Christianist Bobby Jindal’s Weak Prescription for GOP Success

Bobby Jindal


Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal has been in the mix of probable GOP presidential contenders for what seems like ages now. A lot of that talk was muted after his bizarre and creepy response to the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress. You remember. The walk. The voice. The eyes. Anyway, he passed 2012 by without so much as a blip on most people’s radar.

After the Republicans’ drubbing last Tuesday, of course there is no end to the GOPers coming out of the woodwork who purport to have the solution to what ails the party. Jindal is among them, no doubt with the smell of 2016 in his nostrils, giving a long interview to Politico.

The gist is that Jindal thinks the GOP needed to speak more about specific, new ideas, rather than just being the party of the very rich. There’s definitely some cognitive dissonance for me there, but when you consider Jindal’s constituency (religious conservatives in a rural state) and his brand (brainy, young Christianist), it makes sense that he’d want to go in that direction.

But the phrasing he uses is too delicious to go unmocked. In his interview, Jindal decried what he calls “dumbed-down conservatism,” and said:

We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.

Now, this is difficult to swallow considering the source. Jindal is the guy whose voucher program in Louisiana is diverting public funds to Christian (not just religious, but Christian) schools, and who is stuffing Creationism into science classes. (Remember how the fact of the Loch Ness Monster proves that dinosaurs and people lived together? Yeah, Louisiana. Here are some more of those nuggets you can lose sleep over.) And to just to reach back a little further, Jindal is also a guy who was on hand for a few excorcisms in college.

I’m not just trying to prove that Jindal is a theocrat — we know that — but I do want to point out that this flies in the face of his professed prescription for healing the GOP nationally: to offer more policy specifics and to avoid being the party of “offensive, bizarre comments” like those that describe impregnation-by-rape as a gift from God. All of these bizarre comments, of course, stem directly from the kind of absolutist-Christian worldview that Jindal himself subscribes to. So I suppose what Jindal wants is a party that still believes all the same crazy things, but that he also doesn’t want anyone to talk about them.

As Politico reports:

On cultural issues, he suggested the party not retreat from its stances opposing abortion rights and gay marriage but rather soften its tone on such matters.

Ah. What I hope people remember is that even when they’re not talking about cultural issues, when they get elected, they still act on them. They still legislate their Bronze Age values, whether they discussed them in campaigns or not. Sounds to me like that’s precisely what it means to “insult the intelligence of the voters.”

Deriding “bumper-sticker slogans” as the basis for campaigning, Jindal said, “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing.” But that sounds exactly like what he wants to do. The nothing, in this case, is the intention of his brand of religious conservatives. Or perhaps its the very basis of their agenda, a belief in something that isn’t there, telling them all what to do. That really is beating something with nothing.

About Paul Fidalgo

Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.

  • Holytape

    I think his position is “It’s okay to think and act  like you’re in the tenth century, just don’t say things out loud.”  

    Fear and Loathing

  • jdm8

    What’s scary are the people defending Mourdock’s comments as in “he really didn’t say it like that”, or blamed the media for misinterpreting his statement, even though it’s a completely rational conclusion to an irrational statement. If one says that a rape pregnancy was God’s plan, then the conclusion that the rape would also have been part of God’s plan too. Any other interpretation plays denialism with the sequence of causality.

  • Leo Buzalsky

    “They still legislate their Bronze Age values, whether they discussed them in campaigns or not.”
    From my perspective, this is kind of how these values became discussed this year.  In 2010, I don’t recall them discussing these issues in their campaigns much.  But then they enacted a crap load of legislation.  And people took notice.  Then they got asked related questions on the campaign trail.  The rest, as they say, is history.

  • RobMcCune

    Hmmm. Be stupid, shallow demogogues, but try to sound smart and sophisticated. Be horrible, but don’t let on that your horrible. Clearly this man is a moderate republican, if not a RINO.

  • Stev84

    It fits with the whole rape comment debacle. To Republicans the issue was never that Akin or Mourdock had those opinions. That kind of stuff is pretty much mainstream in the Republican Party. The problem was that they said it out loud.

  • Ibis3

    Don’t retreat on the stance, just change your tone.

    In other words, keep your agenda hidden until it’s too late for voters to figure you out. Isn’t this exactly what they tried with Romney?

  • Mommiest

    Pretty arrogant stuff from a guy who didn’t know why we monitor volcanoes in the US.

    Listening to GOP “thinkers” blabber on about how they need to get black, brown, and female people to vote for them is a bit like listening to some creepy guy wonder out loud what he needs to do to get a woman to sleep with him. Will paying for dinner be sufficient, or does he need to spring for a movie, too?

    Personally, I hope they embrace their cluelessness and continue the stupid talk. You can do it, Jindal. Tell us all how we don’t need to track flu outbreaks, or something.

  • Richard Wade

    This the governor of one of the least educated states in the Union, and it isn’t getting any better under his administration. Their policies on science education are a matter of dark comedy. Here’s a sampling of what the vouchered “schools” are teaching:

    - Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior
    - The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
    - No Transitional Fossils Exist
    - Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed
    - Evolution Has Been Disproved
    - A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur
    - Solar Fusion is a Myth

    They’re cranking out hundreds of thousands of young people who will be utterly helpless and utterly useless in a world that every day is becoming more and more dependent on good, solid science. They and millions of other young people from the several other States of Ignorania will be a dead weight that the rest of us will have to drag through the entire length of the 21st century.

    The Republican Party has been the party of the rich for decades, and now it’s the party of the ultra rich. If you’re not a millionaire, voting Republican means you’re voting against your financial best interest. The only way the GOP can get non-millionaires to vote for them is to appeal to their social backwardness, their racism, sexism, and religious bigotry, and all that requires a lack of education and a lack of critical thinking skills. Obama won in the most educated states, and the Republicans won in the least educated states. The Republicans will never give this tactic up because it’s all they have.

  • Robster

    Has anyone considered Romney’s mormonism as a major reason for his and the party’s loss? We would hope that American voters would be wary electing a bloke who really believes all the mormon nonsense and there is a lot of it, to the office of president. The result all over screams loudly the realisation that all the gods (and dogmas) are complete duds and should have no influence in government. Thankfully in 2012ce the electorate voted sensibly.

  • Richard Smith

    Boy, I hope they nominate this clown in 2016!!!

  • Sue Blue

    If you’re an elected Republican, or a Republican wanna-be, you must:  Master cognitive dissonance, display proficiency in blatant, unrepentant hypocrisy, be able to lie unabashedly at a moment’s notice while looking constituents (and cameras) in the eye, and blow your own horn loudly enough to be heard over the general cacaphony on the Republican bandwagon…and hope that the voters in your state have the attention span and memory of a fruit fly.

  • Matthew Baker

    Bill Maher  pointed out that Jindal looks like Alfred E. Neuman and now I can’t take anything Jindal does seriously.

  • Vizbones

    ‘Listening to GOP “thinkers” blabber on about how they need to get black,
    brown, and female people to vote for them is a bit like listening to
    some creepy guy wonder out loud what he needs to do to get a woman to
    sleep with him. Will paying for dinner be sufficient, or does he need to
    spring for a movie, too?’

    That is both laugh-out-funny and completely spot-on!