Woody and Bobby

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On Friday, I saw Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) address the National Press Club ostensibly to talk about his remarkable political success in only six months as governor of Louisiana. Most of the questions, predictably, focused on whether he'd run for vice president with John McCain. On Saturday, I refreshed the state's election sites as Woody Jenkins, once promoted in the pages of reason as "America's most libertarian legislator," battled for a safe House seat in the Baton Rouge area. Woody blew it, and the Democrats picked up the seat. Kathryn Jean Lopez (who was at the Press Club) linked the two events, calling it "further evidence Jindal has his work cut out for him."

I'd link the two events differently: I think it's fantastic that Jenkins has collapsed on the runway and Jindal's carrying the Louisiana conservative torch. Jenkins was a movement dead-ender, the kind of guy who voted the hard line against taxes and abortion (displaying plastic fetuses to hound pro-choicers) while Democrats ran the state into the ground. Jenkins was a true-blue believer in white populism who bought David Duke's mailing list (for a Senate campaign run by now-Family Research Council guru Tony Perkins).

Jindal is basically the antithesis of all this. I wasn't too impressed by him in the U.S. House (remember when the Republicans dyed their fingers purple in "solidarity with the people of Iraq?" Yep, him.) but he's a shockingly good, clear-headed governor. Jindal headhunted a Fortune 500 executive to run his state department of Labor and commanded him to prune it down. In response, the secretary came up with a plan for abolishing the department. This is what you fantasize about Republicans doing before they go and do things like hire Tom Ridge to lobby for the duct tape industry.

This is why I agree with Ross Douthat on the Jindal-for-president buzz.

The question… is whether a young and promising governor like Jindal would want to be dubbed the heir-apparent to a President who would have won the White House in spite of his party's deep unpopularity, and whose administration would be almost certainly defined as the last gasp of Reagan-era Republicanism, rather than the first step into whatever's next for the GOP. Which is to say, even if a veep slot led to a Presidential campaign further down the road, by hitching his ambitions to a McCain Administration, Jindal might be signing up to play Walter Mondale, rather than the Bill Clinton he could hope to be instead.

And his party needs it even more than the 1992 Democrats.

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  1. He supports elections in Iraq and he’s a good governor? I’m as confused as you!

  2. IF McCain wins this election, it will be by running the hell away from George Bush and embracing a centrist, non-ideological, good government position – a Republican Third Way. It will mean that McCain successfully defined himself in opposition to the Republican brand name. If this works, then Jindal will be tied not to the old Republicanism, but to something new.

    But that’s probably not going to happen. McCain is probably going to lose, and be branded as “McSame.” Being his running mate will get Jindal the “next in line” cred that matters so much to the Republicans, while pointing to the Old Style Republicansim that lost the last election. He also won’t have a record of being part of a Republican presidential administration to link him to the DC Republicans any closer, but he will have a record of running as part of a Third Way campaign team.

    So, I don’t see it that way. I can only see upside for Jindal taking the Veep slot.

  3. My no doubt overly skeptical impression is that Ross, K-J Lopez, and other right-wing types who are so earnestly telling Jindal that his destiny lies in Baton Rouge are in fact afraid that he might add just a little too much color to the ticket, if you catch my drift. Let’s not confuse the bigot vote, y’all! (That’s my southern slur for the year, unless they start waving that damn flag again.)

  4. Presumably, “reason” should be capitalized when referring to the magazine, and that’s “dyed” not “died.” I hope.

  5. reason is not capitalized.

  6. Ever looked at the magazine or the page up there ^ ?

  7. oh man…Tom Ridge.

    The name gives me unpleasant flashbacks.

    Weigel is a shill for Big Deja Vu.

  8. Personally, I hope he doesn’t take the VP slot because he’s exactly what Louisiana needs right now, in that he’s competent and honest. That’s more than any LA politician has been in my lifetime.

  9. VP slot is good if they win, terrible if they lose.

    Safer to build his reputation as a really good governor for a few years and then go for the top dawg position, none of this “vice-” shit.

  10. “Jenkins was a true-blue believer in white populism who bought David Duke’s mailing list (for a Senate campaign run by now-Family Research Council guru Tony Perkins).”

    Ron Paul could use a man like Jenkins.

  11. reason is not capitalized.

    Ever looked at the magazine or the page up there ^ ?

    I think that’s best considered a graphics affectation, a mark. In standard text, writing a proper name in lowercase only invites confusion for readers, particularly when it’s a non-unique word such as “reason.” At the very least, it presents them with a quick road bump. And if you wish to communicate efficiently, you don’t stick road bumps in your writing.

    I mean, Coca-Cola does its name in cursive. That doesn’t mean you and I need to use a fancy script font, looping the tail of the “C” through the “L,” whenever we write it.

