Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal became the latest entrant in the bloated GOP primary race. While it can be hard to distinguish between the different players in this congested contest, Jindal stands out from the pack for the following five reasons.
1. He participated in an exorcism.
This really happened, according to an article written by Jindal himself in 1994 and published in the New Oxford Review. In the article, titled “Beating A Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare,” Jindal recounts an incident involving a college acquaintance he calls Susan, who began behaving strangely, so he did what any rational person would do — assumed she was being possessed by “some strange evil force.” Since the preacher “denied our request for assistance,” Jindal wrote, he and his friends commenced “chanting, ‘Satan, I command you to leave this woman,'” and eventually vanquished the beast.
2. He has contempt for “science.”
When it comes to denying science on climate change Jindal has the bonafides he needs to make a dent in the Republican race, and then some. After new FEMA rules were enacted, requiring any state seeking federal money for disaster preparation to summarize the future hazards facing them, Jindal blew his top, because, you see, FEMA explicitly asked states to mention “changes in weather patterns and climate” that pose a threat. Speaking on Fox News in March, Jindal decried this as an example of “inmates running the asylum,” “coercion,” and an attempt to force climate skeptics to “submit to [Washington’s] liberal ideology.”
It doesn’t stop at climate change. Jindal, a conservative Catholic and by his own admission not an evolutionary biologist, passed a law that inserted creationist teachings into the science curricula of Louisiana schools. Taking the same weaselly false-equivalence tack as other “intelligent design” merchants, Jindal said: “I want my kids to be taught about evolution; I want my kids to be taught about other theories.”
3. He’s got the Duck Dynasty demographic in the tank.
Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame endorsed Jindal’s candidacy, calling him a “good man,” a “Godly man,” and “one of the smartest persons I’ve ever known.”
4. He is opposed to marriage equality.
It’s basically the price of admission to the GOP race to come down hard against equal rights for LGBT citizens. Even so, Jindal has gone above and beyond, making “religious liberty” the focus of his first campaign ad in Iowa.
The ad features Jindal giving a graduation speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, using the familiar, thinly veiled rhetoric that lauds “religious liberty” as a shield that protects anyone wishing to discriminate against same-sex couples from the passage of new laws or the rulings of the country’s highest courts.
“America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America,” Jindal said (a line he recycled in his announcement speech Wednesday night).
5. He doesn’t have a chance.
So with other, better established candidates espousing the same views on social issues, the same strident science denialism, and the same meritless bombast on the evil of Obamacare, what does Jindal have going for him? Nothing really.
According to an analysis in FiveThirtyEight, Jindal missed his shot when he didn’t enter the race in 2012. Now his polling numbers in his home state are in the gutter, and he’s just another clown in the car.
Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr