Even for his detractors, those who — like me, for example — are frothing-at-the-mouth, psychopathic knee-jerk negative reactionaries to whatever a Republican might opine now, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s performance and neocon pro forma message last Tuesday were simply too overwhelmingly target-rich to pass up. As I watched, vague recollections of Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor kept ricocheting with comparisons.
(Per the research, Bobby, whose given first name is actually Piyush, took the name he now goes by from inspiration he’d garnered from Bobby Brady of Brady Bunch fame. If I had had to make the same sort of choice, my name would now be Flash; you know: of Flash Gordon.)
Bobby Jindal as a serious alternative to President Obama in 2012? Check, that one’s off the list. Or so I thought.
In the days since, as I’ve come to reflect rather more thoughtfully, thoughts of Ronald Bedtime for Bonzo Reagan return; kind of the way I just can’t quell the anxiety that just maybe there really was a Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter, and he’s still out there — somewhere. I know, both were cartoon characters. But that Lecter fellow, he was a “doctor,” and so much more intelligent than that other cartoon, and yet, somehow, no matter: the Republicans managed to . . . See what I’m talking about?
Last Tuesday, Governor Jindal, tried to reference his humble beginnings on the back of his immigrant father’s inability to scrape together enough to pay for an obstetrician. (Why, when I took in that reference, did my mind keep flitting to Slumdog Millionaire, the movie that only two evenings prior had received the Oscar Award as “Best Movie of the Year”?) But here are the facts, those I want EVERYONE to remember: When his father Amar was so desperate, so supposedly financially bereft, the fellow was an engineer, and Jindal’s mother Raj was nuclear physics PhD candidate.
When I bring those facts alongside the proffered image, somehow I just can’t quite align them with the images I saw of Mumbai in the movie. (By the way, if you haven’t yet availed yourself of the opportunity to see Slumdog Millionaire, do. It’s worth several times more than the price of admission.)
My sources have told me the only other names the GOP higher-ups gave much thought to were Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Pawlenty was dismissed because his speaking skills generate less enthusiasm than a drone; the aircraft or the sound.
That left Sanford. In 2002, he ran political spots wherein he claimed that his early life on the “family farm” instilled in him an ethos of “hard work and responsibility.” As to that “family farm,” it was a Southern plantation that in 1980 had been appraised at one point two MILLION DOLLARS!
God . . . the picture of it: Rivers of sweat running from his bent back, staining a threadbare wool shirt, as the endless rows of hardscrabble tenaciously fight his every effort to till, behind a struggling mule.
Hmm. 1980 dollars. One point two mil. South Carolina. Gotta tell ya: South Carolina real estate just ain’t the same as Palo Alto, CA real estate. Ain’t now, sure wasn’t then. That must have been some doozy of a “farm.” And from there, all the way to Goldman Sachs: That must have been some by-his-own-bootstraps climb.
But why must these facts-baby-facts be put in a secure corner of our minds, for safe keeping?
Think Reagan. It’s oh so possible we’ll see either Jindal, or Sanford, or both again, sans the facts of course.
— Ed Tubbs