Wednesday, 09 September 2015 16:36

Bobby Jindal "exceptionalism" on full display on presidential campaign

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jindal-twoby Tom Aswell, Publisher of 

For a time, when Bobby Jindal or some other nut case Republican like Todd Akin opened their mouths, each utterance was more outlandish, more implausible than the last. 

No more.

Even with Donald Trump, it appears we have reached a saturation point in absurdity with their inane rhetoric that plays to their constituency but does nothing to solve real problems. I mean, a wall constructed along our southern border? Seriously, Donald? When we have crumbling infrastructure (as already pointed out by Goldie Taylor, writing for, you want to build a wall?

It was kind of funny when Dan Quayle had a student add an “e” onto potato back in 1992. Reporters had a field day with that. Even though he was the incumbent vice-president under Bush, they lost that election to Clinton-Gore. The student, William Figueroa, then 12, spoke with wisdom beyond his years when he later commented that rumors that Quayle was an idiot were true.

Then there was that inconceivable claim by Todd Akin, the Republican running unsuccessfully for the Senate in Missouri back in 2012. Akin actually went on record as saying women who are raped cannot become pregnant. The full quote: “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

He was defending his anti-abortion position and while there are those who hold to the belief that life is sacred, that has to be one of the strangest defenses of a religious tenet on record. (There are some who, weighing the GOP’s general antipathy toward helping those less fortunate, say that Republicans believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.) Akin was ahead in the polls at the time he made his ill-fated observation but that gaffe cost him the election.

But for the most consistent blathering of pure banal nonsense while on the campaign trail to oblivion, you have to hand the trophy to Bobby Jindal. No one does it better. The man obviously has never learned to heed the sage advice that when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.

From his European “no-go” zones to his letter to President Obama in which he attempted to press Obama to delete any mention of global warming in his upcoming New Orleans speech to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Jindal has been a most unfunny joke.

He has even gone so far as to criticize the use of private emails by Hillary Clinton while requiring his staff to use private email accounts and even passing a law that closed off any semblance of transparency for his office. Granted, U.S. State Department classified emails are a tad more serious than those of a governor but perhaps Jindal would’ve been wise to let that one slide.

Let’s face it, folks, he makes Quayle look like a towering intellect, Trump like the epitome of reason, Hillary like a paragon of honesty, and Akin like….well, never mind. We really don’t have a comparison for that one other than to observe that Jindal pleads ignorance on the subject of evolution because he is “not a scientist,” despite holding a biology degree from Ivy League Brown University that says he is.

On the one hand, Jindal tells us he hid in a closet with a flashlight to read his Bible while in high school so his parents would not know of his conversion from Hindu to Christianity. On the other, he tells his adoring audiences in Iowa, “One of the things my dad told me every day was, ‘You should thank God every day you were born in America.’”

So, Bobby, if that’s the case, why didn’t you just come out of the closet?

If we didn’t know better, we might well believe the entire presidential campaign for both parties is being scripted by Mel Brooks. And who knows? Maybe all we need to round out the race is Gov. William J. Le Petomane.

One thing about Bobby Jindal, though. When he gets on one of his asinine rhetorical crusades, you couldn’t drag him off with a team of Budweiser Clydesdales. Our hyphenated-governor (as in part-time hyphenated) wants to eliminate hyphenated-Americans. “We’re not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans,” he insists. “We’re all Americans.”

Well, Bobby, all those Indian-Americans who poured cash into your gubernatorial campaigns in the fervent hope that you would be their voice have turned their backs on you because you walked away from them first. You have alienated an entire bloc of voters and they’re not without influence—or money. But their campaign money has dried up for you. Like it or not, they are were your identity. But you lost your 2003 race for governor because the good Protestants of north Louisiana wouldn’t vote for you because of your dark skin and that, admittedly, was a poor reason. So your solution was to whiten your image right down to your official portrait hanging in your office and in the Old State Capitol and preaching the white gospel of smug superiority.

Now you’re running around hitting all 99 Iowa counties saying things like, “Immigration without assimilation is invasion” and “We’re not a melting pot anymore.” You say immigrants should “learn English, adopt our values, roll up your sleeves and get to work.”

That last part would fall under your definition of “American Exceptionalism,” I suppose. That would be where we embrace such idealistic values as instigating the war with Mexico so we could grab South Texas and herd Native Americans onto barren reservations in the name of Manifest Destiny. Or maybe it was the provoking of the Spanish-American War or the manufacturing of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident so as to give us a reason to plunge full-bore into a civil war in Vietnam where we had no business being and where we sacrificed 58,000 American lives and millions of Vietnamese lives.

And speaking of Vietnam, our friend and fellow Ruston native, retired newspaper editor Bill Brown posed an interesting question on Facebook today: Why is it, he asks, that the same people who wanted so badly to send draft resisters to prison for breaking the law during the Vietnam war now want to defend a Kentucky clerk of court for defying the law?

Perhaps Jindal’s idea of “American Exceptionalism” extends to the quagmire we’ve gotten ourselves into in the Middle East. Refresh me: whose side are we on this week? I support our military but I can’t support the politicians who send young men and women into conflict to die for oil and Haliburton. That’s not my definition of patriotism. And when the wounded return, they’re discarded like last week’s newspapers. Don’t believe that? Google the problems and delays in obtaining care for wounded veterans at VA hospitals.

American Exceptionalism is just another term for tunnel vision or blind, unquestioning faith in the motives and morals of our elected officials who buy their way into office on the bankrolls of corporate interests, defense contractors, Wall Street and lobbyists while doing everything possible to destroy labor unions and social services. American Exceptionalism is spending enough on the trouble-plagued F-35 fighter jet to have purchased a $600,000 house for every homeless American or to send thousands of low-income kids to Harvard. American Exceptionalism is screaming to the mountain tops about socialized health care when the real problem is socialized wealth care.

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As for Jindal’s admonition to immigrants to adhere to the other two conditions—“learn English” and “roll up your sleeves and get to work,” consider this:

Perhaps, in applying those principles across the board, we should all be speaking Iroquois, Apache, Comanche, Cree, Sioux and other native tongues while hunting bison and making birch bark canoes and respecting the land and our natural resources.


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