Certainly the current flood and probable aftermath are not in the same category as what Governor Kathleen Blanco encountered during her last years in office. However, Jindal is now confronting the displacement of thousands in central Louisiana whose lives are now engulfed with uncertainty. If the flood worsens, some of south Louisiana, which got hit with the storms and the BP spill, might encounter the same fate as those close to the Morganza.
This is not the type of election environment that any governor would desire. It comes at a rather tender moment as his job approval has sunk to mid-fifties and has languished despite a major media buy reportedly costing over a half-million dollars.
When Jindal is not looking at waters and sandbags, he can behold the enormous $1.6 billion state budget shortfall and the very racially divisive issues—the UNO-SUNO merger and the unresolved redistricting plans—problems his critics say are of his own makings.
Obviously, his goal would be to survive the session with the necessary cuts, escape any flood political overflow, get re-elected and present an acceptable image to the national market that will likely be his future audience or his next job. After all, the national elections are upon us.
So, the question before us is how does this impressive Rhodes Scholar maintain the road on all fours and emerge unscathed and looking like new, fresh and ready to go?
The course might be hard but it certainly is made easy by having around 10 million dollars (and counting) in his campaign disposal with no serious contenders in sight.
Still, even if Jindal achieves the obvious and gets re-elected to a second term, there is the matter of Jindal’s governing as a lame-duck-ambitious chief-executive in a state that is one of the nation’s most conservative.
What is this Governor to do?
Right now, legislative committees are challenging his budget proposals and calling for steeper cuts than he has ever requested.
The Tea Party crowd is demanding that the legislature hold the line on spending and taxes at a time when the Governor’s Secretary of Administration and Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development are screaming that those proposed legislative cuts are irresponsible and could cost us 25,000 jobs.
Based upon recent observations by political pollster and analyst, Bernie Pinsonat, the voters do not believe the Governor nor the legislature have done anything special over the past three plus years. While the Jindal administration has touted its “glowing” record on economic development, according to Pinsonat, the voters just don’t see the changes. Now with a natural disaster flooding our sense of balance with hurricane season blowing at our windows, the likelihood that the job market could actually worsen over the next few months is not unrealistic.
While the Governor has been able to blame the feds during disasters past, for being slow to cleanup hurricane and oil spill messes, the Obama administration and Congress are far more restricting than ever. Floods, tornados, possible hurricanes and the horrific national debt are hitting them in the face as wars rage in the Middle East. Jindal and Louisiana might just need to do as he extolled during the moments of that national TV blunder. That is, we all might need to live the life of self-empowerment and not dependency.
Despite these political, natural and man-made foreboding storm clouds hovering over the Governor’s head, only a fool will believe that Jindal will meet his own destruction at the polls this fall.
Yet, with the legislature singing to the tunes of their own drummers with elections before them and the pay raise debacle at their own posteriors, Jindal can prove he can move mountains even if the hills are alive with the sounds of tragic.
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