When Can Brown Begin? (Answer: November 5, 2008)

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With a McCain-Palin defeat creeping up closer and closer, speculation is turning to the GOP's 2012 hopefuls, with a heavy focus on brilliant Louisiana Gov. Bobby (born "Piyush") Jindal. He made McCain's VP shortlist, after all. But Chris Orr writes off his chances.

Though rarely explicit (and certainly not exclusive) a large portion of the GOP's closing argument this cycle has been to stoke white, working class fear and suspicion of the Other. The dark-skinned man with the foreign-sounding name may be a Muslim, or a socialist, or a friend of terrorists, or a racial huckster, or a fake U.S. citizen, or some other vague kind of "radical." You may never be sure which he is (maybe all of the above), but in your gut you simply don't "know" him the way you know the other candidates. This is not, to put it mildly, a message likely to benefit Bobby Jindal.

I think this is exactly wrong. If Obama wins, than the campaign Orr describes will have been a miserable failure. The host of Obama rumors (which are still churning) will have only convinced a small, embittered portion of the electorate to vote against the guy. And it won't be long before a President Obama doesn't abolish the Constitution, or institute sharia law, or build a White House tunnel to Mecca.

Michael Savage and his merry band of radio mouth-breathers will predict he's going to, any second now, but as Obama becomes a conventional liberal president it'll have an intense calming effect on this sort of racial-ethnic paranoia. It will make the GOP search for a non-white candidate more, not less, frantic. After all, could the Palin selection have been possible without Hillary Clinton blowing through a number of traditional voter impressions of female candidates and normalizing the idea of a woman as commander-in-chief?

The GOP elite and punditocracy will speed along the process. (Had Jindal gotten the VP nod instead of Palin, we'd have spent two months listening to conservatives explain how non-white Rhodes Scholars, not hockey moms who can't name a Supreme Court case, represent the "real America.") The only downside is that glowing stories about Jindal's trips to rural Iowa will come along with stories about the oddball conspiracy theorists in his crowds who want to know about his birth certificate and whether he's a member of al Qaeda and whether there's a tape of his wife railing about "whitey" being responsible for the Amritsar massacre.

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85 responses to “When Can Brown Begin? (Answer: November 5, 2008)

  1. Hey! I’m not dead, yet.

    In fact, I’m feel better, now.

    Really, I am.

  2. Are they really touting Bobby? The names i keep hearing are Palin (God help us) or Huckabee (God really help us)

  3. Jindal-Palin ’12.

    That’s who I’m voting for.

  4. Good post, Weigel. Movement conservatives and base republicans love minority conservatives. They promote the hell out of them.

  5. I don’t know much about Jindal. But the key to his sucess against Obama won’t be the usual business. I’ll venture to say that if Obama wins, in four years most conservatives won’t be nearly as scared of a dark skinned man in the White House. Certainly not if he has a “R” next to his name. He does have some wacky religious history going on, but if he has the same calm even handed persona as Obama, I think most folks across the spectrum will be able to overlook that stuff.

  6. The culture wars are over and the republicans lost. Propping Jindal, someone who is as draconian as Palin on social issues is the problem.

    The GOP needs to come back as a moderate libertarianesque camp if they ever want to have a significant voice again.

  7. Jindal / Flake seems like a winna to me.

  8. Also let me add that most reps don’t care about Skin color. Palin made it about Obama’s race and this socialist nonsense, but it wasn’t a overarchng narrative from the reps for most fo the campaign.

    Rememebr, This was the same party that tried to get Powell to run 2 times.

  9. Ultimately, it will be his hardcore social conservatism that will bring down Jindal , not his skin color.

  10. anyone from louisiana? know if his admin has lived up to any of its hype?

  11. I recall reading somewhere that Jindal is anti-evolution despite having a bachelor’s of biology and graduating with honors. Anyone aware of whether there is any truth to that?

  12. Jindal won’t win because Sanford exists. Ethnicity won’t matter because most people have a positive impression of Indians, especially Christian ones with Southern accents.

