Bobby’s Big Day

So Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal popped up twice on the political news aggregators today: first because of a puffy McKay Coppins Buzzfeed column about how his BFF relationship with Rick Perry has positioned him excellently for a 2016 presidential run, and the second when a state judge in Baton Rouge declared his school voucher program unconstitutional.

Coppins’ account makes some sense: Jindal’s yeoman services for Perry’s doomed presidential bid earned him some face-time in Iowa; good will with Perry’s well-heeled donors (who probably appreciated the former Rhodes Scholar all the more after watching their money go down the drain when Perry went all glassy-eyed and moss-tongued in the debates); and some additional street cred with national conservative folk who initially greeted Perry as their political Savior. His speeches also blurred memories of his semi-disastrous 2009 SOTU rebuttal.

While the state court decision is ostensibly a setback for Jindal (and a reflection of how poorly and hastily his voucher program–which channeled public school funds to some private schools that seemed to exist purely and simply to serve as conservative evangelical madrassas–was put together, the extended appeal process will also gain him invaluable publicity nationally as a champion of educational “choice” and an enemy of the evil secularist teachers’ unions. This is political legal tender in places like Iowa, where the Christian Right remains strong and hostility to public schools is a watchword among conservative “base” voters and activists.

All in all, it’s a good day politically for Bobby Jindal. If he could only exorcise his “exorcism problem,” he’d rank already as a top-tier candidate for 2016.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.