Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Great Brown Hope II

So Jindal bombed. Big time. He didn't just bomb -- he made a complete ass of himself. But these things have a way of working themselves out in favor of the person who screws up, as long as they persevere. Clinton's famous keynote at the 1988 Dem convention, for example, became part of the Clinton lore -- it actually got him a bigger spot on the map, and gave him a charming tic -- the guy likes to talk too much, isn't that cute (people have this odd need to feel superior to the people who lead them. Smart leaders know this and throw a trivial bone -- like being long winded -- out there for public consumption). Jindal's screwup is a little different, in that he looked like such a complete tool, and the degree to which he pandered and talked down to people showed contempt for them -- that isn't sort of flaw people find endearing. Still, Jindal's young, and he has plenty of time to recover from this, and the public -- and very few people even saw him last night -- has a short memory. It's too bad, too, because Jindal didn't just look like a bumbling tool, he looked like a sleaze -- the kind of guy who would say any fool thing that comes into his head as long as it's what he thinks someone wants to hear. I've always considered him overrated, and think the odds of him winning the White House aren't very good (how many people will vote for Don Knotts with a sun tan?), but from what I've seen of him over the past few weeks, any chance at all of this guy being president is too much of a chance.

The real interesting thing to me out of all this is that the media people are showing a willingness to ridicule a Republican pol. Bush could fuck up, McCain could pander and flip flop, Boehner and McConnell could obstruct, Frist could make remote diagnoses, and no one would say a word. Jindal, though, isn't going to get away clean. It's something to keep an eye on -- Republicans live on being exempt from the kinds of smears and ridicule that Democrats -- with the notable exception of Obama -- are subject to as a matter of course; take that exemption away and they are going to be forced to fight it out on substance. I don't think they can pull that off.