The Eddie Haskell Factor Revisited

This post started off as another trip in the Adrastos Wayback Machine to February 8, 2007. That’s when I published one of my favorite Bobby Jindal posts; comparing him to a teevee character both of whom are psalm singing sons of bitches like Diaper Dave. We’ll get there eventually, but Gov PBJ remains the Eddie Haskell of politics: a smarmy creep who kisses up and kicks down.

PBJ is back in the news with his latest pander to religious bigots and the far right of his party. A Louisiana house committee killed the so-called  religious freedom act, which spurred the Governor into spurious action:

Just hours after a Louisiana House panel overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to effectively kill one of his priority pieces of legislation, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order that he said would continue to give life to the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act’s intent.

 House Bill 707 had sought to carve out protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage. The executive order is much narrower in scope, Jindal admitted, and some opponents of the measure have questioned whether the order will have much impact. But after the House Civil Law Committee’s 10-2 vote Tuesday to end the measure’s chances this session through a procedural move, Jindal argued that his possibly temporary order was the “next best thing.”

“It applies to all of the executive branch of state government,” Jindal told reporters minutes after issuing the order. “It will offer good protections for the people of Louisiana.”

Y’all have heard of a fig leaf, right? This is one. Despite all the outrage this action has inspired in the easily outraged sectors of social media, this order is of limited scope and will lapse when PBJ leaves office in 2016 unless his successor gives it CPR.

This is what happens when a Governor has a 32% approval rating, they lose key votes. I’m not sure who’s more delusional, Jindal or Chris Christie. At least Christie is a talented stump performer whereas Jindal has all the charisma of a Jello salad.  PBJ keeps serving himself up at church suppers in Iowa but it’s not working. When you’re that unpopular back home, it’s hard for voters to take your candidacy seriously.

This latest Jindal Fail is not a random pander. It’s a part of his strategy to position himself as the wingnuttiest wingnut of all. I will be shocked if it works. It’s crowded on the GOP right and there are other candidates with pizzazz and performance skills such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, “you ain’t going nowhere,” Bobby.

Back to the Wayback Machine. The Eddie Haskell Factor has always been one of my favorite posts. It combines  political snark, obscure pop culture references and personal experience. One thing is lacks are the commas that were in the post when published in 2007 months before PBJ was elected Governor of Louisiana. I still have no idea how that happened but I don’t feel like putting them back in. Deal with it, y’all:

Thu, 08 Feb 2007: The Eddie Haskell Factor.

I grew up in an assimilationist immigrant family. My paternal grandfather came to the US because he was from a tiny village in the mountains of Southern Greece. His family had more goats than prospects so he left. He made it big in America and my late father never tired of telling me stories about his plucky hustler of a father. In short I should find the saga of Piyush (Bobby) Jindal to be inspiring. I don’t. PBJ is the classic immigrant striver. They used to call his kind of chap an Eager Beaver. Harold Lloyd played one in his classic silent film comedies. A working class boy struggling to reach the top. Climb Harold climb.

The fictional eager beaver who Bobby Jindal most resembles is Eddie Haskell of the elderly but endlessly rerun sitcom Leave It To Beaver. Eddie was a smart ass bully when dealing with those weaker and younger than him but he was a smarmy ass kisser around the grown-ups. He was forever telling June Cleaver how lovely she looked in her poodle skirt and apron. Jindal strikes me as a classic know it all Eddie Haskell kiss up and kick down kind of guy.

The Eddie Haskell factor as much as his ethnicity cost Jindal the 2003 Governor’s race. He came off as a smirking smart alec who was always eager to tell you how smart and accomplished he was. In contrast Meemaw was maternal and patient. Her pleasant personality trumped his ability to speak in complete sentences. PBJ also made some rather astonishing claims about how he turned the state health care system around. If that’s the case why did it suffer an immediate relapse after he skedaddled off to his next job?

Jindal is a classic job hopper. He’s always got his resume updated and is eager to move on. That’s been his pattern. He’s only been in the House for a few years and he’s ready to change jobs already. Does he have the stick-to-itiveness that being Governor post-K requires? His track record indicates otherwise. Will he run against Mary Landrieu in 2008? Or does he want to be the first Indian-American (dots not feathers as my friend Maitri once said) to be on a national ticket? Is he willing to commit to serving a full 4 year term as Governor? Of course he could do so and cross his fingers behind his back. That’s what Eddie Haskell would do. Right Sam? Heh heh heh…

Past generations of Louisiana pols considered the Governorship to be the cat’s ass. I knew Congressman Gillis Long quite well. He was one of the most powerful members of the House in the Seventies and Eighties but he considered making a third run for the Governorship in 1979. Why? It was the ultimate job for a Louisiana politician. He decided not to run. His publicly stated reason was poor health and that *was* one of the reasons. But he told me that the primary reason was that he couldn’t stand the thought of asking the same people for money again. I somehow doubt that such a thought would cross Hustler PBJ’s mind. He’s always looking for the main chance. Just like Eddie Haskell.

The thing that strikes me about Bobby Jindal is that his political philosophy is the product of coming of age in ultra Conservative Baton Rouge. He was able as a young man to latch onto Big DaddyMike Foster and ride his coattails into high appointed office. If Jindal had grown up in Massachusetts he’d be a liberal Democrat. It’s all about the hustle for Jindal. Being a Conservative Repub was his way to rise in the Gret Stet and Jindal always keeps his eye on the prize. But this is essentially a nation of hustlers so it may well be Jindal’s time. Climb Bobby climb.

It will be very interesting to see if Jindal can hold the huge lead he has currently. I’m not sure if voter’s remorse will trump the Eddie Haskell Factor but it will be fun to watch. Louisiana politics are more fun than either a barrel of monkeys or a ferret down your trousers. Btw Editor B thinks the latter is quite amusing. Consider the source:  he’s a man who recommends menudo and pickled herring as hangover cures…


One thought on “The Eddie Haskell Factor Revisited

  1. Calling him Eddie Haskell might be giving PBJ too much credit. Haskell could at least aspire to smarmy,sickly-sweet slickness, Bobby is lurching, creepy sanctimony. In a way, kind of like Diaper Dave (as you note in the post below). Maybe that’s why they hate each other so much. They’re opposite sides of the same (worthless) coin.

    And I guess their appeal, if you can call it that (well, they both did win election and re-election), is there’s no shortage of lurching, creepy, sanctimonious shitbirds who like nothing better than rendering harsh judgment on others. Beats having to look in the mirror, I suppose.

Comments are closed.