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Right-Wing Nutjob

Yesterday I referred to Bobby Jindal as a “right-wing nutjob.” I regret that, as I prefer not to call names. I got carried away.

I should have said that he seems like a right-wing nutjob. A friend of mine says Jindal acts like that to get the so-called “Bubba vote.” He says Jindal has to play that game because those voters are skeptical of his skin color. I find that a little hard to swallow.

It looks like he will be our next governor — no surprise there. I hope for the sake of Louisiana that he does not govern like a nutjob. I understand he’ll be the youngest governor in the country, and the first non-white governor of Louisiana since P.B.S. Pinchback. And as everybody knows he’s super-intelligent. We could do a lot worse.

PS: In the end I voted for Campbell.

Published inPolitix


  1. Garvey Garvey

    If you look at his voting record, it’s a mixed bag. Even without the “nutjob” tag, he isn’t a down-the-line right wing anything. I’d say he’s more a populist, FWIW (e.g., yes on raising min wage, no on CAFTA, yes on more section 8 vouchers, etc.).

    Regardless, the bar is pretty low in LA politics. Anything short of outright shitting the bed is considered success there.

  2. Anthony Anthony

    If stays away from the rightwing nutjobs stuff and actually tries to do the things he says to move Louisiana forward then he might not be a total disaster. But that is a mighty big IF. If he really isn’t an empty suit for GOP interests then he might not be a total disaster. But THAT is a mighty big IF for a guy who got put in his seat by David Vitter.

    I’m skeptical but considering in my lifetime I’ve never had a governor, not one, that I was excited about, and usually consider the state government of Louisiana to be the prime reason I am generally more comfortable with the Feds taking the lead on almost anything, I’m skeptical but if he can do it then I guess I’ll give him credit. Now he has to do it.

  3. Bobby Jindal might be a lot of things, but nut job isn’t one of them.

    I am not a right-winger, and I’m not even a Republican. The last New Deal Democrat standing . . . maybe.

    But Louisiana is in such bad shape that I don’t think standard politics — or political thinking — cuts it. I deplore how Jindal toes the Bush party line in Congress on many things, even though I’m a social conservative-slash- political progressive. However. . . .

    Jindal passes the test on three counts:

    1) He has a brain . . . and something of a plan,

    2) He has a strong reputation of not being “ethically challenged,” and ran on an ethics-reform platform,

    3) He’s not your typical Louisiana knuckle-dragging, good-ole-boy incompetent.

    Basically, in the shape Louisiana is in, that’s all that matters.

    If he’s somewhat in favor of “intelligent design” — which is distinct from “creationism” — so what? As a Catholic, I (with my Church) am agnostic on HOW God created the universe and life on earth. If scientific evidence points toward billions-year evolution, fine.

    (My problem with “intelligent design” isn’t that I think it ultimately is untrue, it’s that I think it’s philosophy, not science.)

    But I digress. “Intelligent design” isn’t an issue, because it’s not gonna be taught (the courts will see to that), and Jindal has bigger fish to fry than trying to make it so.

    The bottom line is whether Jindal can make any difference in bringing effective governance to what pretty clearly is a failed state. The problem with Louisiana is the same as it was 140 years (and more) ago — a deeply deviant civic culture.

    Simply, Louisianians have, since it was bought by Thomas Jefferson, had serious, serious problems figuring out this self-governance thing. Louisianians, since statehood, have had serious, serious problems in crafting government on any level — not to mention a basic civic culture — capable of fostering an overall standard of living on a par with the rest of the First World.

    For a while now, I have referred to my home state as high-functioning Third World. And New Orleans might not even be that.

    In a situation as desperate as that, all the fine points of political haggling go out the window. There is no such thing as a messiah in politics, but Louisiana simply has no chance whatsoever (and it *is* down to its last chance before descending to some sort of permanent American Chechnya) without a critical mass of competent, visionary and honest leaders.

    I think Jindal came closest to that standard, and I’m glad that Mitch Landrieu will keep his job as No. 2.

    But even with someone like Jindal as governor, I think the state still faces extremely long odds. And I think I’ve found a near-perfect “little story” that illustrates the “big story.”

    Go to these links:

    These blog posts contain pictures of my alma mater, Baton Rouge Magnet High, that I took last month when I was back home on vacation. I suspect there are schools in New Orleans that don’t look that different.

    This doesn’t look like the United States. This looks like a rural school in a poor Chinese province — I know; I just saw one on the evening news, which looked like a small version of Baton Rouge High.

