Monday, June 29, 2015

Why is Bobby Jindal running for President?

Bobby Jindal has no chance in hell of winning the presidency, or of being asked to be the Vice President on someone else's ticket.  So why would he announce a run for office?

Last week,  Piyush "Bobby" Jindal with his wife Supriya, announced his intention to get into the race to be the GOP nominee for president in 2016.  Louisiana has some unusual practices in gubernatorial elections; it holds them in the year before a year divisible by 4, which is November 2015; and it allows the governor two consecutive terms, but require a 4 year interim term out of office before a candidate for governor can run for additional terms, also in a maximum of two consecutive 4 year terms.  Essentially a governor, should he or she be sufficiently popular can run for two terms in office, one term out, then two terms in office again.

I would argue that the answer to this candidacy lies in the experience of another Republican, from the Dubya administration, equally failed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  Gonzales, for years after he left government office, was unable to find a job -- any kind of job, much less as a practicing lawyer.  Eventually a big donor player in Texas politics was able to force through a pity job for Alberto, teaching a couple of so-called 'special' classes at a university for atypically big $$$$ relative to other not-staff instructors, over the strong objections of the administration, academic staff and students.  The job was pure political patronage, not merit.

Texas Tech University Faculty Protest Alberto Gonzales Appointment

 According to a local TV station as late as last night there were 45 signatories to the petition, whose creator is quoted by the Avalanche-Journal thusly:
Walter Schaller, a Tech philosophy professor since 1986, said Friday he decided to take action because "with the emphasis on ethics the university has adopted, a guy that misled Congress is not the kind of person we want to represent Texas Tech."
The petition protesting Gonzales' appointment as a visiting professor in political science isn't a secret from the college's chancellor. Not surprisingly, Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance has said he'll go ahead with the appointment. Hance, Tech's third chancellor and the first alumnus to serve the university in that position is a lawyer and a veteran politician.
The A-J gives some more details on Schaller's petition and position regarding Gonzales:

The petition cites two main reasons for opposing Gonzales' hire: because the chancellor should not hire faculty and because Gonzales' record is questionable. The attorney general resigned from his post amid controversy in 2007.
"It is unclear what Gonzales has done that makes him deserving of employment at Texas Tech. Does he have a noteworthy academic record? Does he have a record of publishing in law reviews? Was his service to his country particularly distinguished?," the petition reads.
Hance's hiring of a "good friend" is in conflict with Tech's "Statement of Ethical Principles," according to the petition, which calls the chancellor's involvement in selecting faculty and the "celebrity hire" as "troubling."
The document goes on to list Gonzales "ethical failings," including: frequently misleading Congress and the American people; rejecting the Geneva Conventions; denying the constitutional right of habeas corpus; and showing more loyalty to President George W. Bush than to the Constitution.
"I tried to document all of the charges against Gonzales," Schaller said, citing a 2008 Department of Justice report and a 2009 Inspector Generals' report investigating Gonzales' surveillance programs as his information sources.

After the limited gig was up at Texas Tech, Gonzales went on to become the dean of a tiny Christian law school which at the time he started there in 2012 was not accredited.  This could fairly be termed another right wing evangelical pity job for someone no law firm in the nation was interested in taking on staff as a practicing attorney.  This is the best a failed  very public, highly partisan political figure can hope for when you are so conspicuously, even scandalously unsuccessful.  No one wants you, not in the public sector, and not in the private sector.  In this regard, I would argue that Jindal is very much like Gonzales, and that therefore his no-hope presidential run is really a run at finding a sympathetic patronage position.

From the WSJ:
Belmont University on Thursday announced that it has hired Mr. Gonzales to be dean of its law school.
Mr. Gonzales has taught at the law school since 2012, lecturing students on topics such as constitutional law, separation of powers, national security law, according to the university.
Belmont College of Law, part of a private Christian university in Nashville, enrolled about 300 students during the 2013-14 academic year, its third year in operation. Last year, it received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association.
Given how much Jindal has wrangled and tangled in opposition to business, large and small, in his own state, in pursuing culture war and right wing failed economic policy, it is unlikely that the private sector would want anything to do with him as an employee in or outside of Louisiana.  Jindal has offended entities in his state like IBM, as well as the highly lucrative hospitality industry, with his actions and his extreme ideology.  You have to be very extreme to be too far to the right for one of the deep south Bible belt states.

Jindal has his own wealthy patron / pal, the Duck Dynasty patriarch, but in the context of the Donor class where other players include the Koch brothers and the likes of Sheldon Adelson, that is insignificant, unless you can imagine Piyush working on a duck call assembly line.  The Dynasty clan is not academically affiliated, and might well be described more as academically challenged.

And given his failure to be a successful public speaker, like his 2009 State of the Union response, I just do not see Jindal successfully making a living on the speaking engagement circuit the way someone like Bill and Hillary Clinton have done, or even the big-hair-brained Sarah Palin.  Jindal is not white-trashy and is too educated-elite for the Palin teabagger crowd, no matter how much religious zealotry he spouts.

Governor Jindal, who has the WORST approval ratings of any governor in the country, is also the past Vice Chair of the Republican Governor's Association.  Also in the race is New Jersey Governor and 2014 chair of the Republican Governor's Association is expected presidential candidate Chris Christie, who has the second worst approval ratings of any sitting governor in the country.  both Jindal and Christie were the darlings of the right back in 2012. Now, not so much as their respective states are in bad shape and they face scandal and controversy, not to mention being unable to carry their own respective state in a general election.  That suggests that Jindal, and probably Christie, will be short lived as candidates this election cycle, and further that the Republican clown car turned shuttle bus will become self-limiting around the end of 2015 into early 2016.

The respective chance at the White House for both Jindal and Christie seems to have come and gone.  That can probably be said of Huckster-bee and Perry as well, and of Pataki, and as his record becomes better known, of Scott Walker.  Jebbie might be able to skate by for a while longer, but his record is not really all that stellar as a governor either.  The whole lot look to be versions of fail like former half-term governor Sarah Palin.

It is fair to say that Jindal's  recent presidential announcement did not go well, in fact it went as poorly as his past response to President Obama's 2009 State of the Union speech, which went only marginally better than crazy-eyes Michele Bachmann's Teabagger rebuttal did in 2011; both were the subject of much well deserved mockery.

In 2015, Jindal has failed substantially to improve on that 2009 failure, or his 2015 State of the Union tweet failure.

From the Inquistir

Bobby Jindal’s Presidential Announcement Video Is New Source Of Ridicule
While Bobby Jindal’s announcement that he was getting into an already crowded GOP presidential field was met by celebration in some sectors, there are also plenty of people who think Bobby Jindal entered the race in the worst way possible. In particular, Bobby Jindal’s announcement video seemed to show that the Louisiana Governor’s own family is only slightly on board with his candidacy.

The right wing propaganda machine would have us believe their big bench of candidates, declared and waiting to declare, is full of stronger candidates than Mitt Romney was last time around. They now try to claim their blue-chip candidate in 2014 was more chipped / flawed and weak than they claimed at the time. But the reality is that every one of the candidates entering the race THIS cycle is weaker, less plausible, and are probably less sincere than Romney in actually seeking to attain to the presidency. Rather there is money and possible position and influence lurking for the also-rans, and I would argue that Jindal, but not only Jindal, is really pursuing THAT goal, not the oval office.  Most of what is playing out nominally as a race is  superficial pandering to the rabid primary voters, coating a core of political prostitution marketing.  To corrupt a well known phrase, there is gold in them thar shills.

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