By Robert Mann
It was a nightmare scenario. In 1991, Democrat Edwin Edwards and Republican David Duke faced each other in a runoff for Louisiana governor. At first, state GOP leaders couldn’t imagine supporting Edwards for a fourth term, regarding him a corrupt libertine.
And, yet, these Republicans knew the detestable Democrat was better than the repugnant Republican. So, they rescued their party – and the state – from the Neo-Nazi and former Ku Klux Klan leader. They held their noses and supported Edwards.
You might remember the bumper stickers from that campaign: “Vote for the crook, it’s important.” That captured the prevailing view among those horrified by Duke: No matter what one thought about Edwards, electing Duke would have been cataclysmic.
Thank God sensible heads prevailed. In retrospect, it wasn’t a daunting challenge for Republican leaders who knew they must save their party and the state by choosing the crook over the klucker.
So, why is it that so many current Louisiana GOP leaders cannot see the obvious peril that Donald Trump poses to their party? Is their hatred of Hillary Clinton so intense that they will surrender their party – not to mention the country – to a reckless, misogynistic bigot?
It wasn’t that long ago that then-Gov. Bobby Jindal warned voters about how Trump threatens the Republic. “Donald Trump is a shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac,” he wrote on CNN.com in September 2015.
Until about 10 days ago, Jindal was still assailing Trump. But when the last of Trump’s GOP opposition dissolved after the May 3 Indiana primary, Jindal changed his tune. “I think anyone who says they cannot support Donald Trump needs to understand that one of the consequences is that will make it easier for Hillary Clinton to win and I don’t think we can accept that as a country,” he said the following day.
By May 8, Jindal’s pathetic transformation from Trump enemy to Trump supporter was complete. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he acquiesced to the man he once derided as “a madman.”
“I do not pretend Donald Trump is the Reaganesque leader we so desperately need, but he is certainly the better of two bad choices,” he wrote.
Jindal, you may recall, warned Republicans in 2013 to “stop being the stupid party.” So, as one keen observer wrote on Twitter, “Jindal went from ‘We can’t be the stupid party’ to ‘I’m with Stupid’ in four years.”
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