Sunday, November 30, 2008

Being Bobby Jindal

Despite the resounding defeat of the Christian Nationalist platform in the last Presidential election, the GOP continues to focus on the fundamentalist smell test as they rebuild the party. Media darling Sarah Palin, while still a fundie fav, must be making the party nervous as she seems more focused on learning more from the Madonna school of marketing than getting back to business governing her state and learning some basic civics. As such, the Republicans are looking towards the youth vote in an effort to find an Obama-Theocrat hybrid who goes by the name of Bobby Jindal. Jindal, currently Governor of Louisiana, is almost ideal as he's young (37), he's brown while still being caucasion and, as an adult convert to Catholicism, he has a proven track record showing his dedication to all things socially conservative but, as Steven Reynolds at All Spin Zone notes, the election of Obama doesn't necessarily mean the US is really in a post-racial state of mind:
This isn’t about colorblindness. Color in our society has some pretty shameful connotations, certainly, but we can also celebrate color. I need not reflect on chains and on fire hoses when I think of black, but can also think of Odunde, of beauty. It isn’t our job to ignore racial difference, but to value it. “Post-racial,” then, is a bit of a bunch of crap if one thinks of it as “beyond” racial distinction. And that appears to me to be how Bobby Jindall has packaged himself, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Jindal is no longer Piyush, for instance, but Bobby. He is no longer a worshiper of those strange Hindu Gods, but is a very conservative Catholic in the Rick Santorum mold. He talks in a folksy bayou lilt, and never seems to refer to his racial background or ethnicity. I’m thinking that’s not what won people over for Obama, and it isn’t any kind of reflection of what we’ve got going on in this country today as far as race relations are concerned. there were many, many people on the right for whom race played a vital role in their not voting for Barack Obama. At least some of those Republicans are going to see through the Jindal disquise and see him as Piyush, the dark-skinned man who has a very white wife.

I can't agree with Reynolds more. The past election cycle found that many in the GOP base has a problem with "funny names" and not being the right kind of "Christian". Jindal does get past the first hurdle by using the nickname Bobby but there are still many fundamentalists who follow Al Mohler's lead in claiming that Catholics aren't Christian. As we saw with Mitt Romney's run and McCain's need to bring Palin on to rally the base, these so-called values voters don't want anyone to usurp the "real" Christian's authority even when that "other" guy has committed to leading the country in a manner consistent with fundamentalist Christian principles.

If Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin or another white fundamentalist-friendly politician runs in 2012, Jindal's devotion to his beloved Catholic church which the fundamentalist base views as idolatrous blasphemy may hurt him by serving as a reminder of his "otherness" (I fully expect them to harp that he has simply converted from one polytheistic religion to another). While conservative commentators Jonah Goldberg and Kathleen Parker disagree about characterizations of the Christian Nationalists, even they agree that the unholy conflation of religion and politics has not only hurt the GOP severely in elections, it has caused a schism within the party. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the GOP consider moving away from
candidates who will ensure [religious] divisiveness, after all the election of Barack Obama pretty much made it clear that the majority in the US, including many people of faith, have grown quite tired of the Republican holy war and prefer to avoid the unhealthy comingling of religion and politics.

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Anonymous said...

You are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

well now THERE'S a constructive comment. Heaven forbid you show cranky's alleged idiocy but rebutting his post with some actual information. You must be a typical ditto-head incapable of thinking for yourself or making any constructive comment.