    What does it say about Baton Rouge, or Louisiana, when conditions most American communities would deem unfit for stray animals are thought to be perfectly OK for children? And have been deemed OK for children for a very long time . . . it takes a couple of decades of complete neglect for a school to turn into the kind of dump BRMHS is now.

    Trust me, when I graduated from there in 1979, it was the nicest public school I’d ever attended. (My entire school career was spent in BR.) Back then, BRMHS was nice. All the *other* public schools I’d gone to were varying degrees of dumps.

    Now, this is what the city’s “flagship” public school looks like.

    And this is exactly what a failed state looks like. If the electorate doesn’t care any more than that for public-school children — for their OWN CHILDREN, not to mention the most vulnerable children — all is lost.

    Bobby Jindal can’t fix that. He can’t make Louisianians give a damn or even pretend like they belong to a functioning civilization. Only Louisianians themselves can do that.

    But until they do, Jindal is the only slim hope of even postponing the day when the rest of the country gives up on Louisiana for good.

  4. David David

    He’s not corrupt the ways Rep. Jefferson or David Vitter are. So I guess that’s a good thing. His soul’s simply corrupt, the way every team-player Republican’s is. What was his vote on SCHIP? On funding the war? There’s your answer.

    The idea that he’s intelligent doesn’t mean much (to me anyway). Many would say Karl Rove is very intelligent, and . . .?

    But, as you said, Louisiana could do worse.

  5. NoKoolAid NoKoolAid

    If he could only have won the election by stressing intelligent design and whatnot, what’s to make you think he won’t stress these issues at all during his tenure? I’m sure he wants to run for a second term in four years, thus giving him every incentive to continue to court the proverbial Bubba. No one who believes in and pushes for the teaching of “intelligent design” and ban stem cell research within the state’s boundaries will lead Louisiana to be a first world economy. Scientists will not come here. Louisiana could do much, much worse, certainly, but it’s exactly a new day here. It’s why, I think, that he didn’t have any coattails, despite the seeming inevitability of his election. He’s just not that wildly impressive, and the competition was lousy.

  6. Scott Scott

    Given the state we’re in, my criteria for gubernatorial success is job creation. That means Jindal can’t follow Foster’s example.

    I recall when Blanco proudly announced a new plant that would bring 150 new jobs. That same week, officials in Alabama (a mere runner up in the most corrupt state contest) announced a Plant Expansion there that would bring 4,500 new jobs – not counting the ancillary jobs at its suppliers.

    I don’t care if Jindal’s a Buddhist or a witch doctor. If he can attract some new jobs, then he’ll be a success. Everything else is seasonal window dressing.

  7. I voted for Campbell, too, though I did so with some pretty strong ambivalence. I just couldn’t bring myself to consider voting for anyone else.

    I hope that Jindal can rise to the challenge.

  8. Max Max

    To Scott:

    I think the only caveat to your comment is that coastal restoration and flood management needs to be considered a dire need for LA/NO, along with job creation.

    Ideally, Jindal will be too busy with economic development and environmental protection to waste time arguing for intelligent design in schools.

    Of course, considering his campaign and voting record, I have zero faith in Jindal devoting much energy to this cause, but here’s hoping he comes around.

  9. Strangely, I feel a little better about him after reading the comments. I consider him a nutjob too, and I think he plays up his Catholicism a bit to make sure people know he’s not Hindu, G-d forbid.

    I’ll say this, though. For all the talk of how brilliant he is, I haven’t seen it. I know that campaigning can bring out the worst in politicians, and I know he’s got the credentials, but I don’t see the brains.

    He turned his back on LA, and it paid off because he’s still in W’s good graces. Now I’ll be curious if all of a sudden W starts pumping money in here because we have a governor who thinks like Barbour, and “look, he’s not even white, so I’m not racist!”

  10. David David

    One thing that’s interesting about Jindal’s election is what it reveals about the Republican constituency’s capacity for delusion, which is to say, it’s enormous. I mean, supposedly income tax has been the bane of Republicans. But when a Democrat runs on doing away with state income tax, the Republicans fell right in line against him. It’s no different than the crap about being “pro-life” and “pro-war.”

    And I use the term “delusion” as someone who has observed this phenomenon entirely too intimately–my parents are two idealogical Republicans. So in the lead-up to the latest Congressional election, I remember my father decrying Bill Jefferson’s corruption. Just one week later, when Jefferson was in a run-off against Carter, he was urging me to vote for Jefferson. See? Both times he was following the talking points propagated by the right-wing machine. To observe it so closely was breath-taking and thoroughly disappointing.

