Sunday, November 04, 2007

Face in the Crowd

Shorter Broder:

Eminent moderates agree that Republican pragmatism is just like Democratic pragmatism.

Super. Bobby Jindal is heralded here as the GOP's answer to Barack Obama, which is not the most imaginative parallel to draw. And his success story is impressive, to be sure. But Broder gets all swoony over Jindal's stated agenda.

Jindal campaigned as a conservative reformer, saying he wanted to pass strict ethics rules for the notoriously out-of-bounds Legislature but vowing also to spur business growth and open classrooms to the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution.

Hoo-boy. Look, aspiring to clean up the notorious swamp of Loozeyanna pollyticks seems like it should be ambition enough for one administration. And spurring business growth there probably means grifting federal dollars for developers to continue to gentrify post-Katrina New Orleans.

And I doubt the creationism bit is just cynical red-meat; Jindal is a renowned dogmatist, who voted against repealing restrictions on federal spending for stem-cell research. Indeed, Jindal -- when he does vote, which is about 75% of the time -- is as reliable an ideological water-carrier as one could hope for.

People like Haley Barbour I get -- they're grifters, cronyists, lifelong party hacks, because that's where the money is. But Jindal seems to be a true ideologue, one who has openly, passionately, and unapologetically proselytized on the innate primacy of Catholicism. He's a new face for the Republicans in that he's browner, but in terms of policy and ideology, he's indistinguishable.

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