The Plank

What About Bobby?

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To follow up on Suzy's item, I wanted to note that, while there are plenty of 2012 GOP presidential aspirants who have reason to be unhappy with the McCain campaign's decisions over the last couple months (and, in particular, the Palin choice), a case could be made that no one's nearish-term prospects have been hurt more than Bobby Jindal's.

Though rarely explicit (and certainly not exclusive) a large portion of the GOP's closing argument this cycle has been to stoke white, working class fear and suspicion of the Other. The dark-skinned man with the foreign-sounding name may be a Muslim, or a socialist, or a friend of terrorists, or a racial huckster, or a fake U.S. citizen, or some other vague kind of "radical." You may never be sure which he is (maybe all of the above), but in your gut you simply don't "know" him the way you know the other candidates. This is not, to put it mildly, a message likely to benefit Bobby Jindal.

Now, yes, four years is a longer time in politics than it used to be. But I still don't see these toxins leaching out that quickly, particularly from a GOP that will, in all likelihood, continue trying to raise subliminal doubts about Obama's Americanness. Add to this the blunt fact that the GOP probably can't afford to lose racist white voters, especially in the South (you think a Jindal - Obama race wouldn't invite a conservative, white, third-party candidacy?), and I think Jindal's chance of being the nominee in 2012 is, despite his obvious talents, pretty close to nil. The GOP isn't going to be looking for its own Obama; it's going to be looking for an anti-Obama.

--Christopher Orr

RELATED: Click here for Orr's follow-up post

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