Source: Right Wing Watch, via AlterNet
Author: Brian Tashman
It is almost sad to watch Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, struggling at 0 percent in presidential polls, embrace the “dumbed-down conservatism” and “stupid party” mantras that he once vociferously denounced. Jindal, who today made his presidential bid official today, has by now emerged as a “stupid party” standard-bearer:
As we’ve reported, “Jindal has led an aggressive push in his home state for the privatization of public education and the taxpayer funding of religious schools, even directing taxpayer dollars to schools espousing Creationism, which he said would let kids ‘be exposed to the best facts.’”
Thanks to Jindal’s policies, taxpayer money is now going towards Creationist schools which teach that humans and dinosaurs lived side-by-side, citing dragons and the Loch Ness monster as proof. At the same time, Jindal has cut the state university system’s budget to the bone and advocated for even deeper cuts.
Jindal’s support for Creationism in schools has brought international notoriety to the state, as over 70 Nobel Laureates signed a letter reminding the governor that “scientific education should accurately portray the premises and processes of science. Teaching religious ideas mislabeled as science is detrimental to scientific education: It sets up a false conflict between science and religion, misleads our youth about the nature of scientific inquiry, and thereby compromises our ability to respond to the problems of an increasingly technological world.”
While Jindal made Louisiana a laughingstock with his stand for Creationism, he brought the state further disrepute when he traveled abroad to claim that Sharia law “no-go zones” are springing up around Europe and will soon come to the United States. Seemingly relying on debunked talking points from Fox News and anti-Muslim activists, Jindal didn’t know how to react when a reporter in London asked if he could name a single Sharia law “no-go zone” in the British capital. He responded that he did not actually know where they exist.
Jindal has been so committed to the Religious Right’s attack on gay rights that when state lawmakers backed away from legislation that would have potentially enshrined discrimination into law, Jindal signed an executive order based on the controversial bill. The governor believes that gay rights opponents are the “real victims of discrimination” in American society, pointing to A&E’s temporary suspension of the show Duck Dynasty after one of the cast members made racist and homophobic statements in a magazine interview as a sign that First Amendment freedoms are under “assault” as part of a “war on religious liberty.”
Religious freedom laws which don’t include protections for anti-LGBT businesses, Jindal warned, are “dangerous” and represent “an attack on our Constitution.”
A closeally of anti-gay extremist Tony Perkins, Jindal has also courted radical figures such as David Lane, who organized Jindal’s “Response” prayer rally. Prayer rally organizers distributed materials blaming gays for Hurricane Katrina and the whole thing was paid for by the American Family Association , one of the most virulently anti-LGBT groups in the country.
Caving To Anti-Tax Extremists
When it came to choosing between solving Louisiana’s self-inflicted budget crisis or catering to a D.C. lobbyist, Jindal chose the latter, leading to a rebellion even among his fellow Republicans. Jindal wants to keep his no-tax bona fides in place for the presidential campaign, and as a result has to please anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whom some in Louisiana have called “Governor Norquist” since Jindal will apparently only approve budget plans that have his blessing.
Instead of raising taxes outright to stave off a budget shortfall, the governor worked with Norquist on an opaque and complicated revenue scheme known as the SAVE Act which one lawmaker called the “DUMB Act.” With actions like these, it is no wonder that not even a third of Louisiana voters give Jindal a positive job approval rating.
Common Core Reversal
Once such a strong public supporter of Common Core that his endorsement of the education standards was featured in a pro-Common-Core ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jindal read the polls about GOP resistance to Common Core — and the many conspiracy theories surrounding it — and has since emerged as one of its most vociferous critics.
Of course, Jindal’s attacks on Common Core defied reality, as he claims that it is a federal government takeover of education policy, even though it is and always has been a state-led initiative. “Look at the math, it makes absolutely no sense to a lot of our kids, including my own children,” he said.
He has even gone so far to file a lawsuit to block the implementation of Common Core, an effort rejected in court.