Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm not making this up


I saw Bobby Jindal talk last week at the National Press Club. He's being widely touted as McCain's potential running mate, though I agree with Ross that this would be a mistake--for Jindal. No one should run for office this year as a Republican who doesn't have to.

Mostly I was incredibly impressed. He looks like the president of the high school chess club, so it's something of a shock to my elitist coastal ears to hear a rich good-old-boy southern accent issuing from him. But he's a hell of a talker, and most of what he says actually makes sense.
Yes, Megan, it's genuinely shocking that you'd find anything in common with a rich southern good ole boy. I'm having trouble catching my breath.
One interesting thing I learned is just how far Jindal has come in fighting Louisiana's institutional problems. Bush detractors get mad when I say this, but it really is true that the total ineptitude of the state and local governments was a major reason that things went so tragically wrong during Katrina. FEMA is a small agency with a few thousand employees; it is a funding mechanism for recovery efforts, not some sort of Super EMT Squad. FEMA does well in states that have competent and responsive government agencies, and not so well in places that don't. (The staggering incompetence of rebuilding efforts is another rant--but also, a symptom of broader government problems rather than necessarily something specific to FEMA. But then as I say, that's another rant.)
... holyfuckingshit. Now I really am shocked. Nothing prepares you for Megan's ability to take a bad moment and make it worse in a later post. If she goes on to blame black NO residents for not leaving I'm... not even going to be especially surprised, at this point. I have no idea how to begin to disprove that claim, in no small part because Megan phrased it in such nonspecific terms that when called on it she will inevitably do one of her patented Gob Bluth grade magic tricks to reverse her opinion 180 degrees without acknowledging the original claim. She reminds me of a developmentally disabled kid I went to elementary school with, at these moments.
Katrina seems to have created a similar situation. With the old power networks disrupted, there was an opportunity to actually build institutions that functioned better than the old sclerotic ones. Louisiana seems to have been very lucky in getting a governor who is actually focusing on institution-building which will--if it works--give the state vastly more economic and political flexibility for years to come.
Not mentioning race in this passage is..... probably not intentional, but still revealing. No one should defend Louisiana's notoriously corrupt political history, but the conflation of that history with the Repub's attempts to basically redistrict a rare southern Democratic state is repugnant. Megan is making Steve Sailer happy again.
Of course, I'm just in that first flush of puppy love, when a journalist meets a handsome young politician who just might be The One. Soon enough, I'll undoubtedly find things about him to hate. But frankly, it's rare enough to meet one I like. True love may have to wait.
Fucking wonderful. So we're going to hear a lot about how this rich white southern good ole boy with deep roots in LA politics is different from... himself, because Megan thinks he talks purty. Plus it gives her a chance to divert blame for the horrors of Katrina from the Federal gubbermint, a curious move that cannot possibly have a connection to Megan's own vote a scant... what, 8 months prior, and a need for psychic protection from having therefore endorsed the policies that helped make a disaster into a tragedy. I'm fucking thrilled.


M. reminds me in the comments that Jindal is not a rich white good ole boy, but South Asian. I even knew this, I have no excuse. A'duh. Although, if, as Megan implies, he has something of that mindset his heritage doesn't really matter. Except in getting descriptions of him right, of course.


M. Bouffant said...

I'd bet that the presidents of high school chess clubs in the South (assuming they have such things in the South) speak in a good ol' boy accent. Or is "high school chess club president" short hand for something else?

M. Bouffant said...

Oh, brad, after re-reading your last or so paragraph, I guess you don't know that Gov. Jindal is of the South Asian Indian persuasion, not a "white Southern good ol' boy." Which is what I meant by "short hand for something else."

brad said...

Ooops. Megan called him one. I knew that, but forgot it. My bad.

spencer said...

They do have chess clubs in the South, Malignant, though in my experience the presidents of said clubs are often - but not always - northern transplants.

Standard Megan-inspired disclaimer: that's my experience and my experience only. Not meant to be universally applied.