During the second hour of the radio broadcast, a caller, John from Mandeville, brought up a popular subject discussed in Louisiana, Governor Jindalâ€™s travels. Below is the exchange with Bernie Pinsonat, pollster from Southern Media and Opinion Research:
Sabludowsky: Last hour, we had Lawrence Chehardy talk to us. This hour, we have Bernie Pinsonat from Baton Rouge. Bernie is the principal of Southern Media, and he is one of the most famous political analysts and pollsters in this state. How are things up in Baton Rouge?
Pinsonat: The legislature is in session, so nobody knows except the legislature. It's a quiet session so far. The politics surrounding the session outside of Baton Rouge have been a lot more entertaining. Normally, by this time in the session, there are some big issues that have emerged or personalities. Not a lot of that is going on. It's Jindal's seventh session. He is traveling outside of Louisiana a great deal now, obviously running for President. The last two sessions, nothing much have been going on in the capital. It's pretty quiet. In Baton Rouge, we're primarily more interested in what is going on outside of the city.
Sabludowsky: There is a lot going on outside of Baton Rouge indeed. Bernie, we have John from Mandeville on the line.
John: This is a very trite statement. I'm not a political person whatsoever, but I am a taxpaying native of Louisiana. Everybody I know has the same feeling that we really don't know what to do about it. We have had just about enough of Jindal not showing up for work. The Presidential election is not in another year and three quarters, so he's going to be gone until then. We're paying his expenses and salary. Is there anything us trite people can do to get this man out of office and in the run for President? He can't do both.
Sabludowsky: I wrote a column about a month ago that basically said the same thing that John is saying: "Governor, we know that your interest is not here. You can do some victory laps, but you can do it outside of the state. Give somebody else another chance right now." To update that, Jindal is calling on a Congressman to resign. Yet much of your time is being spent outside of the state. It's not just the time; it's your devotion towards the issue. For seven years, we've been wondering to whom Jindal is loyal. The Republican Party, local or national? Your own presidential run? The people of Louisiana? I understand exactly where John is coming from. Bernie, you and I have talked about this. I know you have different opinions about him. Go ahead.
Pinsonat: The Governor's travels have hurt his popularity. Jindal has half the voters now, maybe a little fewer, who don't see his travels as a problem. They're Republicans and some Democrats. It's unusual for Louisiana to have a Governor running for President. We haven't had that before. Plus, Louisiana's problems and the deficits we've had. Unfortunately for Jindal, he has had to deal with large deficits the last five or so years; larger than this state has seen before. It's a little complicated; you have people who like Jindal, but doesn't like his travels. Then you have people who do not like Jindal at all, and his traveling is just another reason for them to dislike him. I'm not taking a position either way. Any Governor in any state who's running for President is going to leave the state as much as possible. The Governor of Wisconsin and Rick Perry over in Texas are going to have to do the same. They are going to have to spend time and effort on the road. I'm not saying that he should or shouldn't, but it has cost him popularity, particularly because we have so many problems related to the budget. If Jindal wasn't doing this, his numbers would probably have been better. However, he's not running for reelection. He has a little over a year and a half left. He has made that decision, and you can't remove him from office. His numbers are not good, but Jindal, in my opinion, is way past caring about what people who are probably not voting for him anyway think of his travels. In his opinion, he can do both. That's where we are, whether we like it or not. I don't see him staying here in Louisiana unless he has no shot of becoming President.
Sabludowsky: I agree with what you're saying; he would not step down under any circumstances. I understand what you're saying about Rick Perry and the Wisconsin Governor. But what really gets me is that Governor Jindal, when he was sworn into office, slammed the former Governors. The former Governors were on the stage, except for Edwin Edwards, who was elsewhere, and Jindal slammed them. He said that they were more interested in their own self-interests than the state. Then, in his reelection victory speech three years ago, he said that he was going to be working for the state day and night, 24/7. Whether he lied about it or not...it's not true at all. It tells me that he is not telling the truth about who he is, what he is going to do, and what he is doing. That bothers me the most. When he said he wasn't going to write a book, he ended up writing a book. What he says is not what he does.
Pinsonat: That's not unusual for Governors or elected officials. The bottom line is that when he does that and someone like you takes offense at it, there is retaliation. You see it in the public opinion polls. When he got here, he was in the high 60s. Now he's in the low 40s. Jindal is paying a price, and maybe that will come back to haunt him as he runs for President. But again, Jindal has obviously made the decision that he is going to do this. The price he pays is worth it for him. People are going to criticize him, but he's not going to change his mind.