Bobby Jindal will no longer pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He also will not pursue Alpha Centauri, or growing a second head out of his left shoulder, or the Elder Wand. Dogs will not shoot lasers from their eyes. The sun will not be a showerhead that sprays grapefruit juice. Many things will not happen; we might as well list all of them, if the end of Bobby Jindal’s 2016 campaign is news.
Bobby Jindal’s shtick is that he is a wonkish, Ivy League- and Oxford-educated dweeb who will debase himself shamelessly with gun-fuckin’, evolution-denyin’, demon-exorcisin’ extremist cosplay for the sake of presenting as a face of conservatism in the Time of Barack Obama. It almost seemed like it’d work for about a minute there! Remember in 2008, when it became clear that the Democratic nominee would be a black man, and the GOP and its lay ministry scrambled to find a running mate who’d dilute John McCain’s crotchety-old-white-dude-ness? Rush Limbaugh himself floated Jindal’s name for the gig, and it made a kind of sense, in the moment: here was a young, fresh-faced, Indian-American governor—of blood-red Louisiana, no less—with an academic and governmental résumé that compared favorably to Obama’s. By the reckoning of horserace politics, where voters are understood to choose the candidate who best serves their own vanity and self-interest, the hideously cynical idea was that Jindal would check off more-or-less the same boxes as Obama, assuaging moderate-ish voters who felt weird about the thought of passing on the chance to congratulate themselves for voting a demographically diverse ticket into the White House—clearing them to lap up the supply-side horseshit and pro-war crimes policies they waffled at accepting from an ancient vampire.
Alas, the gig went to Sarah Palin on basically the same logic, and that moment of speculation turns out to have been the high-water mark for ol’ Bobby’s political ambitions. It wasn’t apparent immediately, of course: Just a year after Limbaugh mentioned Jindal as a possible running mate for McCain, the GOP ran him out to deliver its response to Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress. These post-presidential-address jobs are pretty plum assignments, or anyway they’re meant to be: their main purpose, after all, is to showcase the congressperson on whom the opposition party wants voters’ attention focused. You may recall it not working out so hot for poor Bobby Jindal.
That slimy fucker. That simpering, ingratiating clown. That absolute fanny-pack of a human being. Hi, I’m Bobby Jindal, and today I’d like to talk to you about stranger danger. It’s the introduction that launched a million Google searches for the definition of the word “unctuous.” He makes Big Bird look like John McClane.
Jindal’s presidential campaign met its formal end yesterday, but the formal timelines for these things are useless; the formal timeline says his presidential campaign began when he announced it in June, and that’s flamboyantly, obviously untrue. His presidential campaign began years ago, with the cynical choice to leverage himself as a walking, talking rime of plausible deniability to bonkers anti-intellectual culture-warrior horseshit, and it ended on that walk to the lectern six years ago, when his contempt for the retrograde morons to whom he’s made a career of pandering manifested itself in a patronizing simper a moderately precocious kindergartener would find insulting. They don’t want you to treat them like children, Bobby; they want you to treat them like australopithecines. Strap on a bandolier and tell ’em they gotta dick-slap these dang entitled hurricanes back to Africa. They go nuts for that shit.
Of course I don’t know, but I have a strong suspicion Bobby Jindal believes pretty much none of the shit he professes, including this new pose of having willingly turned aside his personal presidential ambitions in clear-eyed recognition of the will of the electorate. Bushy-tailed personal ambition was the reason to seek out the rightest collection of elite show-off schools in the first place; to seek and win leadership of Brown’s College Republicans along the way; to seek congressional internships instead of a real goddamn job after he was done with school; to bundle up all that education and early-career political do-gooding and use it to sell himself as The Guy In The Labcoat In A Miracle Fat-Burning Beer Funnel Infomercial. It was the reason to pinch his nose, flip his biology degree over, and write DURR INTELLIGENT DESIGN SHOULD BE TAUGHT AS A COMPETING THEORY TO EVOLUTION IN HIGH-SCHOOL SCIENCE CLASSES in red crayon on the back. It was the reason for this former rising star to go through the motions of a campaign this summer and fall, even though he had no constituency to represent or any vague hope of accomplishing anything. It was the reason to grimace and bear the humiliation of debate undercards against washed-up, dead-eyed vacuum salesmen like Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham.
It was the reason to hang on long after he’d burned away all his dignity, and it’s the reason he still thinks he has some to salvage by withdrawing now and biding his time for some future electoral cycle. It’s the reason to do anything. Cock your head and nod and simper and agree with the morons; the morons like it when Mr. Oxford does that. Who the hell even knows if he’s gotten better at disguising his contempt? The morons have candidates who don’t have to pretend, now, and nobody gives a fuck about Bobby Jindal anymore.
Video via YouTube; GIF by Jim Cooke