Bobby Jindal is one of our favorite rising star politicians, offering hope for truly reforming Louisiana's endemically corrupt politics. The state needs him now more than ever, with its reconstruction efforts mired down in bureaucracy and worse. The state's long-suffering residents, left behind in the economic boom propelling the South forward, may have reached their limit in tolerating the politics of sleaze. Not only does Jindal lead in the polls, but James Taranto, writing in Opinion Journal yesterday, alerts us to this hopeful sign of a moral spine stiffening of the electorate:
The Louisiana Democratic Party, in a desperate attempt to halt the Jindal juggernaut, last month made an ugly appeal to religious prejudice. Mr. Jindal, raised in his parents' Hindu faith, is a convert to Catholicism. Although southern Louisiana, with its French and Spanish heritage, is heavily Catholic, Protestants outnumber Catholics statewide.
The Democratic attack ad claims that Mr. Jindal "has referred to Protestant religions [sic] as scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical" and that he "doubts the morals and questions the beliefs of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Pentecostals and other Protestant religions." In fact, these are wild mischaracterizations of articles Mr. Jindal wrote for a Catholic publication, including one in which he praised aspects of various Protestant denominations' worship and suggested that the Catholic Church could learn from their example. The campaign asked television stations to stop airing the ad on the ground that it is defamatory.
It was soon off the air anyway, for it had the opposite of its intended effect. "Every phone call, every email, every letter we've gotten has been angry at their ad and supporting us," Mr. Jindal says. "We've literally had hundreds of Democratic elected officials, pastors and others publicly and privately saying they condemn the ad and calling on the party to stop this. . . . Usually with an attack ad, somebody will come up to you and say, 'Hey, is this really true?' . . . I have not had one person question me."