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By Barbara Forrest

Louisiana residents who support teaching good science — which includes evolution — will find it hard to see Bobby Jindal’s comments in his November 13 Politico interview as anything except an opportunistic pivot for the sake of his national ambitions.

It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that. . . . It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.

Really, governor? If that’s the case, then your constituents can count on your public support next year for the repeal of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act that you signed in 2008 as a favor to your friends at the Louisiana Family Forum, right?

Chris Matthews, whose nightly Hardball show did a nice May 2011 interview with Zack Kopplin about his 2010 repeal bill, did not let Jindal’s comments go unnoticed in his November 13, 2012, show. Matthews made some very critical comments about Jindal’s support for teaching creationism in Louisiana, and he also quoted from a July 30, 2012,Slate article by nationally known biologist Kenneth Miller. Miller teaches at Brown University, where Jindal earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. Although this article appeared before the 2012 presidential election, when rumors were flying that Jindal might be in the running as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, Miller’s conclusion is especially on point in light of the general consensus about the governor’s future plans.

Imagine, for a moment, that Jindal becomes the vice presidential nominee. Given his track record in Louisiana, can we expect a sudden shift in favor of scientific integrity and quality science education? I’d like to believe that Jindal’s courting of the creationist vote in his state has been nothing more than a matter of political expediency. Maybe once he faces a national audience, he’ll shake that Etch A Sketch and make his peace with science. We’ll see. But the times are critical, the record isn’t promising, and Jindal’s legacy in Louisiana schools has been shameful.

Here is a message for the governor: If you have really “had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism,” there is something you can do about that in your own state: Respect Requires Repeal.”

Now, readers, watch Chris Matthews let Louisiana have it on Hardball.



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