Jeff Crouere and Stephen Sabludowsky discuss politics and news of day.
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The 2010 race for Lt. Governor was a race like any other. As usual, none of my top picks made it to the final round or even came close to winning. In the end, it was a contest between Caroline Fayard and Secretary of State Jay Dardenne. In the mind of this writer, Mr. Dardenne’s conservative credentials were less than stellar, as evidenced by his voting record. More importantly, Dardenne has served in Louisiana politics for over two decades. Given Louisiana’slitany of problems, I tend to shy away from supporting veteran politicians: the definition of insanity is electing the same people and expecting different results.
In recent weeks, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal focused on the home front, raising money and starting his re-election campaign. With a massive campaign war chest of $9.6 million and growing, Jindal is in the catbird seat for his re-election.
He is no longer considered a presidential contender, but could certainly be tapped for a cabinet position if a Republican candidate wins the White House. Over the next few months, he will not schedule too many out of state fundraisers and political events but will likely stay in campaign mode by staying in the state, asking voters to re-elect him as Governor. Despite $9.6 million in the bank and no opponents on the horizon, Jindal is campaigning like an underdog challenger. Television commercials have begun to air across the state, while personalized phone calls have started to chronic Republican voters asking for volunteer and financial support.
Home school hero Timmy Teepell is at it again. Governor Jindal has been given a lot of credit for his political acumen, and maybe this is all part of some grand scheme to be revealed later, but right now, it looks like the Governor's part-time Campaign manager and part-time Chief of Staff is going off the rails.
Teepell was seen scheming in the back of the House Chamber for the past couple days as the Republican Caucus continued to try to put the final nail the New Orleans delegation's coffin. It seemed the political and policy arms of the Jindal administration came together swiftly to try to diminish Democratic influence in the State House. Starting with a Monday morning meeting to set the game plan, Teepell pushed a Republican effort to gut New Orleans delegation by drawing Jefferson Parish Republicans into parts of the city.
Jindal, of course, publicly denied he had such designs:
"Here we identify ourselves as Louisianians first. That is an important tradition that we must uphold even after redistricting."
Weeks before the session began, Jindal told reporters that he would take a hands-off approach to redistricting the Legislature. I am sure we will be consulted," he said. "I know my boundaries."
So good cop Bobby gets to float above, while bad cop Timmy Teepell starts playing in the mud. Unfortunately, no one forgot on who's behalf Teepell is working. If the Governor doesn't want to be involved, perhaps he shouldn't send his henchman to the House floor.
We should be used to Bobby Jindal's obsession with politics. That isn't new. He cares about nothing else, and even in the particularly tricky redistricting fights, he has weighed in numerous times on behalf of his own politics. Jindal/Teepell went as far as to back the elimination of the 30th Majority-Minority Seat in the State House.
Jindal's ceaseless politicking seem to have crashed head-on with his supposed fidelity to Louisiana's citizens in another matter this week. Jindal is being feted by a BP contractor handling claims from the Deepwater Horizon disaster last April:
The $1,000 a plate cocktail reception -- the "host" level costs $5,000 -- is being held Tuesday at the offices of Worley Catastrophe Response, and hosted by the company's chief executive, Mike Worley.
Worley has handled claims on behalf of BP, and later the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, since shortly after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill.
The Jindal pay-for-play administration just keeps on ticking. The fact that Jindal would take money from these folks while "holding BP accountable" is disgusting. But this is Bobby's way. And in Bobby's World, he shouldn't be held accountable for any of this.
As long as Jindal allow his political life to wholly consume his administration of the state, we'll continue to suffer as a state. Timmy Teepell, the governor's chief of staff/campaign manager, is the clear manifestation of the problem.
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I spend a lot of hours this time of year traveling around the state doing legislative issues conferences in conjunction with local chambers of commerce. I always find that experience very informative. It is an opportunity to hear the concerns of the business community in various regions of the state and to learn what is on the minds of legislators who represent those areas.
Bayoubuzz Note: Before reading this column, remember, it is April's Fools Day:
Through party switches and special elections that broke towards the GOP, the Louisiana Democratic Party suffered the ultimate indignity on Thursday with the departure from the party of one its most prominent in-state figures.
Former US Senator and one-time de facto state party boss John Breaux made a surprise visit to his former stomping grounds in Crowley to announce that he is now a registered independent.
At $1,111, Louisiana experienced the highest median rate for auto insurance in the nation, according to in a recent survey from InsWeb, an online insurance seller.
Perhaps even more shocking was the stark contrast that other Southern states were amongst the cheapest states to buy auto coverage. North Carolina ranked fifth lowest, at $495. Virginia’s rate was seventh lowest, at $521. In 2010, it ranked 13th.
As I travel around the state, I find that folks in New Orleans don't know the great musical artists of Shreveport, and conversely so. Mention Allen Toussaint in Shreveport, and you get about the same reaction as mentioning James Burton in New Orleans. What's up with that?
LSU's Kenny Hilliard is rated as one of the top 100 college freshmen by Bleacherreport.com. Today, we'll look at running back Kenny Hilliard. "He leaves the Louisiana high school football scene with a career record of more than 8,600 yards on the ground.One of the most productive high school runners in history, he is headed to Baton Rouge to continue the art of toting the rock. He runs well behind his pads and knows that he has to keep his motor churning to wear down a defense. He should rush for at least 400 yards this season, getting his feet wet in 2011."
THREE Saints have been named to the NFL Power Ratings 2011: Top 100 players in NFL Today. Here are the three with scouting notes: No. 19, Drew Brees, QB, Saints -- "Ranks as one of our top five quarterbacks on the list of the 100 best players in the NFL.