  12. (And yes, I believe Reason itself lowercases the name in all instances, but I think that’s a poor style decision, for the reason described above. [See why it’s problematic?])

  13. I really don’t understand criticizing Jindal for the purple finger dye. I mean, I’m no fan of the Iraq war, but it’s a beautiful thing that the people of Iraq were given a choice of government for the first time ever. i really hope that things turn around and Iraq becomes a stable and democratic country.

  14. “i really hope that things turn around and Iraq becomes a stable and democratic country.”

    How soon?

  15. “i really hope that things turn around and Iraq becomes a stable and democratic country.”

    How soon?

    As soon as possible. In the meantime, we should get the hell out of there.

  16. Jinal is the perfect match for McCain: the first scandal of his new administration was the revelation that he broke ethics laws during his campaign. He then proposed paying his fine in a way that his own ethics reform package prohibited.

  17. you could just write it as reason…since I think that bolding the title is the appropriate format anyway.

  18. I think that’s best considered a graphics affectation, a mark. In standard text, writing a proper name in lowercase only invites confusion for readers, particularly when it’s a non-unique word such as “reason.” At the very least, it presents them with a quick road bump. And if you wish to communicate efficiently, you don’t stick road bumps in your writing.

    Harumph!

  19. I think that bolding the title is the appropriate format anyway.

    That sounds like it was a fun guess to make, but I know of no major stylebook that calls for the bolding of periodicals’ titles.

    The AP and Chicago stylebooks definitely don’t.

  20. Harumph!

    I would describe that as efficient writing.

  21. i really hope that things turn around and Iraq becomes a stable and democratic country.

    Establishing a Shiite-dominated government, one the Sunnis considered illegitimate, based on the results of the Sunni-boycotted 2005 elections vastly increases the size of the Sunni insurgency, led them to form an alliance with foreign jihadists, and helped bring about the civil war.

    Some people realized that holding that election under those circumstances and attempting to ignore or punish the Sunnis’ boycott would have grave results.

    Others waived their purple fingers around and declared the Iraq War to be an incotrovertable step forward for Iraq, and for democracy throughout the Muslim world, while predicing the imminent end of the insurgency.

    Jindal was among the latter.

  22. Damn Woody Jenkins. I now have the first Democratic representitive in my adult life. Jindal is on a roll on Fox right now. Screw the VP, perform a miracle down here and he’s a shoo-in in 2012.

  23. “My no doubt overly skeptical impression is that Ross, K-J Lopez, and other right-wing types who are so earnestly telling Jindal that his destiny lies in Baton Rouge are in fact afraid that he might add just a little too much color to the ticket, if you catch my drift. Let’s not confuse the bigot vote, y’all! (That’s my southern slur for the year, unless they start waving that damn flag again.)”

    Fuck off Vannemen you turd. They kiss Jindal’s ass on that site like no one else. They love the guy. If McCain doesn’t win, they will be begging for a Jindal candidacy.

  24. “My no doubt overly skeptical impression is that Ross, K-J Lopez, and other right-wing types who are so earnestly telling Jindal that his destiny lies in Baton Rouge are in fact afraid that he might add just a little too much color to the ticket, if you catch my drift. Let’s not confuse the bigot vote, y’all! (That’s my southern slur for the year, unless they start waving that damn flag again.)”

    Fuck off Vannemen you turd. They kiss Jindal’s ass on that site like no one else. They love the guy. If McCain doesn’t win, they will be begging for a Jindal candidacy.

    Just because they kiss his ass doesn’t mean they don’t want to capitalize on winning the bigot vote this year with Obama or Hillary running.

  25. “Jenkins was a movement dead-ender, the kind of guy who voted the hard line against taxes and abortion . . .”

    He not only took a hard line against abortion, but against taxes, too? What an extremist! No wonder this magazine doesn’t like him!

    “Jindal headhunted a Fortune 500 executive to run his state department of Labor and commanded him to prune it down. In response, the secretary came up with a plan for abolishing the department.”

    The linked article says:

    “The plan calls for a wholesale replacement of the state’s Department of Labor with a new agency . . .”

    Isn’t that what Congress did with the Immigration and Naturalization Service? Replaced it with ICE, ICE, baby?

  26. I disagree with Mr. Vanneman’s read, too.

    To NROers, Indians are a “model minority,” to be compared favorably with African-Americans, in a “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” fashion.

    Not to mention, they didn’t seem to worry about “confusing the bigot vote” when they were rounding up black Republican sewer commissioners and zoning board members to sit on the stage at the 2000 and 2004 conventions.

  27. When he was first elected to the legislature in 1972, as a Democrat, Woody Jenkins claimed to be a libertarian and spoke at Libertarian Party conventions. Later he decided that Christian Conservatives had more power, and went with them.