    As far as the “calming” influence an Obama Presidency might have, doesn’t that have to be analyzed within the context of the current crisis? We are on the cusp of another Great Depression. Even if Obama governs in the most conservative way possible, he’s still going to bear the brunt of economic backlash and anger the likes of which nobody living has ever seen. If Obama’s Presidency is the test, I’d argue that future minority candidates will have things much harder.

    But Obama’s Presidency isn’t the test. A black President faces more hurdles than other races because blacks are generally viewed as more criminal and intellectually inferior. A Muslim will face tremendous hurdles because of the terrorism issue. An American Indian will face scrutiny about his level of drink. A Mexican will bear the brunt of immigration fears. Other minorities probably don’t have anything to worry about anymore. Obama will change nothing, no matter how bad his term ends up being. Things change over time, as the underlying dynamic of the racial group changes. Compare American attitudes towards Chinese today as opposed to the 1880’s.

  13. Are they really touting Bobby? The names i keep hearing are Palin (God help us) or Huckabee (God really help us)

    You must not spend any time lurking in the conservative blogosphere. Jindal has been touted heavily for well over a year. Huckabee has his supporters, but not very many.

  14. When can we stop caring about the GOP?

  15. Jindal is another religious k00k. No tongue-speaking, however–just attesting to exorcisms.

    Did somebody pass a law making it a crime for sane people to lead the GOP nowadays?

  16. Movement conservatives and base republicans love minority conservatives. They promote the hell out of them.

    They do. And Democrats beat the hell out of them in elections. Just ask Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, or Bill Lucas of Michigan from back in 1986, among others.

    Dave, I’m disappointed you didn’t mention that we’d have an outcry too over Democrats using part of Jindal’s name that he doesn’t want used. Since, after all, it happened in Louisiana in the election.

    The GOP needs to come back as a moderate libertarianesque camp if they ever want to have a significant voice again.

    Tom Campbell, recently seen writing an article for Reason opposing the anti-gay marriage proposition, got slaughtered by Dianne Feinstein– partly for being too soft on drugs compared to drug warrior Feinstein– in California. He also made noises about upholding the Constitution in opposing Presidential war making authority. (Against Clinton, of course.)

    If that didn’t work in California, do you expect it to work nationally?

    No one wins elections without huge compromises against libertarian principles. Libertarianism just isn’t popular enough, unfortunately.

  17. Woah, two non-white guys running for president in the same year? The MSM’s hard on will never go down.

  18. During the era of the Southern Strategy, the Republicans used other issues as a proxy for race.

    Those Democrats, like Jesse Jackson there, are soft on crime, want to give lazy people welfare, and don’t respect states’ rights.

    This year, it’s different. They’re using racialized language to provide oomph to arguments that are primarily about political ideas. Allahbama over there wants to talk to terrorists. That socialist wants to collect taxes from guys like Joe the Plumber, and redistribute it to poor people. Do we really know enough about this guywho isn’t like us to trust him to represent our interests? Even the foreign, birth-certificate stuff is just a hypercharged version of “real Americans don’t order the swiss cheese on their subs.” They aren’t trying to get people to vote against the black guy; they’re trying to get people to vote against the liberal, and are using his race and background to strenghthen the case that he’s a dangerous leftie.

    Which suggests to me that there would be little problem getting the people who bought that stuff to support Jindal, by casting him as a conservative in lifestyle and ideology. If anything, Jindal’s race would be a chance for anti-Obama voters to prove that they were so totally not voting against him because he’s not white, but because he was a socialist who’se soft on terror and out of touch with ordinary Americans.

  19. Jindal is a product of the corrupt Louisiana machine that, if elected, will demand more forms of “welfare” by way of instituting a dowry system that each citizen will be forced to pay to the federal government in the form of higher taxes. Also, because of his “background”, Jindal will force us to adopt his arugula eatin’ ways when he institutes Hindu law banning the slaughter of cows – which will also force us to become a bunch of soy milk sippin’ sissies.
    I also believe that there is a picture of him dressed in a white grab – is it a turban?? – that he donned on a trip to his “homeland” in India (they have Muslims there, right?). And didn’t he grow up reading about the history of that socialist and agitator Ghandi?
    I’d prefer to see an American candidate run for the position of president of America.

