Bobby Jindal was lucky that he received little media attention last week when he announced his candidacy for GOP president. One reason is his ridiculous campaign slogan: “Tanned. Rested. Ready.” It first appeared in 1968 from Richard Nixon, the former president who had to resign. Posters with images of Nixon and the slogan continued to appear. It’s never a good idea to copy someone else, and it’s even worse when that person was driven from the highest office in the United States, the one that Jindal wants.
Another problem is that “tan” implies Jindal is trying to avoid his Indian-American background. Many Indian-Americans in the U.S. are upset with Jindal because he depicts himself as separate from them. Even his official portrait in the Louisiana capitol depicts Jindal as very white. [Guess which one is the real Bobby Jindal!]
Jindal was born in the United States four months after his parents arrived. His name is Piyush, but he wanted to be called Bobby after one of The Brady Bunch. As a teen, he converted from Hinduism to Catholicism at Brown University. He and his wife are very clear about not observing Indian traditions, and he declared he wants to be known as just an “American.”
After he lost his gubernatorial run in 2003, he cultivated a group called “Bubbas for Bobby” for his successful run in 2007. He wore cowboy books, got a hunting license, and sent out a Christmas card with himself, his wife, and his three kids in camouflage. A long-time family friend, Sumir Chehl, was asked to wear Western dress for his 2008 inauguration because that’s what the governor’s political advisers wanted. Jindal has even drawn away from Indian-American donors and failed to attend a rally for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden. The crowd booed at Jindal’s name.
Lamar White wrote that Jindal is “rested” because he never shows up to his job.
“He’s spent nearly half of the last two years outside of Louisiana. John Kennedy, the Republican state treasurer, claims that he hasn’t had a substantive conversation with Jindal since he was first elected, which seems almost negligent when one considers the shape of the state’s finances. Through his state campaign fund, Jindal has spent nearly $4 million with OnMessage, a D.C.-based political consultancy, and perhaps as a result, his name has appeared in the byline of more national editorials than any other presidential candidate. He’s been everywhere but where he was supposed to be.”
At this time, Jindal’s biggest claim to fame is his executive order to “protect” Christians from LGBT people through “religious freedom” after the legislature didn’t pass this into law. In an op-ed, Jindal wrote his intent to fight “discrimination against Christian individuals and businesses.” No other religions need apply. Jindal issued the order after he roundly criticized President Obama for his lawful use of executive orders.
After the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in all 50 states, Jindal told his legal counsel to draft a memo stating that his executive order shields government employees from issuing a marriage license to same-sex couples or officiating at same-sex couples’ weddings. Lawsuits and a ruling from a lower court may have forced him to order the issuance of licenses.
Protesting marriage equality Jindal fought to keep mixed-race marriages in the state because of the law. In 2009, Keith Bardwell, JP for Tangipahoa Parish, refused to issue marriage licenses to interracial couples because of his belief that these marriages don’t last. He asked everyone who called him if they were a mixed-race couple. If they said yes, he told them he wouldn’t marry them. Although Bardwell referred these couples to other JPs, Jindal declared his action “a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law.” Six years later, Jindal stated that people in government have the right to follow their personal beliefs in deciding whether to do their jobs.
While other candidates smoked marijuana while they in college, Jindal participated in an exorcism. At Oxford University, he wrote about a close friend, “Susan,” who started having visions and smelling like sulfur—which Jindal noted “supposedly accompanies the devil.” In the midst of a seizure during a prayer group, Susan said, “Bobby, you cannot even love Susan.” The students chanted, “Satan, I command you to leave this woman” and exhorted all “demons to leave in the name of Christ.” Jindal reported that he had shortness of breath and decided to leave the demon alone “to find peace for myself.”
Jindal does have an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. It would give states full control over Medicaid and pool people at a high risk of illness, offering them subsidies. It would also get rid of the business tax break for offering employees health insurance. Unfortunately for Jindal, it’s very expensive, and Ramesh Ponnuru wrote for National Review that the plan might be too disruptive to the existing system.
He also believes in both the market and cutting government services. Becoming Louisiana’s Secretary of Health and Hospitals at the age of 24, Jindal closed clinics, dropped wages for nurses and tried to gut the Medically Needy Program and restrict Medicaid recipients to five prescriptions per month. Louisiana has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country.
As governor, Jindal inherited over $800 million in budget surplus and ran up a $1.6 billion deficit while creating $800 million in tax cuts and destroying the tax code. The billions of dollars in tax subsidies for business forced him to raid rainy day funds and savings accounts, sell public assets, and treat one-time credits as annual revenues. He ranted against “corporate welfare” while rolling back corporate giveaways to forced corporations such as IBM to accept his discrimination against LGBT people. Louisiana loses $300,000 every time the A&E show Duck Dynasty films an episode, and the state gave an oil refiner $10 million to create 43 jobs. Jindal hated the Obama stimulus money but he quietly took them.
When Jindal tried to fund private schools with funding for public education, the state supreme court called a halt to his unconstitutional action, especially after he promoted the teaching of creationism. He is hostile to women’s reproductive rights, protects his office from open-record laws, and allows his wife’s charity to pocket millions from corporations negotiating with the state.
Jindalthreatened to cut 82 percent in funding for higher education, the highest cut ever seen in the nation. Louisiana is 49th in college attainment with only 29 percent of adults with degrees. Between 2008 and 2014, the state’s per-student state allocations dropped by 43 percent, exceeded only by Arizona.
Once calling the GOP “the party of stupid,” Jindal has wholeheartedly joined them to get his foot into the presidential primaries. In England, he claimed that the Muslims had created “no-go” zones which the English knows don’t exist. He used his position as Louisiana governor to sign the Senate’s letter to Iran claiming that any agreement between the countries could be easily invalidated by another president. Through all this, Jindal has a 28-percent approval rate as a governor, the lowest in every state, and he’s polling at 1 percent in Iowa.
Other Louisiana problems from Jindal:
The largest gender pay gap in the country with women paid $.66 for each man’s $1.00.
The second-highest rate of gun deaths in the nation.
The highest rate of incarceration in the nation with two-thirds of the prisoners doing time for a drug crime or other non-violent offense. Last year, Jindal vetoed a bipartisan measure to make more inmates eligible for parole and directed the money saved from their early release to fund rehabilitation programs.
Second-highest rate of gonorrhea, third-highest rate of syphilis, and fourth-highest rate of chlamydia after Jindal blocked funds for STD prevention and Planned Parenthood.
The fifth-highest rate of teen pregnancy with a law barring anyone connected with Planned Parenthood teaching about sexual health of family planning.
A creepy part of Jindal’s declaration for candidacy was his pre-announcement announcement as he sat in the yard with his family and asked his children if they wanted to go to Iowa. In a video for the entire world, Jindal told the kids that he’s going to do something special but they can’t tell their friends. “This is our secret. Don’t let anyone know.”
This would be life under President Jindal.