More on Jindal
Megan replies to my take:
Just to take an example that Ta-Nehisi uses, did Obama make some compromise on the Democratic Party's no-restrictions-on-abortion-at-any-time-no-shut-up-I-CAN'T-HEAR-YOU-LALALALALA platform? Because as far as I know, he's still toeing the party line there. And that's just about as extreme, as far from the average American's opinion on abortion, as Bobby Jindal's.
On the other side, I don't see anything wrong, or "EXTREMIST", about Bobby Jindal being a devout Catholic who wants to enter into a covenant marriage. He hasn't indicated any plans to stop Ta-Nehisi and I from living with our partners without benefit of the marital sacrament, or from getting married, should we choose, the good old-fashioned way, with its 50% divorce rate. I think the option for covenant marriage is a good thing for the government to provide, but then I'm a libertarian. I like people to have as many choices as possible, as long as those choices don't hurt others.
Besides that, I'm willing to bet that Ta-Nehisi has never seen Jindal in person. I have. And while "swarthy" may play a small role in the Obama comparisons, it's mostly along the lines of thinking that the Republican Party's first non-white candidate would help heal the party's image a bit. The reason that they're comparing Jindal to Obama is that, in person, he comes off a lot like Obama. He's extremely positive, he's personally charming, and he's kind of skinny and his ears stick out. Like Obama, Jindal is something of an odd duck; he looks like the president of the Paramus, New Jersey High School Chess Club, and talks like a good old boy with a plantation somewhere back in the Bayou. The combination is disconcerting for northern journalists, and a little bewitching.
She makes a few more good points in his post. She's also right that I've never seen Jindal in person. But I think it helps to revisit the original argument--that Bobby Jindal is the Republican Obama. Here is the top half of what I wrote:
The thing about Obama that people, apparently, still don't get is that thus far he has proved himself a damn good politician. He is not simply the eloquent black dude who won--although he's that too. He's the dude who reinvented campaign fundraising, who pioneered the use of social networking, who won Virginia and North Carolina, who ended 50 plus 1.
Obama's also the dude who's turned universal healthcare, massive public works projects, and an office of urban policy into the machinations of a centrist or a center-right Democrat. But most importantly Obama opposes dogma. He is a progressive pragmatist trying to tackle issues by creating the broadest coalition possible
I've been pretty clear about my objection to hazy appeals to precedent, not out of any love for Obama, but because I think it's weak thinking. I don't like calling Obama the next Lincoln, anymore than I like calling Jindal the next Obama. Jindal is the Republican Obama if you think that Obama is just a "fish out water," dark-skinned politician. But if you're like me, and you were thinking about politics, you'd think that a Republican Obama would have to beat the powerbrokers of his own party. He'd have to revolutionize campaign fund raising. You'd think he'd have to basically flip Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The point here isn't that Obama is a superior politician to Jindal--much of what I just listed is about where we are in history. But that's precisely the point. Whatever grounds the 2012 campaign will be fought on, they almost certainly won't be the same as 2008. Not only do I not think think Jindal is the next Obama--which isn't the same as saying he won't be the next president--I don't think Obama running a decade ago would have been Obama. People are unique, and the moment in time in which they compete is unique. I don't reject all analogies and comparisons. But "the next soandso..." just strikes me as sloppy. But hey, I remember when Harold Miner was the next Jordan. And all the young bucks go, "Harold who?"
UPDATE: Also this from Megan:
And I'm sure that complacent Democrats dismissing him as a goober with a God complex suits his current plans just fine.
Ah yes, "the underestimate me at your peril" defense. I can't shake the feeling that I've heard this before--and in very, very similar circumstances. But to the exact point., saying Jindal isn't the next Obama isn't anymore dismissive of Jindal, than it is dismissive of Obama to say he isn't the next Kennedy. My point isn't that Jindal is unworthy of competitive respect, if anything it's the opposite. Want to not be dismissive? Don't make him analogous to the latest smart, brown guy who's up at the moment.