Jindal Goes Feral

Putative 2016 Republican presidential candidates were thick on the ground in Iowa this weekend, as the State Fair began just outside Des Moines and the annual FAMiLy Leadership Summit (a famously intense and arguably quite important Christian Right gathering) unfolded in Ames. I’ll have more about the Summit later, but what caught my attention on Saturday was this tweet from Dave Weigel, who attended a Bobby Jindal speech in Knoxville, Iowa:

Now I wasn’t there, and in his Slate piece on the speech Weigel says the Kerry line went over well (Bobby being so well-positioned to challenge a decorated war hero’s virility, of course), but this sort of thing strikes me as reflecting Jindal’s inveterate habit of trying to overcome his wonky reputation by being the most feral right-wing pol of them all, out-Cruzing Cruz. It’s hard to image him pulling this off with any consistency, and without the Folks eventually understanding that he’s talking down to them, providing a Rhodes Scholar’s impression of a knuckle-dragging demagogue. So this was my reaction (in a Tweet that somehow vanished): “Bobby’s act is sort of like someone performing Metallica on a kazoo.”

We’ll see if it works over time.

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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.