    One of the unspoken tragedies of this conservative movement has been the way it has forced its followers to lie to themselves. Ultimately, it is wide-spread a psychological problem, one that approaches a spiritual crisis. Self-delusion is the cornerstone of all mental illness, so unfortunately, “nutjob” applies.

  11. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    My problems with Governer Jindal–
    I think he is a RNC/Bush yes man, so there is blood on his hands,

    I think it is easy to say “we need ethics reform” (every one is for that) yet things we really do need here– Jobs, schools, storm protection, decent insurance Rates, overhaul of the states justice system/courts, are much more difficult to get and won’t show any head way in time for his next four year run [especially working with a mostly new legislature who have no reason to work with him]

    And I don’t like social conservatives, and Bobby Claims to be one. They would let your kids go hungry, die of a easly cured diseases and remain uneducated as long as the paired [married] boy/girl and had their souls saved. What does my soul have to do with my health care or my job?

  12. Frank writes:

    “And I donít like social conservatives, and Bobby Claims to be one. They would let your kids go hungry, die of a easly cured diseases and remain uneducated as long as the paired [married] boy/girl and had their souls saved. What does my soul have to do with my health care or my job?”

    Yeah, that’s why the overwhelming majority of non-profit hospitals, soup kitchens, thrift shops, food pantries and homeless shelters are run by left-wing secular humanists.

    And that’s why the Catholics and the Southern Baptists are the country’s leading operators of abortion clinics. Which, like Planned Barrenhood (another hateful social-conservative enterprise) often are found in or near the ‘hood.

    Umm hmmm. Yeah, you right.

    “And I don’t like social conservatives, and Bobby Claims to be one.”

    Gee, I’ll bet if someone said “I don’t like blacks” or “I hate fags,” Frank would be on them like white on rice. People are funny creatures, and bigotry is instantly recognized in everyone except one’s own self.

    Imagine that.

  13. Anthony Anthony

    There is an obvious difference between hating people because of an immutable fact of their being, like race or sexual orientation. And not liking them based upon something they have chosen like an ideology or philosophy.

  14. David David

    Favog, I spent the first 21 years of my life as a Southern Baptist, and you are deluding yourself (to use a handy term) if you think the Baptists give two shits about the poor or less fortunate than them.

    And nothing is more disingenuous than your anti-discrimination plea. Do you know how the Baptist church got the “Southern” in its name? It’s because it split from the American Baptist church during the Civil War; it was a church that favored slavery. Simply put, it is a church predicated on bigotry. And it is a church that has always been on the wrong side of history, such as being against Civil Rights and being the sole church in favor of the Iraq War. (Where is the shame over that decision?) I defy you to find me one Southern Baptist church with a single mixed-race, black-white couple in it. So, really, just save your breath about your “concern” about discrimination.

    And, congratulations, you great pervayer of equality on the inclusion of an epithet in your post.

  15. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    Rant coming–

    Favog, once again–What does my saving my soul have to do with health care or employment?

    Look, I have met true christians. They work in those soup kitchens, man hospitals, build houses and help the poor. And they spend their time in church, not in the voting booth. They object to War–especially foolish ones fought to make old men feel they have the only faith that matters or those old men can make a quick buck off of it.

    They try to educate young people about they bodies and relationships and don’t hide behind the foolish notion that “abstanence education” will put an end to pregnacy, STD’s, and AIDS. They don’t worry about who someone is sleeping with/loving/f*cking as long as those folks are all of legal age and they aren’t sleeping with/loving/f*cking THEM.

    Most importantly they believe their God blessed them to live in a country that was founded by a bunch of folks escaping from intolerence and/or persecution of one form or another and their loving, forgiving God [remember him] would not want them to promote intolerence. Especially by excluding huge chunks of the popluation because they are black, red, brown, gay, poor or just NOT christian enough for them. And they should do this by deed, not words. Most of the so-called voting religous right/Values voters/social conservitives don’t fit those parameters, not at least the ones I have seen or have been expossed to.

    Still, I guess they might exist. As Eleanor once said– “In a world where carpenters get resurrected, everything is possible.”

  16. Garvey Garvey

    “I defy you to find me one Southern Baptist church with a single mixed-race, black-white couple in it.”

    Come to church with me this Sunday in Charlotte, NC.

    Get real, anti-religious bigots. The paintbrush you use to color all U.S. Christians is comical. But this isn’t a real diverse bunch here (politically/socially/religiously), so you’re safe. You can all nod in approval and pat e/o on the backs.

