Monday, April 27, 2015

How's Bobby doing?

Not as badly as you may think.  Here are a couple of posts by Oyster from over the weekend, I'd like to point you to. I won't add much in the way of comment, for now, except to say I largely agree with his analysis.

This post warns us not to dismiss Jindal's seemingly anachronistic stance on marriage equality. Remember that if you are personally turned off by Jindal's message it's because the message isn't for you.
Jindal could give a fig about diminishing the LGBT voting bloc. That's an essential and unalterable element of his program. He really believes that stuff, and his views won't evolve, no matter how far national attitudes liberalize. (That's one of the reasons I've opined on this issue for over a decade. It's a huge thorn in the GOP's side.)
It could be a "thorn in the GOP's side" in the coming years. Or something much more complicated and unexpected could happen as both national parties adjust to changing attitudes... but I just said I wasn't going to comment too much. Anyway, Oyster's point is that this year, during this stage of the primary, Jindal doesn't care about any of that.

And, as it turns out, neither do other GOP candidates.

In a second post, Oyster elaborates on his don't-count-Bobby-out reasoning.  As a fellow traveler in this regard, I appreciate that he emphasizes the point that sound political analysis is not always validated by its success at predicting electoral results.
Put another way, I'm saying Jindal has about a 10% chance to win the nod and that Jeb(!) has under a 20% chance. Just about everyone else would say, or has indicated, that Jindal's odds are under 1%. Way under. "No chance."

This still means I think it's VERY likely Jindal will not win the GOP nomination. If and when he loses, perhaps badly, it will only embolden those who hold assumptions 1-3. They'll think they were proved right, and that one outcome is representative of all other possible outcomes. (Wrong again, in my opinion— but it is difficult to argue counterfactuals, especially in politics. So if Jindal loses badly I'll just have to eat it and smile, which is fine.)

In poker, sometimes it's correct to play a long shot hand based on pot odds and implied odds. Often, the cards on the board don't fall as hoped, and you fold the low % hand and look weak. The "winner" scoops up the chips and attributes his or her win to skill, rather than having luckily escaped a well-conceived trap. If enough hands are played, this situation repeats enough so that the long shot play comes out ahead. In quadrennial presidential politics, there aren't enough "hands" to necessarily show who had the better analysis. (So, basically, correct long shot analyses only get credit if the campaign cards fall right. And even then, these analyses are often dismissed as being merely "lucky.")
Jindal might have a 10 percent chance or less of winning the 2016 Republican nomination. But that doesn't mean the he isn't doing exactly the things he needs to do in order to maximize his chances either this year or in the future.  Remember, also, Bobby is young and perfectly content to sit around writing for Politico or serving as Secretary of Volcano Monitoring depending on who the next President is until it's time to try this again.  His moment may still come sooner or later.

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