Bobby Jindal – A victim of the populist anti-intellectualism of modern conservatism

Aside from Jindal’s weird religiosity and a few other unhappy ideological leanings, he is, at least, a very bright and thoughtful fellow who clearly didn’t share the movement disdain for higher education and the life of the mind.  But is there any chance at all that the present makeup of this movement would have permitted him to speak or behave in such a manner?  And it’s hard to muster up much sympathy when the fellow contributes to his own victimization with such an easy facility. 

What such G.O.P. “stars” as Sanford and Jindal have in common, besides their callous neo-Hoover ideology, are their phony efforts to portray themselves as populist heroes. Their role model is W., that brush-clearing “rancher” by way of Andover, Yale and Harvard. Listening to Jindal talk Tuesday night about his immigrant father’s inability to pay for an obstetrician, you’d never guess that at the time his father was an engineer and his mother an L.S.U. doctoral candidate in nuclear physics. Sanford’s first political ad in 2002 told of how growing up on his “family’s farm” taught him “about hard work and responsibility.” That “farm,” the Charlotte Observer reported, was a historic plantation appraised at $1.5 million in the early 1980s. From that hardscrabble background, he struggled on to an internship at Goldman Sachs.   Frank Rich


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