FLASHBACK: Bobby Jindal's Exorcism Problem
In an op-ed for Politico on Wednesday, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist called on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to select Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as his running mate. That came just a week after former Bush speechwriter David Frum penned a piece for CNN entitled "Bobby Jindal for Vice President." Scott Conroy captured the emeging zeitgeist with a profile of Jindal for Real Clear Politics in which he reported that, after "private conversations with people close to both Romney and Jindal," there were plenty of reasons to believe" that Jindal could be our next vice president. Phil Klein at the Washington Examiner says Jindal is "hands down" the best to be Romney's running mate. Jindal Fever: catch it!
Criticism of Jindal—aside from his dodgy health care privatization scheme, support for an Arizona-style immigration law, and fierce opposition to reproductive rights—tends to center on an awkward State of Union repsonse he delivered three years ago. This is dumb because most people didn't watch it, and anyway, there's basically no dignified way to rebut a State of the Union. (For one thing, unlike the President's speech, there's no one there to applaud.)
A much bigger reason why Jindal won't be Romney's running mate is the exorcism he conducted.
No, really. Jindal himself wrote about the experience in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, in an article entitled "Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare." The short of it is that, while Jindal was an undergraduate, his close friend, Susan, with whom he had maintained a wholly non-romantic relationship, began acting strange. One might attribute this to the fact that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Jindal assumed she had been possessed. A sample:
Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
The problem for Jindal going forward is that the absolute last thing that Romney wants, as the first-ever Mormon presidential nominee from a major party, is to spend even more time talking about a religious tradition that many Americans view with suspicion.
And now, back to not writing about the veepstakes.