    Wait, the guy’s a Republican???
    In that case, he’s Horatio Alger. Jindal in ’12!!

  20. Just ask Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, or Bill Lucas of Michigan from back in 1986, among others…Tom Campbell, recently seen writing an article for Reason opposing the anti-gay marriage proposition, got slaughtered by Dianne Feinstein

    All of your examples involve Republican candidates who ran in strongly-Democratic districts. I’m not sure how much we can conclude from that, except that the Democrat won.

  21. Dammit – I forgot to add that Jindal will play caste warfare.

  22. A lot of white people feel a sense of guilt towards African Americans and want to see one be PResident to assauge that guilt. They don’t feel that way about Indians. The Democrats would be free to run the most racist campaign imaginable. Look at it this way, thanks to the campaign against Sarah Palin, it is now okay in polite company to wear a “Sarah Palin is a cunt” t-shirt. If they can do that with women, what do you think they will do to an East Indian? Bobby Jindle will never be President. I hope he doesn’t run, because I don’t think it would be very good for the country for it to be fashionable to hate Indians.

  23. “Dammit – I forgot to add that Jindal will play caste warfare.”

    There you go. The racist jokes almost write themselves.

  24. “All of your examples involve Republican candidates who ran in strongly-Democratic districts”

    I thought they all ran for statewide seats, no?

    And add Lynn Swann to that list.

  25. gmatts,

    Districts, states, whatever. Mayland, California, Pennsylvania…and I’d go so far as to say Ohio in 2006 was pretty durn blue.

  26. Here are some names for consideration

    Mark Sanford
    Jeff Flake
    Gary Johnson

    and of course Ron Paul

    Any of these might bring some credibility back to limited gov’t republicanism.

    If you had a ticket of Sanford/Flake you could about tie up the south, plains states in the midwest, and the eastern part of the western states.

    The parts where they would likely struggle would be the far west, the Northeast, and the industrial midwest. No surprise there though since that is the area that the democrats have a better hold of.

  27. Weigel is, of course, still an idiot.

    1. TNR. ‘Nuff said.

    2. Weigel’s supporting finding someone who fits the uniform.

    3. If BHO wins – something that is far from certian – he’s not going to be a “conventional liberal president”. He’s going to be the furthest left president in our history, and he’s going to have little opposition. He’s going to have a Dem congress, together with his far-left buddies, together with an MSM that will continue lying for him. Nothing he will do will be consistent with libruhtarian “ideology”.

    And, some of what he’ll do will be straight outta East Germany. His winning will give power to people with fascistic tendencies. Things like this will happen to his opponents. And, he’ll push this plan which appears to have been lifted straight from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_movement

  28. “Here are some names for consideration

    Mark Sanford
    Jeff Flake
    Gary Johnson

    and of course Ron Paul”

    Here’s a wild card: David Petraeus as either president or vp – but most likely VP.

    Jindal/Petraeus??

  29. They don’t feel that way about Indians. The Democrats would be free to run the most racist campaign imaginable.

    C’mon, Democrats like Joe Biden would never tolerate their party saying anything demeaning about Indians.

    Oh, wait. . .

  30. John,

    Not sure what crowd you run with, but wearing that T-Shirt would certainly not be acceptable in “polite company”. At least not where I came from, am currently and plan to be. Using the C word in mixed company is probably the quickest way to never, ever get a date.

  31. Also, under Weigel’s “conventional liberal president”, this guy will probably be Secretary of Treasury.

    It’s easy to diagnose supporting libruhtarianism and then supporting BHO as just being a trend of stupidity, but I think there’s more involved.

  32. Yes, but were is Obama’s “vault” birth certificate? Have you seen it? Has anyone seen it? Why won’t he produce it and put all the questions to rest?

  33. “Not sure what crowd you run with, but wearing that T-Shirt would certainly not be acceptable in “polite company”. At least not where I came from, am currently and plan to be.”

    I had the same thoughts as you on this.

    I once saw a t-shirt for sale in New Orleans that simply stated “I’m here about the blow job”. It was brilliant, yet there was no company I could imagine wearing it in. So I balked on the t-shirt.

