Bobby Jindal: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

At least so far.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been making a lot of loud noises lately, theoretically criticizing GOP plutocracy.  A few days ago, he supposedly advanced a new conservative concern for the not-1% percent:

“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

Now he has attacked Mitt Romney’s pathetic comments blaming his election loss on Obama’s promise of “free health care” to Latinos and African-Americans (and “free contraception” to single college-aged women):

“That is absolutely wrong,” Jindal told reporters in Las Vegas at the Republican Governors Association meeting. “Two points on that. One, we have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent — we need to go after every single vote. And second, we need to continue to show that our policies help every voter out there achieve the American dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children the opportunity to get a great education, which is for their children to have even better-paying jobs than their parents.”

Wake me up when Jindal has something substantive to say.

Speaking generally about helping the “middle class” or not being the party that helps the rich “keep their toys” is better than most Republicans, but we have an actual, concrete policy dispute in Washington DC right now: should the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans be renewed, and should the House GOP hold a middle-class tax cut hostage in order to do it?  Are Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (and, for that matter, Paul Ryan) right to want to cut taxes for the wealthy and end Medicare as we know it in order to (partially) pay for it? 

Jindal has a choice here: he can either back the President’s position, or he can back Boehner and McConnell’s.  If he backs Republicans, then all his talk about helping the middle class is so much puffery.  It reminds me of Tim Pawlenty’s loud calls for “Sam’s Club Republicanism” — which just so happened to be the exact same thing as every other Republican’s Republicanism: massive tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for Wall Street, and greater risk for workers and the middle class.  Pawlenty is now the head of Wall Street lobby on Capitol Hill. 

Oh, and Jindal’s call for giving US children a great education?  Tell that to the kids in Louisiana who will have to learn creation science because of his so-called education reforms.

So far, all this talk of Republican reform is basically about which GOP politician can be the most effective hypocrite.


Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

9 thoughts on “Bobby Jindal: Fake It ‘Til You Make It”

  1. Soooooooooooooo glad Romney didn’t win. What a bullet to dodge. And I still don’t understand what happened between his father and him. What went wrong?

  2. I pretty much agree with Jonathan’s post. But there is some hope. Mike Huckabee was a true voice of the Christianist right in the 2008 cycle, and earned the distrust of the plutocrats for so being. The Christianist (or better yet, Christian!) part of the Republican coalition can have surprisingly progressive economic views.

    I wouldn’t know about Jindal. Ultramontane Catholics have some genuine theological aversion to neoliberal capitalism, but are often friendly with neofeudal capitalists. I suppose that they have found a way to separate the two, a mirror image of The Economist magazine.

  3. Jindal’s playing with fire, now. He better be as good as he thinks, or he’ll soon be toast.

  4. I suggest that, from now on, every member of the RNC wear a red white and blue tie, and a flag lapel pin even bigger than Mitt’s. A pin the size of a deck of cards.

    And every American should wear the same, all the time, even at a funeral, to SHOW! how patriotic you are at all times, even at a funeral. Because you’re not a patriot if you don’t signal it at all times. “Where is YOUR flag lapel pin, Citizen?!”

  5. I think that every American should wear an American flag full body condom at all times, to show off one’s patriotism while preventing disease!

  6. Yes, yes, Jonathan. Jindal’s newfound truthiness might be of a piece with the cries from our Red brethren for “re-messaging,” code of course for stifling the honest, open vocalization of beliefs and intent whilst not changing in substance one iota (a tactic that’s been, ummm, openly vocalized by prominent national Repubs). Jindal is clearly positioning himself as a standard bearer of the new, improved Republican Party – New Look! Same Great Taste! It’s pathological – hypocrisy got left in the dust long ago.

  7. I happen to agree with what he states – he is right – if the Republicans want to have any hope at all, they have to give up their completely ignorant bigotry, conspiracy theories, and what amounts to making the nation for and by wealth. Not only do they need to give it up, but as he correctly states, they need to be against anyone who supports most of that trash.

    Yes, we can stand up and scream that he is just saying all that to win votes and do the same old thing as ever – but again I think he is right, its time to stop this deep dividing of the American people and start coming together.

    Good for him

  8. Well, good article. It basically is a good example of why the GOP will never be anything but an also ran.

    This article would do well with some slight adjustments in a gossip magazine. We could title it ” How to keep your man by faking orgasms”. Same principle.

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