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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is pretending to update the Republican Party. But his words are belied by his past actions.
Jindal, the incoming chair of the Republican Governors Association, has fired possibly the opening salvo of the 2016 Presidential campaign by publicly excoriating Mitt Romney's comments about much of the American population.
"You don't start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought," Jindal said on Sunday in response to Romney's assertion in a post-defeat conference call that he lost due to President Obama's offer of "gifts" to minorities and young people. "We are an aspirational party."
The GOP has to "go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent," Jindal had stated a few days earlier, in an obvious swipe at Romney's leaked "47 percent" remark. "We need to go after every single vote."
"We also don't need to be saying stupid things," Jindal added on Sunday, referring to the rape remarks of Republican senatorial candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.
But Jindal has a similar hard-line stance on abortion. In fact, he is made in the same mold of far-right ideology as Mourdock and Akin are.
"Social conservatives like what they have heard about the public and private Jindal: his steadfast opposition to abortion without exceptions; his disapproval of embryonic stem cell research; his and his wife Supriya's decision in 1997 to enter into a Louisiana covenant marriage that prohibits no-fault divorce in the state; and his decision in June to sign into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, a bill heartily supported by creationists that permits public school teachers to educate students about both the theory of 'scientific design' and criticisms of Darwinian evolutionary concepts," the Washington Post reported a few years ago. This year itself, Jindal has signed into law three measures hindering women's access to abortion.
Jindal, who converted to Christianity from his native Hindu faith in college, launched his first, failed gubernatorial campaign in 2003 while standing beside Louisiana Christian Coalition leader Billy McCormack. One of Jindal's radio ads in that campaign asked, "What's so wrong with the Ten Commandments?" He has written and spoken extensively about his conversion. Jindal's public display of his Catholicism has earned him lots of political benefits.
Even on race, Jindal hasn't been above pandering to the most degraded sentiments of his party's base. In the middle of his second gubernatorial campaign, he referred to demonstrators protesting harassment of black students in the city of Jena as "outside agitators" in an ugly echo of the language used in the 1960s by segregationists.
So, Bobby Jindal hasn't been going after 100 percent of the votes, either. He needs to change his track record if he is to be taken seriously. Otherwise, his words will be nothing more than deceits.
If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of the Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "Obama's Burma Visit a Huge Gamble."
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