  34. Hogan, most people are happy with Jindal down here. Especially after he vetoed a legislative pay raise even though he initially promised he wouldn’t. The legislature tried for pay three times the current rate, then backed off to two times, but still the outcry on talk radio made the governor flip flop. He has handled the hurricanes pretty well, passed some tougher ethics laws and has stayed away from excorcisms lately.
    As far as Republicans worrying about skin color, I don’t think that includes indians.

  35. And it won’t be long before a President Obama doesn’t abolish the Constitution, or institute sharia law, or build a White House tunnel to Mecca.

    But…but…but…the Tunnel to Mecca would take two terms!!

    [/M. Malkin-voiceover]

    Not sure what crowd you run with, but wearing that T-Shirt would certainly not be acceptable in “polite company”. At least not where I came from, am currently and plan to be. Using the C word in mixed company is probably the quickest way to never, ever get a date.

    No kidding. I personally think the woman is terrifying and many of her statements and positions despicable, and even I would likely punch a guy for wearing a shirt like that.

    My S.O., on the other hand, thinks that “cunt” is the greatest word in the English language. So there’s that.

  36. Yeah, well, at least I don’t plaster on the make-up like a trollop, you c

  37. “My S.O., on the other hand, thinks that “cunt” is the greatest word in the English language. So there’s that.”

    It can be–context is everything, man.

  38. It can be–context is everything, man.

    Trust me, she doesn’t care about context.

  39. Speaking of Indians and the c-word, my buddy used to work in a retail store with a newly-arrived Indian immigrant. The Indian had a fight with his girlfriend the night before, but lacked any English curse words to throw at her. My buddy told him “Just call her a cunt.”

    The Indian went out on the sales floor and started asking “What is cunt? Do you know what means cunt?”

    Hilarity ensued.

  40. John | October 28, 2008, 2:40pm | #
    A lot of white people feel a sense of guilt towards African Americans and want to see one be PResident to assauge that guilt. They don’t feel that way about Indians. The Democrats would be free to run the most racist campaign imaginable. Look at it this way, thanks to the campaign against Sarah Palin, it is now okay in polite company to wear a “Sarah Palin is a cunt” t-shirt. If they can do that with women, what do you think they will do to an East Indian? Bobby Jindle will never be President. I hope he doesn’t run, because I don’t think it would be very good for the country for it to be fashionable to hate Indians.

    Evidence that John is never in polite company,
    doesn’t have any idea what people think about race, and has a strange sense of the effect that successful minorities have on the perceptions of the majority.

  41. obo,

    When did Gov. Palin say anything about Sen. Obama’s race?

  42. TerryP | October 28, 2008, 2:48pm | #
    Here are some names for consideration
    …Gary Johnson

    Having seen Johnson’s executive skills up close I can say with conviction…

    NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

    What a marooon.

  43. Jindal took 50% in a three man race, that is a blowout. In his first run at the office, the Democrats darkened his skin in advertisements because apparently he’s not dark enough to scare people off.

  44. Guy, when you snap your head around and bark for ten minutes, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good to then open your eyes really wide and say “What dog whistle?”

  45. As far as the “calming” influence an Obama Presidency might have, doesn’t that have to be analyzed within the context of the current crisis? We are on the cusp of another Great Depression. Even if Obama governs in the most conservative way possible, he’s still going to bear the brunt of economic backlash and anger the likes of which nobody living has ever seen. If Obama’s Presidency is the test, I’d argue that future minority candidates will have things much harder.

    The guy who was president during the last Great Depression got reelected three times. The guy that was president in the biggest intelligence fuckup since Pearl Harbor, oversaw the end of a decade of peace and prosperity was reelected. The VP during a decade of peace and prosperity, lost an election he should have won easily.

    The best thing that can happen to a president is to come into a fucked up situation that can’t be pinned on you. All you have to do is not fuck it up more and show a moderate improvement over the course of 4 years and you’ll be fine. Nature taking its course should do the vast majority of the heavy lifting for BHO.

    The Democrats would be free to run the most racist campaign imaginable. Look at it this way, thanks to the campaign against Sarah Palin, it is now okay in polite company to wear a “Sarah Palin is a cunt” t-shirt.

