Monday, 27 April 2015 17:14

Does Louisiana know the real Bobby Jindal?

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jindal-cavutoLouisiana is in the middle of a cataclysmic budget deficit which has already socked the LSU bonding abilities, is causing havoc to the state’s  healthcare industry and is forcing the Louisiana legislature to be especially creative in cobbling together a budget that the governor would approve.   


But, do we really know Bobby Jindal?

We know that Jindal has been roundly criticized in the media, by the business community and even by republican legislators who feel he is adhering to Grover Norquist’s no tax pledge instead of generating real solutions to the real problems the state is facing.

We know he has been making quite a name for himself lately.   Jindal, in attacking the budget crises has taken on businesses by advocating removing tax credits it had previously favored-- which he now calls “corporate welfare”.   Perhaps, more famously, in his new anti-gay marriage campaign, Jindal has taken on the majority of the American public which he must now be calling the “radical left”.  In promoting “religious liberty”, he is insulting the likes of IBM which does not cater to his “discriminatory” policies against gays. 

By his own definition, he has become the “hold your breath governor”.

So, what.  Do we really really know Bobby Jindal?

Despite Jindal’s favorables being lower than President Obama’s, lower than Governor Kathleen Blanco at the height of one of the worst disasters on the planet (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), Louisiana apparently does not know the republican governor who has been serving the last year of his two terms from hotel rooms in Iowa, New Hampshire and other campaign stops .

Let’s face it.  We, living here in the great State of Louisiana, just don’t know Bobby Jindal. 

At least, that is the opinion of one prospective Iowa caucus voter who attended the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summiton Monday and who was interviewed in a National Review article:.

The article titled, “Bobby Jindal wows Iowa Evangelicals”, described how the Louisiana governor spoke preacher-like to the Iowa audience, and simply had them praying for more.

Bobby Jindal is barely breaking 2 percent in Iowa polls — but you’d never know it from the way he wowed the crowd at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit on Saturday….

But while the others spoke about lofty political ideals or the corruption and hypocrisy of Washington, Jindal brought to the stage a fast-talking, folksy, preacher-like quality that immediately resonated with the crowd. “Our God is an awesome God, can I get an amen?!” he began, spreading his arms wide and striding away from the podium. “Amen!” the audience responded loudly. Veering away from policy specifics, Jindal instead spoke at length about his personal journey to Christ – thanking his high school friend for giving him his first Bible and describing the moment he came to Jesus during a choir performance at LSU. Moving seamlessly from soul-searching spirituality to tongue-in-cheek quips about himself and his family, the governor’s speech was interrupted more frequently by raucous laughter than applause.

The discrepancy between Jindal’s knockout performance and his dismal Iowa poll numbers is noteworthy, a sign that perhaps the Louisiana governor should invest more time in the state. Iowa City resident Patrick Nefzger, who called Jindal’s speech “wonderful,” had a straightforward answer when asked when asked why Jindal’s poll numbers didn’t reflect the strong response he received Saturday night. “That’s because they don’t know who he is,” he said simply.

Maybe, Nefzger is  mistaken.  Just maybe, Louisiana does know the real Bobby Jindal and so do others who write for the likes of the Washington Post, New York Times and even USA Today, who have recently socked the governor for his job performance.

And, just maybe, others are finding that despite what Jindal wants the campaign world to believe, there are facts that tell a totally different story, as written in The Daily Kos.

It's worth noting that Jindal—in addition to his primary focus on making sure fundamentalists can live their faith by treating teh gays as second-class citizens—also used the platform of theNew York Times to claim that "since I became governor in 2008, Louisiana has become one of the best places to do business in America." The reality is somewhat different. Although it did perform better than the U.S. as a whole during Jindal's first year in office, by the time his policies actually took effect, i.e., from 2009 through 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available), Louisiana's economic growth lagged that of the national economy pretty badly (data for 2009 through 2012 can be seenhere, and 2013here). As for job creation, from January 2011 through January 2015 Louisianacame in32nd out of 50 states—but hey, that was three spots better than Scott Walker's Wisconsin! Additionally, Jindal turned the $1 billion annual surplus that greeted his first inauguration into a deficit nowprojectedto be $1.6 billion for next year. Hey, that does sound a lot like another Southern governor who rode a coalition of business and religious conservatives to the presidency. But I don't think Jindal wants to draw too many parallels between himself and George W. Bush.

In my view, the question to ask is this—does Bobby Jindal of Iowa want to draw many parallels between himself and the Bobby Jindal of Louisiana?

Only Bobby Jindal knows for sure.

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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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