest position in Minnesota. When my dad asked him about it he said he was too afraid to continue and that he felt like a coward but he was simply too intimidated by what he had seen.

  2. I would like to imagine that your uncle was intimidated by the stupidy of godbothering priests abusing the mentally ill in the name of religion, but I’m sad to say that my first thought was that your uncle was overcome by superstition and idiocy.

  3. Curt, if there were any actually persuasive evidence of possession out there, you can be sure that all sorts of groups would be pointing to it as real evidence of the existence of demonic forces. The fact is that the vast majority of claimed possession behavior is functionally identical to symptoms of mental illness.

    In any event, it appears at a glance that Jindal’s speech was so bad that it actually helped Obama with moderate Republicans in reaction. There was a poll linked to by CNN that suggested that after Jindal’s speech moderate Republicans favored Obama more than previously more. Unfortunately, I’m unable to locate a link to it right now.

  4. The Gallup poll I referred to earlier is here. It reflects iin part “a sharp increase in support among Republicans, from 27% to 42%,” and is based on opinion samples made Febuary 24-26.

  5. I’m pretty sure CNN linked to a different poll. I still can’t find it though so I may be misremembering.

  6. Er, to clarify, the CNN poll I think explicitly attributed the increase to moderate Republicans which Gallup doesn’t seem to do. Will hunt around some more when I have more time.

  7. Gallup now reports that Obama’s approval rating has dropped 5 points in the past week from 67% to 62%, mainly because disapproval has risen 7 points from 21% to 28%. Gallup’s Presidential Approval tracking poll is based on a three-day rolling average.

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