He told the story of our governor joining him and other Republican luminaries on a campaign bus tour, and how he was surprised, upon going to the back of the bus, to find that Jindal had put up his own pictures on the walls. Everyone had a good laugh--Jindal too, but he didn't forget.
Amidst all the post-election teeth gnashing and soul searching among top Republican officials, it was Jindal who most publicly criticized Romney's political judgment. While other major Republicans faulted the party's turnout operation or its stand on immigration, Jindal blasted the shortcomings of the campaign's message and strategy. And when Romney tried to explain what had happened, Jindal blasted him too.
In the Politico interview in which he told Republicans to "stop being the stupid party," he also faulted the Romney campaign's over-reliance on its anti-Obama message, saying. "You can't beat something with nothing,"
In a Huffington Post interview the next day, he called Romney's campaign too self-centered. "The reality of it, the campaign was too much about biography," he said. "The reality is people are not being inspired by a biography. We have got to offer that vision."
Twenty-four hours later, in rapid-response campaign mode, Jindal rejected Romney's own explanation that he lost the race because of the "big gifts" that the President gave young voters, minorities and women in the form of government programs.
"This is completely unhelpful," Jindal retorted on CNN, arguing that Republicans cannot win by dividing voters.
Earlier, the governor did make a point of saying, "Mitt Romney is an honorable man. He's a good honest man. We owe him our respect and our gratitude." But the subtext of those remarks was: he's a loser, and the sooner Republicans take his picture down from the wall, the better.
Or as the Godfather would say, "This isn't personal. It's business."
Jindal, in his cold-eyed analysis, is correct. Vision always beats division. He also is just doing his job as the 2013 chairman of the Republican Governors Association, named last week at the group's meeting in Las Vegas. His immediate objective is the pick up the pieces of the party's bitter defeat and to prepare for a new cycle, through 2014, when he stays on as vice chairman and deeply engages in the re-election of most of his members and helps with Senate campaigns too.
The great advantage of his new position, which, no doubt, he scoped out years ago, is that it gives him an official reason to visit presidential primary states early and often, while other potential candidates look like shameless wannabes for scouting out Iowa and New Hampshire three years in advance. By when his tour of duty at RGA is done, Jindal will have earned his microphone at the primary debates that start too soon thereafter.
Back home, however, it's the story of the cobbler's children having no shoes. The governor has been conspicuously absent amidst the drumbeat of bad-to-scary fiscal news coming from the Capitol. As he plays life coach to the Republican party, he barely has offered an encouraging word to relieve the uncertainty and fear of those who run and use the state's financially distressed hospitals and universities.
"If you want voters to like you," Jindal told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "the first thing you've got to do is like them first." So true, and he could start by showing some love to those he is responsible for.
Of course, the governor is not oblivious to the mounting anger and frustration of citizens and their elected representatives. As he did after his frequent absences from the state during the 2010 elections, he is sure to make the effort soon to pump up his sagging approval ratings with a flurry of announcements, activities and the presentation of his legislative agenda. Back then, he was preparing for his 2011 re-election. Now he doesn't have to face Louisiana voters again, while those in many other states will get to know him much better. He will focus on what's going on here now and again, but, the reality of it is that, to him, Louisiana is history. A man with a vision does not dwell on the past. Get used to it. He has moved on already.
by John Maginnis
|Want more Louisiana news?|
|Louisiana News||Baton Rouge News|