Tuesday, October 06, 2015


I'm sure you know that Bobby Jindal posted a rant on his campaign website blaming the recent massacre in Oregon on the shooter's father, as well as on American culture. A lot of commenters have addressed the attack on the father (my favorite response is Kalli Joy Gray's "Bobby Jindal Demands Apology from Oregon Shooter’s Father, for Not Loving Guns Enough," at Wonkette) -- but the culture-war part is also noteworthy, because it's the majority of the rant (the title of which is "We Fill Our Culture with Garbage, and We Reap the Result").

What's up? What does Jindal hope to accomplish with a jeremiad like this?
* We glorify sick and senseless acts of violence in virtually every element of our pop culture, and we have been doing that for at least a generation.

* Our movies and TV shows feature a continuous stream of grotesque killing of every kind imaginable. And this is true of virtually every genre, from horror to drama to comedy.

* We celebrate and document every kind of deviant behavior and we give out awards to producers who can push the envelope as far as possible. Rape, torture, murder, mass murder, all are cinematic achievements.

* Our music does the same thing, we promote evil, we promote the degradation of women, we flaunt the laws of God and common decency and we promote it all and we flood our young people with it.

* We have generations of young boys who were raised on video games where they compete with other young boys around the country and the world to see who can kill the most humans. We make it so fun, so realistic, so sensational.
In case you've forgotten, Jindal is only 44 years old. He's actually 13 days younger than Marco Rubio, who boasts of his love of Tupac -- and is doing much better in the polls. (Nationwide, Rubio's at 9.9% in the Real Clear Politics average, while Jindal is at a woeful 0.6%.) A lot of middle-aged Republicans grew up on rap, violent video games, and sex on cable. Why does Jindal think this message will sell to Republican voters?

I suspect Jindal is buying into some ridiculous conventional wisdom about how Republicans pick a president. The New York Times laid it out in a story yesterday:
Yes, 15 Republicans are still seeking the nomination. But in reality not all are competing for the same voters. They are running in what Iowa strategists call “lanes” -- one for candidates appealing primarily to evangelical Christians, a second for outsiders and Tea Party types, and a third for business-oriented conservatives.

Historically, Republicans have tried to win one of the proverbial “three tickets out of Iowa” in the state’s caucuses. This year, however, with such a crowded field, the three tickets may not be the top three finishers over all, according to some strategists, but the top candidate from each lane.
Do people seriously believe this? Do they seriously believe that being a niche candidate who wins in the evangelical Christian "lane" can actually give you a serious shot at the nomination?

In my adult life, it's never worked -- not for Pat Robertson or Alan Keyes or Gary Bauer or Mike Huckabee. Rick Santorum did best, but he had a billionaire backing him, and even so, he only won six states. (Mitt Romney won 39, plus D.C. and three territories.) George W. Bush showed great strength among evangelicals in 2000, but was also an Establishment favorite. Evangelical niche players never win.

I say this, and I'm sure I'm right, but I'm just an idiot blogger, while the people who believe this "three lanes" nonsense are political pros. So Jindal probably believes it, too.

In Iowa, where the GOP electorate is disproportionately evangelical, Jindal is, ADMITTEDLY, running better than he is nationwide -- but that'S not saying much. (This morning Jindal posted an exultant tweet boasting that the latest Iowa poll has him in fifth place. Yippee!) I suppose Jindal thinks that a strong, or strongish, showing in Iowa will be followed up by wins in the South -- but they like tough, bellicose candidates in the South way more than they like Jesus, so of course Donald Trump is going great guns in Dixie.

This is why I think Jindal is still playing the culture-war pander game. If so, it's for for no good reason.


Vixen Strangely said...

So, to get this straight, Jindal is posting a jeremiad on culture in part to slam a man whose son, in addition to killing other people, turned the gun on himself, also being the victim of his rampage? Not because the young man's mom was a gun-hoarding paranoid, but because said lad was raised fatherless. Many people don't have daddies and also don't shoot up schools. The unifying thing is the guns.

I'm a year younger than Jindal, raised on headbanger metal and slasher films. Satanist for a little while (LeVey--you know, it's really mostly Randianism. Lasted a couple weeks.) No school shootings. Funny that.

If Jindal toughed out a primary this way, would the GOP have any hope whatsoever in a general election? Hm. I think we could beat him Dennis Kucinich, actually. He's not at all likeable.

Ten Bears said...

Yet... parsed out he's not that far off the mark.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

Gee, Bobby, does your theory explain why Louisiana, the state you are governor of, ranks 49th worst out of 50 states in that recent National Journal study comparing per-capita gun-related deaths? So your godly example and steady leadership have achieved a rate of senseless bullet-shootin' caused dying almost 5 times that suffered by those heathen gun controlling liberal nanny staters in Hawaii, with their dangerous video game funning and satanic cinema flaunting?

How will you ever get people to believe you're not just deflecting?

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

Almost 8 times. Math is hard.

Charon04 said...

"Do people seriously believe this? Do they seriously believe that being a niche candidate who wins in the evangelical Christian "lane" can actually give you a serious shot at the nomination?"

Ben Carson has been going great guns in the Christian lane. And running more than one lane is possible, as Carson and Cruz are both running in the "outsider" lane plus "Christian" lane - this in a year when the "establishment" candidates (or at least Bush and Kasich) are reviled by a big chunk of the electorate.