    Jesus Christ. Where have you seen that shirt? I hang out with a pretty off color crowd (the “Chris Hansen is a Cock Blocker” t-shirt is acceptable), that shirt would not be cool. You need a t-shirt that says, “Everything I know about Democrats, I learned from Mark Steyn.”

  46. I do predict that the national media will never correct itself on the pronounciation of his last name. He pronounces it Jindal rhymes with spindle, but that doesn’t sound Indian enough for the MSM.

  47. Oh, get off the cross, James.

    I suppose it was a giant “MSM” conspiracy that they just now begane prouncing Dick Cheney’s name the right way, too. Probably those media magnates in their “Palin is a cunt” tee shirts.

    (BTW, it rhymes with “Kenny,” not “grainy.”)

  48. The guy who was president during the last Great Depression got reelected three times.

    Herbert Hoover was a four-term president?

  49. Though rarely explicit (and certainly not exclusive) a large portion of the GOP’s closing argument this cycle has been to stoke white, working class fear and suspicion of the Other.

    If by “the Other” you mean Ivy League lawyers who marinated in hard left circles and have never held a real job in their lives, then I would agree.

    If by “the Other” you mean uppity black folk, I think someone is living in a fantasy world.

  50. RCD,

    If by “the Other” you mean uppity black folk, I think someone is living in a fantasy world.

    You know, many a Leftoid will not tolerate uppity minorities. Remember what they said about Sec. Powell and Sec. Rice when they got uppity and worked for a non-Dem. administration?

    They did not say anything nice about Sec. Powell until he got “back in line” with his recent presidential endorsement.

  51. LMNOP,
    Great Depression:Hoover::Current situation:Bush
    Great Depression:FDR::Current situation:Obama

  52. My goodness, Democrats said bad things about Republicans, even when they’re black?

    Racists.

  53. I think that “Do you know enough about Barack Obama?” is plainly a reference to Harvard.

    I think that McCain campaign flacked the story about the Pittsburgh Cut Nut to make a point about Barack Obama not holding a “real job.”

    I think they keep refering to a proposal to rebate the federal taxes paid by low income people as “welfare” in order to make a point about marinade.

  54. Joe,

    “and are using his race and background to strenghthen the case that he’s a dangerous leftie.”

    When did this happen? I don’t think it’s true. I’ve heard a lot of arguments about his background and being a leftie. I haven’t heard much about race though.

  55. If by “the Other” you mean Ivy League lawyers who marinated in hard left circles and have never held a real job in their lives, then I would agree.

    You are aware, Jindal’s career is similar to Obama’s. Instead of 3 years at a law firm, Jindal had 3 years at McKinsey. Obama marinated in the hard left, Jindal marinated in the hard right (exorcisms? really?).

  56. Look at it this way, thanks to the campaign against Sarah Palin, it is now okay in polite company to wear a “Sarah Palin is a cunt” t-shirt.

    man, i haven’t even remotely seen one of these and i’m in a place where rainbow flags proclaiming opposition to “the bush agenda” are in many a window and storefront.

    besides, “sarah palin is a dipshit” would be more accurate.

  57. Michael Savage and his merry band of radio mouth-breathers…

    I’m convinced Michael Savage is an extremely elaborate put-on.

  58. to be fair perhaps john hangs out with a lot of brits?

  59. I never heard bad things about “Ivy Leagues” from Republicans when either W. or his father was running. I wonder WHY?

  60. I’m convinced Michael Savage is an extremely elaborate put-on.

    This. The guys is from San Francisco. It’s most surely elaborate performance art.

  61. Walter Williams/J.C. Watts 2012. And I think they should run as a tandem from the primary season on.

  62. Guy,

    I believe Democrats’ dislike of Colin Powell stemmed almost entirely from his decision to swallow his pride and promote this administration’s Big Lie at the UN Security Council. Their dislike of Condoleeza Rice is probably the result of her being an utter hack.

    Just a thought.

  63. BDB,

    “I never heard bad things about “Ivy Leagues” from Republicans when either W. or his father was running. I wonder WHY?”

