That being the case, just call Gov. Bobby Jindal the aspiring-but-not-quite-there-yet magician: the wannabe.
Rather than coming off as an inept stage magician, however, Jindal more closely resembles the old traveling snake oil salesman standing on the back of his wagon full of patent medicine as he assures the crowd gathered around him to “Try this: it’ll cure what’s ailing you.”
“It’s guaranteed to fix education, health care, the economy, deteriorating roads and bridges, crumbling college and university physical plant, pensions, prisons, budget deficits, the environment, poverty, coastal erosion, and population loss—all while reducing your taxes and giving more corporate tax breaks and handing out more consulting contracts.
“But don’t look at me when I’m telling you this; instead, watch what those bureaucrats in Washington are doing. They’re the one who are wrong-headed, who have no legal basis for doing what they’re doing.
“But you’d better hurry. That’s right, step right up and get your Miracle Jindal Juice ‘cause I can’t stay here long. I have to be moving on. I’ve gotta be in Iowa next week, New Hampshire after that and then Washington, New York, Los Angeles…
That’s the Bobby Jindal we all know here in Louisiana—the real Bobby Jindal and not the Bobby Jindal of mythical proportions being foisted upon the rest of the country by Forbes magazine, Fox News, Politico and the op-ed pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Of course he does have his supporters closer to home, namely a publisher of a Baton Rouge business publication who was Jindal’s campaign finance chairman and who now serves as an appointed member of the LSU Board of Stuporvisors, an editorial columnist for the Baton Rouge Advocate who doesn’t even live in Louisiana (he resides in Mobile, Alabama), and an associate professor up in Shreveport who contributes to a blog supported by a lot of really bizarre advertising (“highly valued sponsors,” they’re called). Here are a few examples:
But enough of that. Let’s get back to Bobby Jindal: the Man, the Legend.
Perhaps it is only appropriate that as a child, the governor who exists in an insulated fantasy world where he is always right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, took his name Bobby from a character on the saccharin-laden sitcom The Brady Bunch where every problem was solved and every crisis was overcome in a 30-minute time slot. Too bad it just doesn’t work that way in the real world.
If, while sitting on the living room floor as a kid, he had gotten hooked instead on The Beverly Hillbillies, Do you think Louisiana would have elected Jethro Jindal? (Before you answer that, think Swamp People and Duck Dynasty.) Jay Leno joked that it was probably a good thing Jindal didn’t watch Gilligan’s Islandgrowing up lest he might have adopted the name “Little Buddy.”
Perhaps he should have; after all, he has been lost for six years now.
Instead of staying at home and doing his job, Jindal would rather flit about the country, telling anyone who will listen how great he is, how wonderful his programs are, and how he personally has had to overcome the dictatorial hand of Washington in general and Obama in particular.
And now, the latest insult to his constituents here at home is an op-ed he penned in Sunday’s (May 4) Forbes magazine which leaves the reader (in Louisiana, anyway) wondering if Forbes is really this desperate to fill its pages with self-serving, aggrandizing claptrap.
The piece, titled How We Achieved Louisiana’s Economic Surge, is filled with misleading statistics designed to convince readers that he took over a cesspool of ineptitude six years ago and turned it into paradise on earth for every living, breathing citizen of the state.
Following are excerpts from Jindal’s latest self-anointing op-ed, with our comments, in italics, following each of Roy’s observations:
- Right off the bat, he boasts of a “surge of economic growth, and more and better-paying jobs.”
- Yet, Louisiana is rated better than Wyoming in closing the gender pay gap. In Louisiana, women make only 67 percent of what a man makes for performing the same job (as opposed to Maryland, Nevada and Vermont where women make 85 percent of what men make, and in Washington, D.C., where it’s 90 percent.
- “Louisiana has the lowest unemployment rate in the south, tied for seventh-lowest in the nation,” he writes.
- But Louisiana’s 18 percent poverty rate ranks fifth highest in the nation, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And Jindal’s lapdogs, the Louisiana Legislature, recently beat back efforts to raise the minimum wage.
- We shifted from a government-run hospital system to a health system that embraces ingenuity and efficiency…”
- Yet, Jindal refused to expand Medicaid even though 18.3 percent of Louisiana citizens, mostly working poor, are without health insurance—lower than only Texas (24.6 percent), Nevada (23.5 percent), New Mexico (21.9 percent), Florida (21.5 percent), Georgia (19.2 percent), Alaska (19 percent), and Arkansas (19.4 percent). Oh, and Louisiana continues to rank number one in the nation in obesity rate.
- “Per-capita income in our state is at its highest level ever.”
- The Bureau of Business & Economic Research, however, lists Louisiana at 29th in the nation in per capital income last year—not last, but certainly not setting the pace, either.
- Of all the statistics about our state’s progress, I’m proudest of the six straight years of in-migration…”
- Louisiana has seen its congressional strength drop from eight to seven and now six with some saying it may drop to five after the 2020 census. So where’s that in-migration, Governor?
As absurd as that article was, one also published by Forbes in October of 2011, seems in retrospect to be a parody of Jindal’s administration rather than a serious treatise by writer Avik Roy:
- “At the age of 24, Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster appointed him as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, giving him authority over 40 percent of the state’s budget. Under his direction, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from a $400 million deficit to a $220 million surplus.”
- Really? So, Governor, what about now? Where is that surplus today?
- “National Review has published online Jim Geraghty’s lengthy profile of Governor Jindal. Geraghty discusses at lengthhow Gov. Jindal restructured Louisiana’s unique charity hospital system.”
- In light of recent developments, we’ll bet you Geraghty’s report would make interesting reading today—if one could stop laughing long enough to finish it.
- “At Earl K. Long (Hospital in Baton Rouge), 63 percent of the emergency room visits are for non-emergency care.”
- Prisoners at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, about 40 miles from Baton Rouge, were routinely treated for all ailments and injuries—emergency and non-emergency—at Earl K. Long, thus accounting for the large percentage of non-emergency visits.
- In October of 2011, “Jindal won a second term as Governor, garnering the highest percentage of votes by a gubernatorial candidate since the state introduced its current “jungle primary” system in 1978.”
- Granted, Avik Roy has the creds, being a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and having served as health care policy advisor to Mitt Romney, but he really shouldn’t get too excited about that 2011 election. Yes, Jindal got 67 percent; but it was 67 percent of a total turnout of less than 20 percent and his strongest challenger was an unknown school teacher who had something in the neighborhood of $2500 in campaign funds against Jindal’s $11 million. Anything less than 90 percent should’ve been consider an embarrassing failure.
- “Jindal was the first governor to endorse Rick Perry for President.”
- Uh, yeah…so? And how’d that work out for them?
- “In Perry’s book, Fed Up, he describes Jindal as ‘one of the brightest, most capable governors in the country.’ Keep an eye on him.”
- Damned good advice, Mr. Roy. We’ll keep that in mind.