James Gill: Jindal’s just too funny

It is time to stop being mad at Gov. Bobby Jindal. He’s just too funny.

He was out of state again last week, but we are long past feeling neglected while he pursues his White House dream. He can forget that for sure; a politician is heading for the exit when his most earnest speeches are greeted with laughter.

If Jindal did not bring the house down when he denounced Democrats as “extremist and unscientific,” it can only have been because he was far from home and his audience was unaware of his own efforts to spread ignorance and superstition. When his remarks were reported in this country, we were in stitches.

Jindal was in Canada, promising to “fight like heck” for the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry oil all the way to Texas if President Barack Obama, who has been considering it for five years, gives his approval. This was not exactly Daniel in the lions’ den; Jindal was speaking at the Oilmen’s Business Forum Luncheon in Alberta.

If the oilmen had reason to welcome Jindal’s views on the pipeline, however, it is a safe bet that they have been exposed to enough geology to conclude the earth has been around for quite a long time. They wouldn’t have much use for Louisiana high school graduates who had been told tales of Adam and Eve in science class.

Sitting there while Jindal claimed to be on the side of science in the pipeline row, the oilmen would have been incredulous if you told them he promoted new-earth indoctrination. Why, they would have said, next you’ll be telling us he believes in demonic possession. Well …

Jindal has also termed global warming “conjecture” and “alarmism,” a comforting view that is much less common among scientists.

Jindal’s speech was otherwise the same, hackneyed fare; the “blind” ideologues of the “radical left” are blocking the pipeline because they want energy to “remain expensive.” They want the government to “tell Americans to live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars, set their thermostats higher in the summer and lower in the winter.” They want “negative growth,” while Republicans stand for prosperity and jobs..

This simple dichotomy leaves only one question answered. Why would anyone, anywhere, ever vote Democrat?

The analysis, in truth, is so shabby that Jindal is clearly not cut out for the intellectual rigor required of, say, a scientist. Jindal’s blithe assumption that the pipeline would reduce energy prices in America is highly debatable, while he is flat wrong to deny that companies plan to re-export pipeline oil for a quick profit.

Jindal is too dedicated a Republican to lose any sleep over the environmental effects of the inevitable spills, although they will at least help the job creation he is always wittering on about. This is tar sand oil so it contains what Obama has called a “nasty goop” that makes it “more expansive and dangerous.” Apart from mishaps, if the pipeline ever is completed, only an estimated 35 hands will be required to run it.

Consumer Watchdog reports that pipeline operators plan to bump up the price of oil by up to $30 a barrel, which could mean an extra 40 cents a gallon at the pump in some parts of America. “The true goal of multinational oil companies and Canadian politicians” is to reach export outlets outside the U.S. for tar sands oil, Consumer Watchdog reports after a review of public and corporate records.

“A vote for Keystone is a vote to raise gas prices on Americans and send the profits to a foreign oil company,” says Thomas Steyer, the recovering Wall Street billionaire now devoted to philanthropy and environmentalism. Steyer, who is getting rid of all his investments in dirty energy, recently wrote to Louisiana’s other Republican Keystone fan, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, suggesting he divest himself of the $1,135,792 he has received over the years in campaign contributions from purveyors of fossil fuels. Once they have each donated their lucre to charity, Steyer wrote, they could take contrary positions on Keystone without being suspected of a financial motive.

The idea that Vitter might turn altruist is the funniest thing heard of since Jindal called his opponents unscientific.

James Gill’s email address is jgill @theadvocate.com