Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The forgotten clown

Last week, a new clown clambered aboard the crowded Republican Clown Bus of candidates for US president, but he was so forgettable that I did. Nearly a week later, I guess I have to say something. The responsibility weighs heavily.

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal officially became a candidate last week, and America was underwhelmed. His official announcement was a bizarre video of him talking to his kids, telling them “we’re” running for president—“we” who, precisely? In the video above, Jon Stewart mocks Jindal’s announcement and first speech as a candidate as only Jon can. Interestingly, almost no Louisiana Republican officials showed up at Jindal’s speech, as a good an indicator as any of how desperately unpopular he is in his own state.

In addition to, so far, being a terrible candidate, Jindal is also a terrible governor (see: “Louisiana Has A Lot Of Problems. This Is How Bobby Jindal Made Them Worse” by Alice Ollstein on ThinkProgress). Naturally, his minders, assuming he has some, will try and spin his record, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so if Jindal does well, then his spin doctors could clearly sell anything to anyone.

Among other things, Jindal has postured on LGBT issues, making him one of the most virulently anti-gay candidates (though, obviously, it’s crowded field for that title coveted by the clowns on the Republican Bus). When his state legislature didn’t enshrine anti-gay discrimination in law, Jindal issued an executive order trying to make it law, anyway. He’s BFFs with Tony Duggar Perkins, head bigot of the anti-LGBT hate group, “Family” Research [sic] Council [LOL!], one of the most vicious professional activists in the USA’s wealthy anti-gay industry.

Jindal’s “Response” prayer thing was organised by anti-gay extreme radical David Lane, who is now one of his main advisers. The rally organisers passed out leaflets at the “prayer” rally blaming gays for Hurricane Katrina (clearly going for the rational vote there…), and the event was paid for by the “American” “Family” Association [sic], which is so extreme in its anti-gay bigotry that it often makes the “F”RC look moderate, and sometimes even positively liberal.

I mention all of this to demonstrate that Jindal will go to any extreme (literally…) to pander the far-right religious base of the Republican Party. He has embraced all sorts of extremist and crackpot positions in an effort to win favour with the most radical parts of the party who—let’s be brutally honest here—will never vote for a brown-skinned son of immigrants from India who was raised Hindu and converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager. And he has a “funny” name, they’ll think, one he’s “trying to hide” by using “Bobby”, they'll say. "He just don't seem right!", they'll declare.

So, if he can’t win over the far-right Christians of his party, what’s the point of pandering to them? Precisely. The man who once said the Republican Party should stop being the “Party of Stupid” has clearly embraced the stupidity (See: “5 Bobby Jindal Moments That Prove His 'Stupid Party' Bona Fides” on AlterNet).

So, Bobby Jindal, who always polls below the margin of error, doesn’t stand even the remotest chance of winning the Republican nomination. But, as with Trump, let's play the game and pretend he’s a real candidate: Bobby Jindal is 44, the youngest Republican clown candidate so far. On Inauguration Day, he’ll be 45 years, 225 days old. The oldest US President, Ronald Reagan, hallowed be his name, was 69 years, 349 days when he was sworn in. He would be the third-youngest president, after Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and younger than Bill Clinton, currently the third-youngest US President. Bill Clinton won’t be losing his position this election.

I have utter contempt for Jindal because he panders to obviously the most rightwing aspect of his own party and, in so doing, makes life worse for LGBT people and everyone else the Republican Party’s most frothing base hates. There’s one race he might win, though: He’s now in a major contender for being the first Republican clown candidate to drop out.

Today, nearly a week after Jindal announced, there’s still 1 year, 4 months, 10 days until the US presidential election.

Update: The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana, the Forum for Equality Foundation, and six individuals filed suit against Bobby Jindal for his executive order to "shield" government clerks—public employees paid by taxpayers—who don't like gay people and don't want issue marriage licenses to them or officiate at their marriage ceremony. The suit alleges that Jindal acted illegally and beyond his authority as governor. In the past, he's frequently stated directly that he wanted to protect Christians specifically, and not "people of faith" or any other generic, inclusive term. If that was his intention in the executive order, it would be a clear violation of the US Constitution. This lawsuit will endear him to the radical right religious base of the Republican Party, but underscores why he is totally unelectable in November, 2016: Jindal's Christian Dominionism will scare the crap out of everyday Americans.


rogerogreen said...

Seriously, I would vote for Ted Cruz before I'd vote for Bobby. And since THAT'S not gonna happen...

rogerogreen said...

I should make a list of ranking the Republican candidates. Trump is on the bottom... Better yet, YOU should make a list. That's my Ask Arthur Anything question!

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Unless I missed one, that's two from you already!

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Imagine a world in which they're among the best the Republican Party has to offer—oh, wait… ;-)