  17. Anthony Anthony

    Some of the religious self appointed spokesmen. like James Dobson or Tony Perkins or Ted Haggard or a host of other right wing nutjobs make it real hard to consider folks of faith as tolerant and loving. Yes, there are folks in religious communities that are but they aren’t talking loud enough for the rest of us to hear.

  18. Frank writes:

    “Look, I have met true christians. They work in those soup kitchens, man hospitals, build houses and help the poor. And they spend their time in church, not in the voting booth. They object to WarĖespecially foolish ones fought to make old men feel they have the only faith that matters or those old men can make a quick buck off of it.

    “They try to educate young people about they bodies and relationships and donít hide behind the foolish notion that ďabstanence educationĒ will put an end to pregnacy, STDís, and AIDS. They donít worry about who someone is sleeping with/loving/f*cking as long as those folks are all of legal age and they arenít sleeping with/loving/f*cking THEM.”

    First, why is it you insist upon conflating social conservatism with support for Bush’s idiotic war, or even Bush himself? Yes, some have imbibed of the Kool-Aid, while others haven’t.

    Acknowledging that, however, would really screw up a good stereotype and force you to actually practice that “open-minded” spiel that you preach.

    Furthermore, you seem to equate “true” Christianity with Christians who are willing to be mere enablers — those who will try to ameliorate people’s awful choices (in addition to people’s plain bad breaks or systematic injustice) but will just STFU on pointing out sin’s corrosive effects on everything in our lives.

    Trouble is, folks who bleat the most about “free expression” do a 180 in about .5 seconds on that issue when a Christian who actually believes all that sh*t begins to freely express. Then the bleat becomes all about the awfulness of those “authoritarian Christianists forcing their values” on the rest of society.

    You’d think there was an army of Catholics, Baptists and evangelicals threatening to detonate nukes in every major Amerrican city. And several apiece in L.A. and San Francisco.

    It seems to me that what passes for “progressive thought” pretty much became both comical and irrelevant in this country the moment — sometime in the mid-’60s, I reckon — it decided “f**king is an entitlement” and then hardly could talk about anything else.

    That has led to a “movement” that resembles nothing so much as it does a wild-eyed lynch mob, screaming for the heads of those who “oppress” them and confusing a stream of F-bombs and crude slurs for legitimate political discourse. And all the while considering itself “progressive,” “tolerant” and “open-minded.”

    You can dispute this, but then I’d have to post uncensored excerpts from the Democratic Underground, the Daily Kos, Shakespeare’s Sieter and the like. I’m not sure Editor B would consider that a particularly edifying use of his bandwidth.

  19. Furthermore — to illustrate my point — what did my original comment deal with? What links did I post that clearly demonstrate a real, not imagined, injustice (and, IMHO, a human-rights violation) right there in Louisiana, something tangible that all of you might be able to do something about?

    But what the hell are you actually all exercised about?

    Exactly. Case closed.

  20. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    I see–Brother Favog is looking out for us by reminding me and the liberal pinkos around here of my bigotry using the sins of those wacky hippies, post-Nixion-commies, and Regan-era malcontents? Sure I guess you could list their crap [and crap some of it is]

    Then I of course would have to share with you posts from people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbugh, James Dobson, Paul Weyrich, the Values Voters Coalition, Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Tony Perkins and the like–“good christans” all by your definition and equally idiotic, bone headed, moronic, attention-craving and bigoted. And all that gets us nothing except the polarized disfunctional country we now live in.

    Surprised? Sit down–I also think there are christians out there whose lights make even the deepest agnostic hope there is a heaven– just for them. I am not certain, but one or two might even be in politics.

    I am certian, however, that I am against turning our country into the kind of intolerent theocracy some of those pundits claiming to be social conservitives would have, even if they would only do it to gain personal power from the dominionism believing robo-faithful. People who think they know better than others are keeping cash in the freezer, on golf junkets with PAC committies, on speed dial with hookers and making dates in the men’s room. I am not interested in a social conservetive agenda. If you are, vote that way. I, however, feel like a LOT of folks– Move it back to the middle, or move on.

  21. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    To use an example about jndal effectiveness and vision, as important as ethics reform is, we could use a special session education, health care, and storm protection reforms as well and maybe they should all be on that agenda. You know, outline so broad plans maybe?

    I don’t think Gov. Jindal will be able to make headroads into reforms on those topics anytime soon and may actually side with the Feds on issues of continued Hurricane Recovery, hurting our section of the state.

  22. Well, the first time I voted for governor in Louisiana it was between Edwin Edwards or David Duke. I chose the old guy in prison for racketeering. Ah, politics.

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