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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

"For Republicans, Jindal produces the right results."

Indeed, Jindal claims to have exorcised the devil. How's that for a Republican right result?

His chances are looking good?

Absurd.

R.H. Weber

Geneva, Switzerland

Jul 4 2008 - 10:54am

Web Letter

Jindal's ascension to the heights of national politics speaks more to the utter disarray of the Republican Party and its lack of competent and qualified candidates than it does of Jindal himself. Jindal presents the face of a competent, if extremely conservative, brand of Republican, something the nation hasn't seen in the last eight years of disastrous governance on the part of all three branches of Republican-dominated government.

However, he does share another yet unspoken similarity with Obama--his desperate need to please "mainstream" American society sometimes to the detriment of his own identity. This has been demonstrated in Obama's recent tilt to the right, his distancing from his pastor and church and remonstrations against problems in the African- American community based on mainstream stereotypes that no white politician would dare repeat. Jindal has gone so far as to reject his cultural heritage in favor of conservative Christianity. In both cases, the candidates present an acceptable face to a racially polarized society, without once challenging it to actually deal with substantive issues.

Louisiana's desperation for a leader of any kind is unfortunate, but the wholesale capitulation to the hard right agenda shows how politics have been emptied of all meaning and reduced to personal charisma alone. Meanwhile, the same forces entrench themselves further, strengthening their death grip on the American body politic. Indeed, America's brand has become so tarnished that it may take such individuals of non-elite backgrounds to save the country's establishment.

Rajiv Rawat

Yellowknife, Canada

Jul 4 2008 - 1:53am