    It must be because he’s black! There’s no other difference. It must be.

  64. JJ, that’s not what I was going for. At all.

  65. jj,

    I gave several examples in the very comment you quoted, just prior to the line you quoted.

    Although they racialized language has lingered much more on his foreign, Kenyan, Arab, Muslim, whatever origins than his blackness, it’s still racialized.

    I really hope this wasn’t an effort to start a semantic discussion about whether “racial” is the right term to use to describe such appeals.

  66. Great Depression:Hoover::Current situation:Bush
    Great Depression:FDR::Current situation:Obama

    Oh I know. I was just being snarky.

  67. My point was that somehow “Ivy League education” is not “elite” when it’s the Republican candidate that got one. (Bush Sr. and W.)

  68. “I really hope this wasn’t an effort to start a semantic discussion about whether “racial” is the right term to use to describe such appeals.”

    Oh, it will.

  69. You know, I think Obama’s complicated background just made it too difficult for the race-baiters to get a bead on him.

    He’s a scary foreigner. From Chicago.

    OK, he’s a scary black guy from the South Side. Who grew up in Hawaii with his white family.

    He’s a scary Muslim. With one of those crazy black revvums.

    Uh…can I borrow a mirror and a sharp object?

  70. Don’t forget, “half white person that hates white people”.

  71. BDB,

    I know, I was being turdish because all the examples of racial language I’ve heard have been dubious, I thought we might as well add that one.

    Joe,

    I read it again and still am not sure. Who called him Allahbama? I won’t get into symantics (BDB), let’s just pretend that that is racial, who said it?

    “That socialist wants to collect taxes from guys like Joe the Plumber, and redistribute it to poor people. Do we really know enough about this guywho isn’t like us to trust him to represent our interests?”

    There’s nothing racial in there, and then the rest is really just your opinion.

  72. Joe and BDB,

    Are those real quotes or are you making them up?

  73. If a 80 year old norweigan can have a 123 year old eye, can we transplant Ron Paul’s brain into a younger republican? I think that would be a great way to keep libertarian hopes alive, and show a damned crazy use of stem cells at the same time!

  74. Using the C word in mixed company is probably the quickest way to never, ever get a date.

    Oh, I dunno – works fine for me!

  75. Racism against non-whites is too taboo among the left for their fringe to use it in attacks against Jindal. They’ll probably foccus their attacks on Jindal’s Christianity.

  76. Hussy | October 28, 2008, 6:05pm | #

    Using the C word in mixed company is probably the quickest way to never, ever get a date.

    Oh, I dunno – works fine for me!

    I’ve had the best luck with, “Nice shoes. What to get married?”

  77. What to get married

  78. actually he’s still Piyush. has never legally changed his name, though he has gone by bobby for decades now.

  79. Dammit Weigel, “whitey” did commit the Amritsar massacre. Unless you have evidence that Gen. Dyer was not a true-blue Englishman!

    Of course that wasn’t OUR empire.

  80. The left would call Jindal a sellout for taking a non-ethnic nickname. There’s plenty of other nasty stuff that white liberals can throw at nonwhite conservatives. And if you’re a nonwhite liberal then its no-holds-barred. While I’m not a huge fan of Clarence Thomas, one need only see his reception on the left to know what I mean.

  81. My personal favorite was the commentator who referred to him as a “cringing, chicken and biscuit eating Uncle Tom”.

  82. Xmas | October 28, 2008, 2:13pm | #

    Jindal-Palin ’12.

    That’s who I’m voting for.

    I like Palin-Jindal, because a sitting VP normally gets to be on top of the ticket.

  83. And Who’s on First | October 28, 2008, 9:08pm | #

    What to get married

    I mean, “Want to get married?”.

  84. Democrat Party supporters have portrayed McCain as some sort of Manchurian Caandidate and/or traitor, questioned his citizenship (because he was born while his dad was serving in Panama), tried to suggest that Palin’s youngest son is actually her grandchild from her daughter, etc., etc. Obama’s recent ads have said that McCain would continue Bush’s failed domestic policies without saying what policies or how they failed.

    Yet none of this seems to be a negative for Obama, I wonder why?

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