    In 1990, after the Supreme Court decision to allow states to regulate abortion, Rep. Jenkins introduced a bill to totally ban abortion in Louisiana, and send Doctors to 10 years at hard labor if they perform an abortion.

    Most recently, he was a leader of the coalition that denied Ron Paul any delegates from Louisiana. He clearly is not on our side, and his loss is not a loss for liberty.

  28. How did Jenkins get qualified as a “libertarian”? Clearly he isn’t.

    Libertarian used to mean free enterprise and social freedom as well. Now libertarians seem so desparate they will take anyone as long as they are good on the economic issues — damn social freedom. But that is conservatism and is as far from libertarianism as is socialism. This sort of compromising is a rot that will eat away until libertarian has no meaning at all.

  29. So, I don’t see it that way. I can only see upside for Jindal taking the Veep slot.

    Fuck that running…he should stay in Louisiana and fix that democrat hell hole.

    There is always 2012 and 2016….and after fixing hall hole he will have boons of street cred.

    Putting an young effective small government fiscal conservative in the VP slot would be a huge waste.

  30. “Jenkins was a true-blue believer in white populism who bought David Duke’s mailing list (for a Senate campaign run by now-Family Research Council guru Tony Perkins).”

    Wow, one would almost think that David Duke was doing something right and the Republicans should take a look at what he’s doing. Wait a minute, haven’t I read that before somewhere? Maybe in a controversial newsletter?

    Now that reason has endorsed David Duke, when will it retract all its gripes about Ron Paul’s newsletters?

  31. Did you miss the part where Jenkins got his ass kicked by the Democrat, Mr. Blather?

  32. cls, for what it’s worth, I consider the economic freedom half of libertarianism more important than the social freedom half. If you haven’t noticed, you can buy social freedoms (drugs, prostitutes, etc.) if you have enough money.

    What value does social freedom have when the government confiscates 80-100% of your income?

    I think both are important, but I value the economic freedom more. Worst case scenario I can take my money and buy a gun and ammo and try to earn me some more social freedom.

  33. “Some people realized that holding that election under those circumstances and attempting to ignore or punish the Sunnis’ boycott would have grave results.”

    Fast forward to now and… by jove the government still stands, the insurgency/civil war is no worse than much of eastern Europe (not a great metric, to be sure, but further consider that Iraq is rapidly approaching the level of stability of most middle eastern countries), and the Sunni parties seem to be moving back into the fold of participation.

    Not to mention that celebrating democracy is hardly a vice.

  34. It would seem kind pretty useless for Jindal to be governor for six months and then go out and campaign to be Gilligan to McCain’s Skipper on the doomed SS Straight Talk McMinnow Express. Palin would be the better choice for the GOP, but I don’t know if she’d want to be dragged down either.

  35. Fast forward to now and…

    Oooh, lemee guess: we’re turning the corner, it’s been a brilliant success, and 3000 Americans and a couple hundred thousand Iraqis HAVEN’T been killed?

    Hope springs eternal.

  36. Palin would be the better choice

    Plus, we get some eye candy in the election. I call that a win-win.

  37. What value does social freedom have when the government confiscates 80-100% of your income?

    The same value economic freedom has if you can’t do anything with your money because it’s illegal or your in jail. Besides, isn’t bribery and corruption (which is what you implied with buying social freedom) just another tax.

    I think a better way to phrase your comment is “None of my social freedoms are impinged (yet), so I’d rather just have the cash.”

  38. Gene Berkman downplays Jenkins’ ties to the libertairan movement.

    Michael “Emerling” Cloud, former Harry Brown, Libertarian for President Campaign Chairman was a legislative staffer for Jenkins for a stint.

    Other Louisiana Libertarians were involved in his efforts in the 1980s.

    And I seem to remember some Ron Paulists chummying up to Jenkins a few months ago.

    Yes, he’s a fanatic on abortion. But on other issues he’s quite libertarian.

    It’s a shame he lost, despite his out-of-the-mainstream views on Pro-Life. Perhaps he can come back in the Fall?

  39. Oh, one other thing: Completely missed by the media, the margin of victory for the Dem over Jenkins was less than the votes by the third party “Independent Conservative” female candidate in the race. She polled 3.8%. The margin was 3.2%.

    Essentially, the Conservative coalition vote was still intact.

    Let’s hope that the GOP runs a candidate in the Fall, without a third party Conservative on the ballot.

  40. “…because it’s illegal or your in jail…”

    Yeah, because prohibition of whatever kind works. NOT.

    You can go out right now and buy drugs and get away with it. Especially if you have lots of money.

    My argument still stands. I’d rather have the cash because it is a useful tool.

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