Regular readers know that one of my least favorite Republican pols is Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Aside from his championship of two of the most atavistic conservative policy “ideas”—no-strings private-school education vouchers and regressive “tax reform”—Jindal regularly adds insult to injury by projecting a transparently phony populism that makes Mitt Romney look authentic.
So I haven’t been displeased to observe that Bobby has lost ground massively with the general electorate of Louisiana, and with a national media audience that’s finally realizing the Bobo the Simple-Minded Act he staged in his 2009 State of the Union response was not an aberration. But now, thanks to Marin Cogan of TNR, we know more: Jindal has also all but lost his base of support among Louisiana conservatives, partially due to an ill-advised feud he seems to have picked with Sen. David Vitter, who may well succeed him as Republican nominee for governor in 2015 (when Jindal faces term limits).
You should read it all, but here’s the satisfying conclusion:
“He’s a victim of his own staff,” one conservative activist told me. “His own staff has overprotected him and created this Praetorian guard around him, and therefore he has not been able to engage enough, particularly with legislators and other politicians, and that I think has limited his effectiveness.”
“It’s really, really bad,” said another Louisiana Republican familiar with the relationship. “So essentially Vitter has stepped up to fill that void. Because everyone hates Bobby, David hates Bobby, and presto: The enemy of my enemy is a friend.”
Cogan goes on to suggest that Jindal’s much-discussed White House ambitions are less realistic than a bid to become a conservative think tank president—probably an appropriate next step for an aging wunderkind who’s burned through as many jobs as Bobby has only to (as veteran Louisiana political observer Bob Mann put it to Cogan) “flame out” at what should be his national launching point. Indeed, having so recently engaged in maximum anti-Washington demagoguery, he’s the perfect guy to head back up the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and take over a right-wing think tank that keeps him on television.
In any event, unless Bobby’s even smarter than he thinks he is, he’s going nowhere fast. It’s a shame he can’t call for the exorcist to liberate him from the political demons that are devouring his career.
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