Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jindal: "We certainly don't need outside agitators to cause problems." 

Earnest thanks to N. La. Lady who points us to a Shreveport Times opinion piece by Tannie Bradley. It confirms N. La. Lady's original report about Jindal using the loaded rhetoric of racism while he stumped in North Louisiana during the Jena 6 demonstrations.

[Race] is a part of the very fabric of American culture. Although it has no real biological basis, it has real meaning to us as individuals. No matter how it's negotiated, challenged, denied, or ignored, it's ever present in our lives.

On Sept. 20, the day people from throughout the nation gathered in Jena to march in protest of the unjust treatment of the Jena 6, gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal was in Shreveport speaking to students at LSUS. When asked about the impact of racial conflict in Louisiana, his response was déjà vu — unpleasantly reminiscent of the words and attitudes of southern politicians of not so long ago. When asked to comment on the demonstration in Jena, he said, "We don't need anybody to divide us. We certainly don't need outside agitators to cause problems." Accusing "outside agitators" of causing problems is a scapegoat and an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the unresolved issue of race and fair and equal treatment.

Initially, mominem was skeptical that Jindal would be stupid enough to use such phrasing. In a comment at this post, mominem stated:

I think if Jindal actually said it it would be devastating to his campaign and credibility. It would be national news. I also think he’s smarter than that.

Well, apparently, Jindal's not "smarter than that". Unfortunately, while I felt N. La. Lady's report was likely true, I was much more skeptical than mominem that it would be "devastating" to Jindal's campaign. I know for a fact that rival campaigns have been informed of Jindal's blunder. Yet, even though these campaigns have nothing to lose, they are apparently too scared to make an issue out of it. The other campaigns (except Georges) were too scared to attend the Jena 6 marches, and now they are too scared to call out Jindal for echoing the awful loaded phrases of past segregationists (and their latter day spiritual heirs).

Why is that?

On a side note, I enjoyed seeing Seymour D. Fair and mominem at Deutsches Haus last night, as the families celebrated Oktoberfest.

Zum Wohl! Ja wohl!

Apparently the police have decided that this year (of all years) is the time to crack down on neutral ground parking at the Deutsches Haus.

I guess, you know, it's all about priorities. In the murder capital of the U.S., it's now a priority for the police to suddenly ticket cars parked on the Galvez neutral ground outside the Deutsches Haus. And if, say, a Yuppie culture-killer in the Treme complains about a procession of mourning musicians, the police will proritize that complaint and twenty police cars will swarm in and officers will start grabbing at horns and seizing drumsticks from our culture-keepers.

But if there's an attempted rape on a 17-year old in the French Quarter, the perpetrator can stroll away without a care in the world, knowing the NOPD won't respond promptly to the 911 call. Why is that?

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16 comments DiggIt!


"We don't need anybody to divide us. We certainly don't need outside agitators to cause problems."

What's the matter? The local ignorant crackers hanging nooses from trees don't like outside competition?

By Anonymous Dr. Wu, at 11:02 AM  

I don't think "outside agitators" would be that stupid a thing to say. Even if it gave Jindal an awkward moment when he had to explain himself, it wouldn't hurt him among people who would already vote for him -- or among undecideds. Even if it increased anti-Jindal turnout among African-Americans, that could be offset by increased turnout among rural white voters.

Once again, I have to wonder if I'm the only New Orleans blogger who actually knows people who could vote either way, who were disgusted with Bush and Blanco, etc. and bothers to question them (I know, that sounds horribly superior). "Outside agitators" is this month's "this (or that) part of the world," it's only going to matter to people who already agree with you. It's not the kind of talking point that's going to affect the proverbial water cooler conversation.

Not that any of us should even attempt to stick to dispassionate talking points. I know I don't.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 11:11 AM  

I agree that "outside agitators" isn't going to sink Jindal. But it is revelatory of the sort of person Jindal is (A "Bad" person.. to keep with a long established theme) and it's worthwhile to continue pointing this out.

By Blogger jeffrey, at 11:18 AM  

You know what's ironic about Jindal's comments is that part of what cost him the last election was the fact that some Louisiana voters (presumably North Louisiana conservatives) couldn't just get past Jindal's own dark skin to vote for him. Remember Skinner and Klinkner's study? (If not, go here:

Seems that Jindal himself has an image problem among some conservative voters as one of those race-coded "outsider agitators" that he demagogues. Let him stoke the racial prejudices of some Louisiana "Bubba" voters at his own peril.

By Blogger Huck, at 11:57 AM  

I think the other candidates aren't making an issue out of it because it would hurt them with the redneck vote. They know they are getting the black votes, who else are black Louisianians going to vote for? The sophisticated white vote is going to Jindal. They are fighting over the redneck vote. The best way to get redneck voters to not vote Jindal is to just stand back and let him go around with dark skin on.

