I can’t even remember how many responses I’ve read to Kevin Drum’s weak argument, Liberals Should Knock Off the Mockery Over Calls to Limit Syrian Refugees. I really don’t care. I am with Martin Longman in thinking that Republicans who claim to be such strong jerks are really wimps who “become incontinent every time they think of a Muslim terrorist.” But really, it is this kind of stuff that has me depressed this week. Can’t the whole country have its entirely predictable freak out without it being considered news? Oh my God: Republicans want to increase our military presence in the Middle East! That’s right up there with: crossing guard used to keep schoolchildren safe at busy intersection.
So I was really pleased when I read Talking Points Memo yesterday, Bobby Jindal Drops Out of 2016 Republican Race. He said, “This is not my time.” And I understand: this too is on par with the crossing guard story. But at least I haven’t read it fifty times this week. And it is nice to see more people drop out of the Republican nominating contest. It’s not because I think it will make it more serious. Jindal is no more crazy than the rest of them. But getting down to a reasonable number of candidates is a good thing.
No one is surprised, of course. In fact, FARK’s headline was, Bobby Jindal Was Running for President? But it is much more than that. Back in January, The Onion published, Bobby Jindal Not Sure He Willing to Put Family Through 2-Month Presidential Campaign. They only got the timing wrong. Jindal stayed in the race for almost five months! But they were quite right that he wasn’t going to come anywhere near to the actual Iowa Caucus:
To be honest, I’m not sure what Jindal did with the extra couple of months. And I’m not too sure of what any of them are doing. I would think they would be in Iowa and New Hampshire just going door to door. It seems to me that politicians have gotten really lazy. If they aren’t talking to big crowds or on the television, they don’t seem to care. If the debates (at least on the Republican side) are what passes for campaigns, then we are in serious trouble. Because the candidates are at their worst under those circumstances. I dread seeing them all pounding their chests about Paris at the next debate.
As for why Jindal has dropped out and why he was never going to be the Republican nominee, I think I have the answer. It’s something like the uncanny valley in robotics. The idea is that we like robots that don’t look like us; they are cute or charming. And we are fine with robots that look just like us. But robots that look almost like us give us the creeps. In Jindal’s case, he wasn’t dark enough to make Republicans feel good about how non-racist they are. Just the same, he was way too dark to be white. So he was in the uncanny valley where his skin color and cultural background didn’t help him.
I know this probably sounds like I’m joking, but I am most certainly not. If Bobby Jindal looked more like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio — men who are quite literally LINOs: Latino In Name Only — then he might have had a chance. He would have done even better if he were African American, where all Republicans demand is that the candidate tell them that they are right to hate all “those kind” of black people. But a Hindu turned Catholic who was governor of a state with lots of French names? He’s more Secretary of Labor material.
Anyway, it’s great news; now he can spend every weekend with his kids.