Christopher Columbus was warned that his initial voyage across the Atlantic would lead to him sailing off the edge of the Earth and into oblivion. His naysayers were convinced the Earth was flat. Columbus knew better.
I thought of Columbus when I read that Gov. Bobby Jindal had formed an "exploratory committee" to test the waters for his all-but-certain — and all-but-doomed — presidential bid next year. In contrast to the world of Columbus, however, Jindal's political world really is flat, and he long ago sailed blindly over the edge. He's apparently the only person on the planet who doesn't know it.
Evidence of this is overwhelming. Despite his desperate attempts to make himself relevant on the national stage, and despite his sycophantic pandering to Grover Norquist, right-wing "Christians" and the GOP's xenophobic fringe, Jindal consistently trails every possible GOP candidate for president in surveys of Republican voters.
In fact, at least half the national surveys of GOP voters in recent months didn't include Jindal. Even the usually fawning Fox News offered him no quarter last week. The network announced it would limit its first all-GOP presidential debate in August to the top 10 candidates, which means Jindal will be excluded unless several would-be candidates (all of whom have consistently outpolled him) announce they aren't running.
Still, he sails on.
Jindal regards unbridled hypocrisy and staggering depths of intellectual dishonesty as badges of honor.
Which makes the metaphor of Jindal as a Flat Earther a good fit. Like members of the Flat Earth Society, Jindal is an unapologetic science denier who claims his beliefs are grounded in Holy Scripture. In fact, the governor's flat-earth worldview was on full display last week, just one day after he announced his exploratory expedition to nowhere.
Within hours of the Louisiana House Civil Law Committee killing the overtly discriminatory "Marriage and Conscience Act" bill, Jindal announced an executive order to "accomplish the intent" of the measure by preventing the state from "discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman." Discriminating against gay couples is OK, as long as it's part of your religion. The author of the legislation, state Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, admitted as much in committee.
Jindal's shameless suck-up to gay bashers also exposed him as a hypocrite. He touted the "religious freedom" bill as one of this top legislative priorities, yet when the bill was being killed in committee he was nowhere around. No one from his administration testified for the bill, but he did air "religious freedom" ads in Iowa. Moreover, when President Barack Obama issued an executive order on immigration, Jindal had a hissy fit, accusing the President of "bypassing Congress" — yet last week he defended his own executive order that attempts to bypass both the Louisiana Legislature and 14th Amendment.
Clearly, Jindal regards unbridled hypocrisy and staggering depths of intellectual dishonesty as badges of honor. That he thinks the American public would seriously consider him worthy of the Oval Office is truly mindboggling. He hasn't just gone over the edge; he's in La-La Land.
Or maybe he's just a soulless little charlatan who won't admit that the jig is up.