Why Bobby Jindal won’t be Mitt Romney’s running mate, in one word: Exorcism

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is fond of telling those who inquire about his vice presidential ambitions, “I have the job I want.”

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.

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4 Responses to Why Bobby Jindal won’t be Mitt Romney’s running mate, in one word: Exorcism

  1. Jean Armstrong, CED. CPC says:

    Bob, I can’t say that I had contemplated that factor, even though I read the article before he was elected. Interesting, especially, since he has played so hard to the extreme religious right. It would be difficult for Rommey, but could this be the red meat that Rommey is willing to toss to the extreme right?

    Here a summary of my thoughts and experiences with Governor Piyush Jindal.

    Ethics and Transparency, per his campaign, have been obstructed in the legislative process and vetoed when passed even with a majority of both houses.

    If anyone will get past the brilliant job that Teepell is doing at distracting the public from examining the Jindal record and recognize that he has used a blend of the Indian caste system and Parliament style governance for Louisiana.

    Through his opposition to the rebuilding of the Charity Hospital and its allied teaching facilities, Jindal has destroyed the LA healthcare delivery system with its ability to train medical personnel and retained a majority of the physicians, nurses, technicians, and etc., that are necessary to support the LA urban population, much less our rural areas. According to Foundation for Historic Louisiana’s $700K engineering and architectural study, Big Charity could have been restored and back online serving the people of the Greater New Orleans area within 18 months. This would have allowed the teaching staff to have a future in Louisiana and not to leave the state.

    Add to that the disaster, Medicaid, which I believe that 10 yr.contract (IMO illegal contract let to the Secretary of DHH’s former employer), someone will inevitably go to prison.

    Plus the disaster of which you are so full aware in high education and all of this is before we get to the Voucher program, which with its rebates on donations, could potentially bankrupt our state.

    Where are the investigative reporters, when the Governor of Louisiana is denying LA Citizens access to federal stimulus programs, (Funding for Broadband for Rural LA: Early Childhood Learning funding; the 1st Rapid Rail funding between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which the state has been trying to raise since the 1970’s. and other programs offered by the Obama Administration) for which Louisiana Citizens will pay taxes without the benefits of programs listed above. Haley Barber brought home every dollar that he could for the people of Ms and no one could accuse him of not being a loyal Republican.

    Cumulatively, Louisiana has been set back at least 40 to 50 years by the self subscribed Exorcist: Governor Pijush Jindal.

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  2. Gene Sands says:

    You’re right on, Bob. Jindal would bring nothing positive to the table and would be a liability. Nonetheless, it is interesting that he’s managed to create an impression, outside the state, that he’s been a very good governor and has done some great things for Louisiana.

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  3. What isittooyou says:

    You are right that Jindal will probably not be a VP candidate for Romney.
    Do you remember Blanco and the other Governors we have had who raped the state and were do nothing Governors? Jindal may not be perfect in your eyes, but he is a whole lot better than what we have had in the past. The tone of your letter and responses against Jindal sound like you are all UNION people. The state would be better off without UNIONS and people who want to keep their high paying jobs without any sacrifice on their part. Do we want the State to go broke by catering to those who want to keep things as they are or do we want our state to progress? What I have seen of Jindal he is much better than what we have had in the past.
    Sure, he’s not perfect, but then who is? Are you?

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  4. Jack says:

    One word about many academics who don’t live in the real world: detached….

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