As a native southerner and former Louisiana resident now living in New England, I find myself defending my home territory to confused northerners a lot these days. The task is getting more and more difficult. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's poll numbers continue to soar (74% approval amongst Louisiana voters) in the wake of the greatest man-made environmental disaster ever to hit the Gulf Coast, all I can say, nay, scream, is WHY? I grew up with a Republican father in Pensacola, Florida back when Republican actually meant something -- when the party had ideas, even ones I now consider counter to my own beliefs.
Today, sadly, many top Republican leaders seem to be getting out of actual politics in favor of an inept career in deceitful magic and general quackery. Not to be left behind, Jindal, a 'Republican to watch,' seems to have taken the party's crash course in prestidigitation -- 'Watch this magic trick. I can do something with one hand while simultaneously undoing it with the other. Spoooky.'
Until now, his abilities as a political Janus were perhaps most widely associated with his stance on Federal stimulus money. According to a July 21st, 2009 article at Think Progress, a day before presenting a sizable check to Louisiana constituents which included funds from the Federal stimulus program, Jindal called the act "a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that has not stimulated" in a piece he authored for Politico. Way to bite the hand that feeds.
Then there's the BP crisis and the devastation it has wrought on Louisiana and other gulf states. It is difficult to miss Jindal's rants and outrage over the BP Disaster and his blame hurled at President Obama and the federal response. He's been praised by many in the state for his leadership, yet according to a June 24th piece for CBS news,
"...nearly two months after the governor requested -- and the Department of Defense approved the use of 6,000 Louisiana National Guard troops -- only a fraction -- 1,053 -- have actually been deployed by Jindal to fight the spill."
Well, that's okay, come next election cycle voters in Louisiana can look at the record of how the spill was handled by this star of the Republican Party. Wait. What's that? "No way," you say, Bobby? In fact, according to a June 30th piece in the New York Times Jindal vetoed legislation that would have made all his actions concerning the oil spill transparent to the public, opting instead to seal them off from scrutiny and public review.
Now, to health care and Jindal's latest act of political "magic"-- according to an article in July 9th's Daily Kos,
"Bobby Jindal is mad as hell about health care reform and he wants everybody to know it, so he just signed legislation making it clear that in the State of Louisiana, it's illegal to require individuals to have health insurance."
Pretty boiler plate Republican outrage and activity thus far, then you get to Section C:
"No provision in this Section shall be interpreted or held to supersede any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, P.L. 111-148 or any other federal law."
Ummmmmm, so you didn't really mean it, Bobby?
I can't account for Jindal's many changes of face, attitude, belief. I wish the fact that he and I were both educated at Brown University (a fact that galls me to this day) allowed me some greater insight. The truth is, given what I know of Louisiana and the Gulf in general, I don't understand how he got elected and why Louisiana seems to be taken in by his theater. For the moment I will stipulate to the fact that they may have bigger fish to fry than political wishy-washiness. Perhaps my fellow Gulf coasters are simply looking for someone to rattle a saber on their behalf in this time of crisis. It is my sincere hope however that when that is done, they will see that that is ALL he has been doing, to little or no effect and real political action will again govern this great state.
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