Political Animal


February 13, 2013 2:18 PM Race to the Bottom

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t know if Sen. Marco Rubio’s nothing-burger of a SOTU response cheered his fellow aspirant to the Republican Great Minority Hope title, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. On the one hand, Jindal is no longer the latest failure in this role. On the other, lots of Rubio fans almost certainly said last night: “Well, at least he wasn’t as bad as Bobby.” In case you need to refresh your memory of that evening in 2009:

Jindal can only hope that memories are firmer of his speech last month to the RNC in Charlotte, which drew rave reviews from fellow-GOPers cheered at his advice that they didn’t have to change a thing about their message other than eschewing total stupidity, and from MSM types who clearly did not read it at all.

But in the mean-time, Jindal needs to watch his back. There are fresh signs today that his popularity in Louisiana is—well, calling it a free fall is probably unfair, but the trend lines are not pointing in the right direction, according to a new PPP survey:

When PPP last polled Louisiana in 2010, Bobby Jindal was one of the most popular Governors in the country. 58% of voters approved of the job he was doing to just 34% who disapproved. Over the last two and a half years though there’s been a massive downward shift in Jindal’s popularity, and he is now one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Just 37% of voters now think he’s doing a good job to 57% who are unhappy with him.
The decline in Jindal’s popularity cuts across party lines. Where he was at 81/13 with Republicans in August 2010, now it’s 59/35. Where he was at 67/22 with independents back then, now he’s at 41/54. And what was a higher than normal amount of crossover support from Democrats at 33/58 is now 15/78. There was a time when Jindal probably would have been seen as a slam dunk candidate for Republicans against Mary Landrieu in 2014. But now he actually trails Landrieu 49/41 in a hypothetical match up.

In case you’re one of those people who think PPP cooks the books for Democrats and against Republicans (though the firm significantly under-estimated Barack Obama’s margin of victory last year), a Republican polling firm last month found a similar slide in Bobby’s job approval levels, from 64% in September of 2011 to 51% a year later, and 46% now.

This is one “race to the bottom” that Jindal, who generally seems determined to immiserate the people of his state to make it more attractive to “job-creators,” doesn’t want to win.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 13, 2013 2:55 PM:

    Whodathunkit that people who are already poor, and getting poorer, might start to lose their appreciation for the person who's leading them to the bottom.

    And that when their 10th Grader comes home from school, and is asked what he/she learned that day, answers, "The Lord's Prayer."
    What, you say, again?
    "Yup, that's all we've learned since they started to teach us to read way back in 8th Grade. They wanna make sure they learned it to us good, so we can learn us some more prayers."

  • jkl; on February 13, 2013 3:44 PM:

    What a dubious and poor presentation by the perspiring Senator Rubio. Funny how Joe on Morning Joe had been promoting Rubio as some kind of wonderful, better-than-Obama-ascendent king. Meanwhile what a flop and prevaricator that Rubio was--on substance primarily.
    Joe Scarborough was busy this a.m saying Rubio was more ready and had more experience and savvy than the president. That is a big laugh and a case for impeaching Scarborough.

  • Gummo on February 13, 2013 3:55 PM:

    It's a new game, one where popularity doesn't matter at all.

    I don't think any of these bought-and-paid-for types -- Jindal, Walker, Snyder, etc. -- have any old-fashioned intention of being career politicians. Therefore, they don't have to care about appealing to the voters or getting re-elected.

    Their only concern is pleasing the billionaires who own them. That way, they will always have a secure spot somewhere in the world of wingnut welfare, on the boards of spurious "think tanks," at Fox News, or wherever.

    This is a truly scary development. For most of American history, political extremists were kept in line because they knew that sooner or later they'd have to answer to the voters. What happens when you get a bunch of extremist tools who lie their way into office and don't care if they ever get elected again?

    Actually, we're seeing exactly what happens, in Wisconsin and Louisiana and Michigan. And it ain't pretty.

  • c u n d gulag on February 13, 2013 3:56 PM:


    IMPEACH a punTWIT?

    They can't even get FIRED - no matter how wrong they are, even if they're wrong for DECADES!!!

    It's the GREATEST JOB - EVAH!!!

  • jkl; on February 13, 2013 4:05 PM:

    Yep. Scarborough on his show promotes himself, is running for office, and is using the televised forum as a way to ingratiate himself with more moderate Republicans. Every third sentence is "when I was in Congress..."
    It would encourage a drinking game, really.
    He also has been wildly promoting Marco Rubio, who clearly is an empty suit.
    Scarborough is a big bloviating Republican't who is using the show to detract from the president and create a wave or two for himself. He only has men on, and the only female guest is Kelly O'Donnell, a reliable right winger who defends Republicans. Mika is just too meek, taking his daily advise to be quiet.
    I retired early and young, and watch a lot of morning tv

  • Doug on February 13, 2013 7:50 PM:

    Strangely, I'm not at all upset that "race to the bottom" is now applicable to various Republicans. My only question is:
    "How far and how fast?"
    (Okay, so I had two questions...)