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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh, let it be McCain-Jindal!

by folkbum

It's easy to see why conservatives might like Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. He's young, he's non-threateningly ethnic ("Big Tent! Democrats are the racist ones!"), and in his campaign for governor, he kind of came across as a pragmatic technocrat as opposed to a bone-headed ideologue.

However, since his election, we've learned that he's basically not anyone's dream candidate except maybe Democrats'. Consider, first we learn that he's performed an exorcism. Then he enthusiastically supports (and signs) a bill that puts in place a law exactly like the policy that was voided in the anti-"intelligent design" ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover. (My favorite line: "Evolution is no more scientifically controversial than gravity, and Governor Jindal surely knows that -- he graduated from Brown University with honors in biology. His own biology professor reminded him recently that 'Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn't make sense. In order for today's students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, ... they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution.'")

But this has to be a deal-breaker:
But yesterday on Fox News, it was Jindal who was displaying Katrina incompetence. Making a push for expanded offshore oil drilling, Jindal repeated the myth that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused “no major” oil spills in the state. Jindal called it a “great unwritten success story” [. . .]. Jindal is clueless about the reality in his own state. As noted in the Wonk Room, the Hurricanes caused offshore oil spills so large that they could be seen from space (check out a picture here.) The Minerals Management Service reported that 113 oil platforms were “totally destroyed”--a total of 124 offshore spills.

In fact, oil seeped onshore into southeast Louisiana, which saw 44 onshore and offshore oil spills. The EPA called the spills “worse than the worst-case scenario.” Even oil industry representatives admitted: “nature can always topple you.”

It’s hard to see how this is a “great unwritten success story.”
One of the least-discussed drawbacks of the "increase off-shore drilling" crowd's demands is the potential for environmental disaster, particularly from hurricane damage. It's among the biggest reasons why Florida has resisted efforts to increase drilling offshore there. And, look, I've seen "Deadliest Catch": There are hurricane-force storms as far north as Alaska. But for Jindal, perhaps, being more than $200,000 in debt to the oil companies allows him the selective amnesia to toe the party line.

As a bonus, I know this story is more than a year old now, but it has to be the most bizarre McCain story I have read to date:
Rank-and-file Republicans are disgruntled about McCain's support for campaign finance reform and gun control and his opposition to a federal ban on gay marriage. Conservative anger reached a boiling point in 2004 when McCain led the opposition to Prop 200, a state ballot measure restricting public services for undocumented immigrants. In the summer of 2005, months after Prop 200 succeeded with support from nearly 70 percent of GOP voters, [Republican state committeman Rob] Haney introduced a resolution in District 11 to censure McCain for "dereliction of his duties and responsibilities as a representative of the citizens of Arizona." After the resolution coasted through the district, it was introduced before the GOP committee of Maricopa County, Arizona's largest, encompassing Phoenix and Scottsdale (once home to Barry Goldwater).

At the time, McCain and his handlers were working to burnish his conservative credentials to win over wary Republican primary voters. [. . .] Although Arizona is somewhat off the national radar, Haney's resolution posed a threat to the McCain makeover. [. . .]

Not content to let the purely symbolic resolution stand, McCain recruited a slate of candidates to oust Haney and his allies in last November's state committee elections. McCain supporters formed a political action committee, Grassroots Arizona PAC, to bankroll this effort. Forty percent of Grassroots Arizona's funds were provided by two Democratic donors from San Francisco apparently enraptured with McCain and his "maverick" image, Gregory and Lisa Wendt, which added fuel to the flames of Haney's revolt. McCain's slate was formidable, including Fife Symington, a former Arizona governor coaxed out of retirement to come to the rescue of his old friend. So worried was McCain about being rebuked by his own party that he threw his own hat into the race, announcing that he would run for state committeeman.

When the votes were counted, McCain and his entire slate were resoundingly defeated. [. . .] McCain's botched revenge has solidified his reputation in Arizona's Republican circles as a divisive, untrustworthy and even dangerous figure. Haney hopes the general public meets this side of McCain before his penchant for angry reprisals is invested with the powers of the presidency. "This just shows that McCain is mentally unstable and out of control and vindictive," Haney told me. "If he is determined to go through that much trouble to attack a district committee chairman, what does that say about his ability to handle real political problems?"
Just. Wow.

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