On Feb. 8, a caller to The Rush Limbaugh Show asked the conservative host if there were any chance of McCain adding Newt Gingrich to the presidential ticket. Sighing audibly, Limbaugh regretfully described it as unlikely before rattling off the usual list of names of potential VPs. One stood out. “Bobby Jindal,” the host declared, pausing for effect. “I did an interview with Bobby Jindal. He is the next Ronald Reagan, if he doesn’t change. Bobby Jindal, the new governor of Louisiana, is the next Ronald Reagan.”
Piyush Jindal was an unnaturally precocious kid who picked up his name bobby at the age of four from watching the Brady Bunch. Did he know then that Bobby Jindal would be Rush Limbaugh’s choice for Vice President, whereas Piyush Jindal would be earning millions in a law firm somewhere? As a South Asian, I guess I am expected to feel good about this guy who won political office multiple times in the state of Louisiana, no less. He’s only 36 years old! When has the presidential candidate been twice as old as his running mate?
Obviously, he’s something special, someone so smart and charismatic that he’s reached achieved great power and fame in politics at an age when most people are just starting out. One note of caution on his achievements, they’ve all been in the state of Louisiana, a state so mismanaged and corrupt that the application of a technocratic approach would yield such immediate and obvious benefits.
During his tenure, Jindal turned a $400 million deficit into a budget surplus by cutting per-beneficiary Medicaid spending and reducing the work force by 1000 employees,
Low hanging fruit, eh! (maybe not, he’s a smart guy who knows how to get things done!)
His religious and social beliefs?
On social issues, Jindal has a record only James Dobson could love. He strongly and openly opposes abortion (without exception, even in cases of rape and incest), supports teaching intelligent design in public schools, has proposed bans on both stem-cell research and flag burning, and voted for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. McCain, on the other hand, has flip-flopped on all these issues except flag burning.
On McCain’s biggest problem with the conservative base, immigration, Jindal would be an effective counterbalance: He has consistently been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, and voted in favor of building a border fence. His economic record is a bit less dogmatic. He tends to vote against free trade agreements like CAFTA but consistently sides with energy interests over environmentalists. For example, he favored a motion to lift the moratorium on offshore gas drilling, one of many votes that led the League of Conservation Voters to give him a rating of just 7 percent.
There you have it, full on religious fanatic anti-environment far-right conservative! Here’s a guy who would force a 12 year old girl to give birth to a child that was the product of her father raping her. Hate to get graphic, but that’s what Mr Jindal supports, plain and simple.
It would be very interesting to get into Mr Jindal’s head. What made this kid in high school convert to Christianity? This article tries to shed some light. However, its only source is a letter written by Bobby himself. Like with most human beings, that whole post-event rationalization is on full tilt!
His combination of skills and ideas is hardly rare in South Asian circles. South Asians of a certain upbringing tend to be well educated, competent, technocratic (can’t get that word out of my head, that’s what he is, Bobby “the technocrat” Jindal), while simultaneously being very socially conservative. I can understand the abortion ideas, or the anti-gay ideas, and the further anti-evolution and anti-environment pandering. He seems to have made a quick study of every conservative virtue and has decided to make them all his own, no straying for Bobby “the conformist” Jindal! he even has one token non-conformist “anti free-trade” position, Cho Chweet!!
But no, if I had a vote, I would never vote for him, even if we may share an ethnicity. His ideas about government, church-state separation, evolution, war, abortion and the environment are abhorrent to me. But, he will make a fairly formidable candidate. This is probably not his time, I would give him a few more years.
FWIW, McCain’s probably going to pick Huckabee as his VP to reel in the religious right, but Jindal’s not going anywhere yet.