Let’s face facts: That is obviously not true. Even my dog is perceptive enough to understand that Jindal desperately wants to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Jindal’s entire time as governor seems to have been marked by his very public quest for a spot on a presidential ticket.
When it’s news that your governor is actually in the state, doing his job, it’s a good bet that he’s been out auditioning for another gig.
Virtually every major decision Jindal has made appears to have been calculated to burnish his national reputation.
I won’t bore you with all the details (that’s not the real point of this post), but just consider the haste with which he and his allies rushed through the so-called education reforms in the recent legislative session.
Instead of taking time to do the job correctly, Jindal steamrolled bills that, upon closer inspection, are nothing short of scandalous. They will harm, not improve, public education. His poorly conceived voucher system appears to do only one thing very well – subsidize shoddy, fly-by-night private religious schools.
But why enact a voucher system in such a slapdash fashion? The answer appears to be that Jindal’s “reforms” were aimed at earning him national attention, giving him something to talk about as he travels across the nation, neglecting his governor’s duties, but attending to his quest to be vice president.
Vouchers, you see, have been the holy grail of right-wing education “reformers” for years. Jindal accomplished what many others failed to do and that, he hopes, will make him a star and catch the eye of Romney and his advisors.
Unfortunately, Jindal has wasted his time. The sad fact is that there is zero chance he will be Romney’s running mate.
The reason? One word: exorcism.
Jindal, as you may recall, wrote a 1994 article in a Catholic publication, The New Oxford Review, “Beating A Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare.” In this captivating article, he related a story from his college years about a very close friend, identified as “Susan,” who began acting very strangely.
Jindal naturally assumed she was possessed by Satan.
Here’s the rest, in Jindal’s own words:
Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan. . . .
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible’s authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
I would share more, but the bottom line is that an aspirant to be Mitt Romney’s running mate not only participated in an exorcism, but wrote a lengthy article about it.
Romney, of course, is Mormon. That is of no concern to me. I could care less if he is Muslim, Wiccan, or even an atheist. And I have no particular beef about exorcism. If that’s how you want to spend a Saturday night, then, by all means, knock yourself out.
But these are the facts: Romney and his advisors understand that his Mormon faith is a problem with just enough voters to cost him the White House if religion becomes an issue in this election. According to a Gallup survey earlier this year, 18 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon.
That’s why Romney almost never talks about his religious faith — he knows it’s a potentially huge negative for him.
Romney does have faith in Wall Street and his fabled ability to run businesses. That’s the faith he wants to talk about. But never, ever his religious faith that a substantial percentage of Americans (including a fair amount of Southern Baptists) regard as something just short of a cult.
So this is the problem for Jindal, as summarized nicely in Mother Jones magazine back in May by writer Tim Murphy:
The problem for Jindal going forward is that the absolute last thing that Romney wants, as the first-ever Mormon presidential nominee from a major party, is to spend even more time talking about a religious tradition that many Americans view with suspicion.
Jindal can cut all the taxes he wants. He can dole out all the vouchers he wants. He can create more jobs than any governor in America. But he cannot exorcise the fact that he participated in a quirky religious ritual that – if he were on the ticket with Romney – would draw a great deal of negative and very unwelcome attention to Romney’s Mormon faith.
That’s a problem that even an exorcist can’t get rid of.
- Jindal’s writing on ‘exorcism’ gets new attention (miamiherald.com)
- Jindal, “The Exorcism,” and the National Review (bobmannblog.com)
- Bobby Jindal Would Make An Awful Vice President, Say People Who Support Science and Reality (patheos.com)
- Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Goldilocks veepstaker? (miamiherald.typepad.com)