Monday, May 05, 2008

Jindal for VP, Part II

A few posts ago I explored the possibility of McCain selecting Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as his VP choice.

Now some liberal bloggers have tackled the issue, and they seem rather sanguine about it. Kevin Drum thinks that Jindal's youth (36) will serve to accentuate just how old McCain is (71), and Steve Benen -- in addition to that point -- wonders if the right-wing base that's uncomfortable with "difference" (read: dark people) in general will come out to vote for an Indian-American VP (once a Hindu, always a Hindu?).

Color me unconvinced. On the age issue, I guess I can see Jindal's boyishness serving to emphasize just how old McCain is. But I've always been skeptical that age will be as big a factor as some Democrats make it out to be. Maybe Democrats can make the point that the Republican ticket is lead by someone who might die tomorrow, backed up by someone with virtually no experience on the international stage. But it's hard to make that point without indicting Obama, who is more experienced than Jindal, but not by enough to immunize him from the attack. The better charge might be to simply point out that we're a heartbeat away from putting an extreme right-wing fanatic in office.

The issue of race, I think, is even less compelling. As I wrote in my last post, conservatives like big progressive shifts to come clothed in conservative garb -- it makes them less threatening. If Jindal can win statewide in Louisiana -- possibly the southern state with the worst demographics for a non-White Republican (plenty of racism combined with a Democratic Party that is still competitive in high profile elections) -- then I think he's dispelled doubts that White racism from the right will be a major strike against him.

Then, of course, there is the elephant in the room: that Jindal says he doesn't want the job. But of course, what potential VP candidate says he does want it?


Anonymous said...

Should Jindal get the nod, I think Catholic-baiting would be the easiest tact: this is a man who claims to have witnessed a demonic possession and participated in an exorcism (which, sets off crazy alarms for many varieties of non-believers and believers alike, but even for h-core Catholics there is the minor issue of the exorcism rite as-practiced in Jindal's narrative is a pretty explicit violation of church law).

Really, I think the phrase "Former Hindu who once participated in an exorcism" would sink him pretty fast once enough people started saying it.

PG said...

Two thoughts:

The sincerity of Jindal's lack of interest in the VP slot;

The accuracy of the story on which Matthew says the Catholic-baiting would occur.