Will Bobby Jindal follow the model of John McCain kissing the rear of the wingnut base? Looks like it.

JINDAL…. Time‘s Joe Klein caught Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on “Meet the Press” this morning, and wasn’t impressed.

…In other words, Jindal — the alleged voice of the GOP future — had absolutely nothing new to say. And what he did say, about the stimulus, was purposefully misleading. I’m not sure how well the Obama stimulus, banking and budget plans will work. No one does. But I do know how the philosophy and the misleading politics that Jindal offered today has worked in the recent past.

It’s been a disaster.

 This seems to happen a lot. A “rising star” in Republican politics decides he or she should be on the national stage; drops any pretense of intellectual seriousness; and trades the respect of credible observers for the adoration of the Republican base.

In this case, Klein has always found Jindal to be “very smart,” “quite creative,” and “always intellectually honest.” Then Klein saw the new, more hackish Jindal, and is left wondering where that credible guy went. In Klein’s case, respect has turned to scorn.

We saw this same pattern with John McCain, who also quickly made a similar transition in preparation for 2008, and even George W. Bush in 2000, who had plenty of admirers in the political establishment, and had a reputation for moderation and pragmatism as a governor.

The difference seems to be that Jindal is trading his reputation for seriousness and intellectual honesty much sooner than seems necessary.  Steve Benen

It really does appear, if things continue roughly as they are now, that it will take another election loss or perhaps even two more losses for this party to again become a rational and constructive part of the national discourse.  We’ve witnessed two or three decades of moderate Republicans’ alarm at the growing power of extremist elements in the party and two or three decades of those alarms doing no good at all.

Update:  Brad DeLong and Think Progress weigh in on Jindal and the modern Republican Party:

Republicans: Worse than You can Imagine (Bobby Jindal Edition)

Louisiana governor Jindal shows that he cares less than nothing about the unemployed of Louisiana.

Ryan Powers of Think Progress:

Think Progress: Jindal Rejects $90 Million In Recovery Funding That Would Have Benefited 25,000 Louisiana Residents: [T]he Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act… funding to states that allowed for a $25 per week increase in benefits…. EUC program which gives 20 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals “who had already collected all regular state benefits”… widened the pool of people eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Today, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to oppose changing state law to allow his Lousiana citizens to qualify for the second two unemployment provisions… turned away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents… on Febuary 13, EUC extension alone would have benefited 24,981 Louisiana residents. Jindal… claimi[s]… expanding unemployment benefits would result in tax increases for businesses…. But… by Jindal’s own estimate, the recovery package would have funded his state’s unemployment expansion for three years, at which point the state could — if it chose to do so — phase out the program…

Jindal believes that this grandstanding–at the expense of the interests of the people who elected him–will raise his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. I urge all Republicans to reflect that political loyalty ought to run both ways: a politician–like Jindal–who has no loyalty to his supporters who voted for him is not a politician whom any voter has any business supporting.

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