Mike Huckabee likened the Iran deal negotiated by President Barack Obama to the Holocaust, arguing that it “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Ted Cruz said the deal positions Obama as “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.”
Cruz also filmed a video that demonstrates how to make “machine-gun bacon,” Texas style (The recipe: wrap the bacon around the barrel, cover with foil, and shoot). That’s not to be confused with another video put out by Lindsey Graham, in which he attacks his cell phone with a meat cleaver and throws it into a blender. The display was prompted by Donald Trump, who gave out Graham’s phone number in public and whose poll-leading presidential campaign has boiled down to one stunt after another.
And Bobby Jindal is proposing that officials of so-called “sanctuary cities” — a category that includes New Orleans, which bars local police from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement — be declared criminals.
“Let’s recognize these mayors, these city officials, they are partners in crime. They should be held criminally liable as accomplices for the crimes committed by these folks that are here illegally, thanks to these sanctuary cities,” he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly last week.
So which of these things is not like the others?
To hear the governor tell it, his proposal is.
In a bizarre 17-person Republican contest dominated — until this week, anyway — by a mad scramble to make the cutoff for Thursday’s initial televised debate, almost everyone is trying to get attention, to land in a headline, earn a TV clip or go viral. The more outrageous or provocative the comment or behavior, the more likely it will get attention.
Jindal, whose dismal national poll numbers will probably keep him out of the top 10 and off Thursday’s prime-time debate stage, insists with a straight face that he’s not playing that game.
“You have a lot of candidates, they’re willing to say extreme things, outlandish things to get on TV, to get in the debates,” Jindal said on “CBS This Morning” last week. “We’re not doing that … we’re actually offering specific ideas to voters, and I think it is resonating.”
The evidence suggests otherwise, and the sanctuary city proposal is just the latest of many examples.
The idea of prosecuting mayors who are grappling with how to fight crime without violating civil rights or scaring off victims or witnesses who might be too afraid to cooperate is an outlier, so preposterous that the bombastically conservative O’Reilly scoffed at it on air.
Not that he disagrees with the intent, O’Reilly said. But “that would be unbelievable though. You’d never … President Obama’d veto that. But I don’t know if you’d get that to pass even on the Republican (side).”
O’Reilly also countered Jindal’s proposal that cities should be civilly liable, pointing out that “they have the right to sue now if they want to.” In short, the high-profile host basically called out the idea for what it was, a publicity grab rather than a serious, well-planned policy prescription.
That puts it on par with a growing list of similar Jindal maneuvers. He insisted that Britain is plagued by Muslim no-go zones, despite local denials and his own inability to document his accusations. He issued a pretty much meaningless “religious freedom” executive order, which was designed to advertise his sympathy for those who don’t want to serve same-sex couples. Then he undermined his supposed support for those who hold sincere religious principles by calling on Obama to fire the head of the INS for allowing incoming citizens with moral objections to no longer have to swear to “bear arms” on behalf of the United States.
“Let’s be honest here, immigration without assimilation is invasion,” he told Breitbart News.
And don’t forget his absurd response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the land.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” he said in a statement. “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”
Of course, by claiming to be refraining from theatrics, Jindal has a ready excuse for why he’s not catching on enough to win a coveted debate spot. He and his advisers say they’re running a different sort of campaign, focusing on the small, early states rather than trying to make a national splash.
In fact, it’s possible to read Jindal’s insistence that he’s not trying to stand out as just another way to stand out. And like all the others, it’s just not working.