Jindal Rebels Against His Book Learnin’

It’s been a long way down for the pol who made a big splash shortly after the 2012 elections by suggesting the GOP was in danger of becoming “the stupid party.” Now, per an interview he granted to Politico‘s James Hohmann, Bobby Jindal is courting a very different image, and he’s probably happy that the word “anti-intellectual” is clinging to him, from sources as diverse as The Weekly Standard and his home-town newspaper in Baton Rouge.

In what may have been a shot at fellow Indian-American conservative Ramesh Ponnuru, who dared to disagree with Jindal on health care policy, the Louisiana governor made it clear to Hohmann that he didn’t want to be lumped in with the GOP’s “smart guys:”

“Too many conservatives come to this town, and they want to be liked by The New York Times. It’s pretty easy to be a ‘smart’ conservative…All you have to do is criticize your own party… All of a sudden you’re a genius. They say, ‘He must be a really smart guy. We need to book him on our shows. We need to write good editorials about him.’ It’s not hard to do that.”

So to make sure nobody confuses him with one a them “smart conservatives,” Bobby’s been going out of his way to identify himself with Islamophobes, homophobes and science deniers, and setting himself up to act as an ideological commissar (forgive the use of the big words!) protecting the “base” from what George Wallace used to call the “pseudo-intellectuals” eager to betray them into the hands of The Enemy. I mean, really, think about Jindal’s resume and then read this:

“There’s a big movement within our party … that they think that we’re the great unwashed,” he added. “They want to clean us up and put us in a box and try to get us to stop being so rude and outspoken and harsh. And they say, ‘Look, why can’t we just all come together and compromise?”

Bobby’s not going to be constrained by his unpopularity in Louisiana, or the once mild, now annoyed criticism of other Republicans, or indeed, his own book learnin’, from positioning himself where he’d decided he needs to be in 2016. The ranks of those who will enjoy his very likely demise as a candidate are growing every day.

I know I’ve posted this Weird Al video before, but it really bids fair to become Bobby Jindal’s campaign theme song:

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.