Jindal’s campaign was done in less than five months, as he was forced to the sidelines because of a lack of money and almost no political support. In the campaign, Jindal tried everything to garner attention. He took very conservative positions and even aggressively attacked Donald Trump on numerous occasions, but it just made him look foolish.
Not only was Jindal an utter failure as a presidential candidate, he has been an utter failure as a Governor. A new poll shows that Jindal is the second least popular Governor in the nation with a 35% approval rating. The Morning Consult poll found that Jindal earned the disapproval of 60% of Louisiana voters. It was even worse in a recent UNO poll which showed Jindal with only a 20% approval rating and a 70% disapproval rating.
Of course, eight years ago, it all started with high hopes for the young Governor. He was elected in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and strong voter disapproval of Governor Kathleen Blanco’s performance during the crisis. In 2003, Blanco defeated Jindal, so four years later, it was a case of buyer’s remorse when voters rewarded Jindal with the job they had previously denied him.
It was soon apparent, however, that Jindal was bored with Louisiana issues and solely interested in pursuing presidential politics. In 2008, he was considered as the vice-presidential running mate for GOP nominee Senator John McCain. In 2009, he was selected as the GOP representative to give a rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Unfortunately for Jindal, he bombed in the speech, and it exposed his weakness as a communicator and media presence.
Despite winning re-election as Governor in 2011 and serving as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, Jindal did not pick up much national support. This must have been especially disturbing for Jindal since he traveled extensively to GOP conferences and fundraisers. He was doing everything he could to increase his national profile. For example, he was a regular on Fox News and the other national cable networks.
This publicity came with a steep price tag back home in Louisiana. Voters noticed that Jindal was frequently out of the state and his media appearances were always on national programs and not local Louisiana shows. Also, the Governor did not seem to be solving any of the long term problems in Louisiana. From coastal erosion to poor infrastructure to high crime, Louisiana was not making any progress under Jindal.
While the Governor touted ethics reform, his signature bill was only a partial fix as it did not include the executive branch of government. His much ballyhooed tax reform legislation was dead on arrival at the legislature and in the last session, his legislative initiatives were either ignored or defeated.
He completely switched positions on Common Core, after pushing through members of BESE who supported the program. Jindal’s last session was maybe his worst as Governor as the budget woes were fully exposed. In previous years, Jindal used non-recurring money to fill budget holes, but this year, such accounting tricks were not as easily available, so he had to approve a mix of increased fees and taxes. The end result was a total of $800 million in new taxes, the largest increase in Louisiana history.
Currently, the state still faces a higher education crisis with an impending shortfall in the TOPS college scholarship program and a budget crisis with massive shortfall in the Medicaid program. Jindal’s solutions have been panned by both candidates running to be his successor.
At this point, his only true supporters seem to be his family and those on his payroll. After eight years of neglect, he will laughably embark on a statewide tour before his term ends, but it will only remind Louisiana voters that Jindal has been an absentee Governor. Eight weeks of work will not make up for two failed terms.
As voters look back at Jindal they will be reminded of the great expectations and the crushing disappointments. He will exit office with a large deficit, even though he inherited a $1 billion budget surplus. Louisiana has the 10th highest unemployment rate in the nation and with oil prices continuing to drop; the job losses will undoubtedly mount.
His successor needs to pick up the many pieces that Jindal has left him. It will be a very tough task thanks to Governor Jindal who officially leaves office onJanuary 11, 2016.
The one silver lining to this debacle is that Bobby Jindal is so unpopular he will never be able to get elected to any political office in Louisiana again. At least the political career of the greatest disappointment in Louisiana political history is almost over.