That’s a powerful image. Arch-segregationist (and more importantly, “States Rights Advocate”) George Wallace was the vanguard of the Republican “southern strategy,” a ploy that largely converted the patrician Dixiecrat south into the culture-warrior corporatist Republican monolith that enveloped the entire south, but only recently washed across Louisiana. Wallace, a Democrat, fought bitterly against what he interpreted was an invasive Federal Government focused on enforcing civil rights in the segregated South. More importantly, Wallace openly defied Federal orders and law to maintain the racial caste system without apology. His dogs and firehoses were the ugly weapons of a race warrior. But Wallace endeared himself to Alabamans nervous at the sudden introduction of modernity and equality into genteel Southern existence.
Wallace, in the end, supported an earnest, but deeply-flawed worldview, and his rearguard action against the forces of justice came from an honest place of traditional racism. You can read an embarrassingly-biased take on Wallace’s political career at the Alabama state history website.
In many ways, we could only hope that our esteemed “states rights” activist Governor had the same purely flawed motivations. Instead, and what boils down to the core of the absolutely cataclysmic reign of Bobby Jindal is his deep-seated cynicism about governing and the people of Louisiana. His motivations are of the most transparently ambitious and contemptuous possible. He acts only to advance his own career without reasoning or concern for the festering disaster he has created.
Former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, often mentioned as a potential Congressional Candidate (including on this blog), picked up on this string and slammed Jindal at the Urban League Conference in New Orleans:
Morial also had harsh words for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, comparing him to the segregationist George Wallace for his planned refusal to implement Obama’s health care overhaul. Jindal has stated that he will not expand Medicaid in Louisiana or establish private health insurance exchanges, as the new law encourages states to do so that more citizens will have health insurance.”As I return to this beloved state, I am astonished that this state’s governor, who I met many years ago as a bright and rising star, has embraced the unfortunate rhetoric of the old-time Louisiana politicians,” Morial said. “It sent chills up my spine because it reminded me of names like Leander Perez, Jimmie Davis and George Wallace, who blocked schoolhouse doors, who shut down rather than integrate.”