Monday, June 16, 2008


Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars reports on yesterday's Face the Nation appearance by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a possible John McCain runing mate. Nicole's headline is "Jindal Thinks Intelligent Design Should Be Taught With Evolution" -- but it's a bit worse than that. Jindal doesn't just think adding intelligent design makes the curriculum better; Jindal thinks it's "wrong" not to teach intelligent design:

I think local school boards should be in a position of deciding the curricula and also deciding what students should be learning. Secondly, I don't think students learn by us withholding information from them. Some want only to teach intelligent design, some only want to teach evolution. I think both views are wrong, as a parent.

This jibes with the contempt he expressed for evolution when he was running for governor in 2007:

...Mr. Jindal supports teaching creationism. In September 2003, the Associated Press reported his answering "yes" on the Louisiana Family Forum's voter guide as to whether he favored teaching the "scientific weaknesses of evolution" (creationist codetalk) in public schools.... When a reporter asked his position on teaching creationism, Mr. Jindal's response clearly favored undermining the teaching of evolution: "With evolution there are flaws and gaps. I think it's appropriate to tell our students that no scientific theory can prove evolution." ("Sharp questions put candidates at governor’s forum on spot," Associated Press, September 25, 2003) ...

And it's odd because, as Kyle Moore points out at Comments from Left Field, Jindal is a Catholic, and the Catholic Church doesn't support the teaching of intelligent design.


I don't know what's going on with McCain and Jindal. However, even though I know a lot of people think McCain's campaign is bumbling and incompetent, my guess is that even these guys wouldn't put a guy on the ticket who's known to have (by his own admission) participated in an exorcism. Also, Jindal's age (he just turned 37) undermines the GOP's argument that Obama is too inexperienced to be president (especially if McCain's #2 seems more likely than most to be called on to assume the presidency), and if you're going to run a dog-whistle racist campaign against Obama, well, doesn't an all-Euro-American ticket make that a lot easier?

I think Jindal is out there to be noticed by some of the people who are paying a lot of attention to the race right now -- particularly movement conservatives, a group McCain is afraid isn't fully in his camp. He wants them to see he's linked to Jindal. He may also think people for whom Obama's youth and and racial background are a plus will become vaguely aware of Jindal and be impressed, and maybe he thinks some Catholics will be impressed, too (though I've got to tell you, it's hard to imagine that Vinny and Sully drinking Bud back at the local bar are going to feel Jindal's one of them) -- but I suspect McCain will just keep using Jindal, but not run with him. He'll definitely get a prime-time speech at the convention. But I think the exorcism is a bridge too far. (And given the fact that McCain harbors dreams of winning suburbanites in big eastern states, he probably knows the creationism is, too.)

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