By Blogger dangerblond, at 2:01 PM  

Jindal's remark seems pretty tame. After all, the 6,000 or so out-of-state activists who descended on Jena were there for the specific purpose of agitating. Perhaps Jindal was appealing not to the racist attitudes of some Louisianians but instead to a general sense of disgust with high-minded outsiders who think we're nothing but a racist backwater of America. Let's not excuse the mistakes in the prosecution of the Jena case, but let's not jump to loosely drawn conclusions based on two words.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 PM  

those two words have a very specific history with the 60's civil rights opposition. he chose them carefully. he is a worthless bastard.

By Anonymous mark c., at 3:23 PM  

Apparently Jindal is not the only contemporary politician to get in trouble with the phrase, according to an article posted on this apparently right-leaning web site*:

*Not an endorsement of right-leaning web sites

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 PM  

Well Jindal lost my vote, something he hadn't done before in spite of all sorts of histrionic hand waving by my blogger friends. Jindal's obviously not as smart as I thought.

I'm pretty sure that the loss of my vote will sink his campaign.

Why Georges doesn't jump on it is a mystery to me. At this point any ABJ campaign would be advisable.

And as I have explained the recent Galvez situation is in fact an equalizer for the Oom-pah activist community.

By Blogger mominem, at 10:53 PM  

In a recomment.

I seem to recall that Jindal was at 53% and he was polling at about 18% among African Americans. Since African Americans (blacks) represent about 30% of Louisiana voters. African American voters represent more than the balance of his majority or about 5% of all voters. (53%-(30%*18%)=runoff)

I'm not an expert but if something could turn African American voters off Jindal then he will be in a run off.

By Blogger mominem, at 11:02 PM  

"if something could turn African American voters off Jindal then he will be in a run off."

Precisely. Boasso and Georges basic plan is to somehow get into a runoff and hope a miracle happens. Yet, they don't seem to want to capitalize on this (rare and revealing) Jindal blunder.

By Blogger oyster, at 12:01 AM  

Hot damn! Da smoking gun! Problem is, as someone else commented, this won't be picked up by the other candidates and run with due to the amount of complacent conservatives in this state. They really can't be alienated, especially now that New Orleans isn't the political juggernaut it once was. If the Edwards-Duke race were being held NOW, I'm sure Duke would probably have more votes, sad to say.

Free Edwards! 8-S

By Blogger Leigh C., at 12:41 AM  

I think if Boasso were in a run off he might win by tapping a combination of Blanco's coalition and his story.

Georges is pretty much hopeless.

Unfortunately the dwarfs seem more concerned with being in second place than with stopping Jindal. They each seem more willing to let Jindal win than for them to come in third.

By Blogger mominem, at 12:41 AM  

"....we're nothing but a racist backwater of America."

Well....certainly not the ONLY "racist backwater" in America. But of course, mark c. is spot on with his comment--PBJ very specifically chose those "code words" to use in a blatant attempt to assure the racist wing of the Louisiana Republican-and-Republican-voting electorate (the part that left the Democratic Party over it's embrace of the Civil Rights movement) that he "thinks like them" in spite of his college degree and dark skin. Roughly the equivalent of Ronald Reagan kicking off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS, with a speech about "state's rights". As the late Lee Atwater pointed out, you can't use the language of the overt segregationalist anymore without it hurting you, so you have to make yourself understood through the use of code words.

I'm pretty amazed that a man who's built his entire candidacy around "leaving behind all of the failed ideas of the past" would choose to openly use one of the segregationalist mantras from the 60's to try to garner votes...but then again, I was aurprised and turned off during the last gubernatorial election when a candidate I thought was a colorless, emotionless albeit intelligent bureaucrat began to (what I thought then) shamelessly pander to the religious right. Now, I realize that the uber-religious aspect is what PBJ's all about (creationism, anyone?). I also wonder if "outside agitators" is simply disgusting pandering to racists, or if we'll find out that he's "all about" that, too.

By Anonymous Puddinhead, at 11:26 AM  

"Why is that?"

The reason seems pretty obvious. It's because 60% of white voters in Louisiana wanted David Duke to be Governor. Now if you want to argue that he only did that well because he was running against a crooked Edwards, he also received 55% of the white vote in Louisiana when he ran for United States Senate.

David Duke.
The Klan Wizard.
With the funny hat.
White people wanted him to be Governor or US Senator.

So you can see why Jindal, a dark skinned Indian guy, might try to overcompensate in order to pander to the racist white vote. Ridiculous you say? Sure. But the only thing that disgusts racist whitey more than a "N*gger" is a "N*ggerlover." And then it makes sense why some of the candidates stayed away from Jena.

We can blame our political candidates for lacking courage, but let's not blame them for our own racism.

Like the stickers in Metairie say, "White people wake up!"

By Blogger Southern Leftist, at 10:28 AM  

"The sophisticated white vote" is most certainly not going to Jindal. The sophisticated of any race know that he has promised to ban ANY form of abortion, even in the case of rape or when the mother's life is in danger. The sophisticated know that he has voted against environmental protection 11 out of 12 times.

I consider myself to be fairly sophisticated, and there's no way in hell I'd vote for him.

By Anonymous Mr. Gunn, at 8:18 PM