Why would Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spend several days repeating discredited nonsense last week? Because it’s apparently working for him. Byron York reported over the weekend:
You know what Bobby Jindal said about Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe, a statement that resulted in Jindal being criticized and mocked by mainstream commentators? It turns out many social conservatives in Iowa really liked it…. [Jindal] not only did not suffer from his remarks but instead benefited from them.
This is, alas, how the game is played in the Republican presidential nominating contest – say things that aren’t true in order to impress activists who don’t know better. It creates an unfortunate set of incentives in which cynical would-be presidents are encouraged to make stuff up, confident that electoral rewards will follow.
But for the GOP governor, the question is not how to deal with the fallout of getting caught making ridiculous allegations, but rather, what Jindal can do for an encore. Over the weekend, the dynamic led the governor to turn his attention to marriage equality.
The broader context is worth appreciating, because as recently as Tuesday, President Obama noted in his State of the Union address last week, “I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country.”
Jindal must have missed this. Yesterday, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos what his reaction would be to a court ruling supporting marriage equality:
“Well, look, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. My faith teaches me that, my Christian faith teaches me that. I’m not for discrimination against anybody. I know that many politicians are evolving, so-called evolving on this issue based on the polls. I don’t change my views based on the polls.“I am proud that in Louisiana, we define marriage as between a man and a woman. If the Supreme Court were to throw out our law, our constitutional amendment – I hope they wouldn’t do that – if they were to do that, I certainly will support Ted Cruz and others that are talking about making an amendment in the congress and D.C., a constitutional amendment to allow states to continue to define marriage. I think it should be between a man and a woman.”
This is quite a posture. Most Americans support marriage equality; most American states already have marriage equality. But Jindal, taking a page from George W. Bush’s platform from over a decade ago, still likes the idea of turning back the clock, enshrining discrimination in constitutional stone.
As part of the same interview, Stephanopoulos asked Jindal how he intends to stand out in such a crowded Republican presidential field. The far-right Louisianan returned to his “no-go zones” garbage,
“I’ll give you an example, earlier this week I gave a speech in London where I talked about the threats of radical Islamic terrorism,” Jindal said. “I know it made a lot of people upset, but we need leaders to tell us the truth.”
And by “truth,” the governor apparently meant “the exact opposite of the truth.”