He is clearly trying to impress presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney and establish his credentials as a Republican rock star, a Southern conservative reformer with a shiny track record of success in Louisiana. If only the reality lived up to the hype!
Not only is Jindal campaigning like a man possessed with ambition, he is appearing on the national television talk shows with regularity. Ironically, the Governor almost never appears on a Louisiana radio or television show and very rarely conducts even a simple news conference in the state. Obviously, Jindal believes he is too important to waste time with the small minded media in Louisiana. He has bigger fish to fry!
During one particularly long interview on MSNBC recently, Governor Jindal was openly auditioning for the running mate position. When pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether he would accept the VP nomination if offered by Governor Romney, Jindal refused to rule it out and changed the subject. Unlike four years ago when Jindal was coy about accepting a running mate offer, this time he is pressing the pedal to the metal and not even trying to hide his overwhelming desire for the position.
In 2008, Jindal was a long shot for the VP nod, this year he realizes he has a real chance. He has carefully cultivated a fantasy, an image of success in Louisiana. He is better known in the Republican Party due to his constant travelling and national media appearances. He is a master fundraiser, having spent his tenure as Governor crisscrossing the nation in search of campaign funds. His public relations team has also been busy pumping out news releases on his supposedly successful record in the state.
For Governor Romney, it might be advisable to look beyond the massive Jindal public relations machine and investigate what he really has accomplished in LA. Presently, the largest city in Louisiana is the murder capital of the nation. The state has a lame economy and just lost another corporate headquarters to a neighboring state. Our population is stagnant and Louisiana continues to lose congressional representation. Almost alone among the Southern states, Louisiana remains an economic backwater.
Despite the influx of billions of dollars in federal aid after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav and the BP oil spill, almost nothing has been done to save the quickly eroding coast of Louisiana. The roads are deplorable, the schools are ranked at the bottom and the Governor is touting our “success story.” His recent initiative to reform education has more holes than a street in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans. As noted by political watchdog C.B. Forgotston, a Louisiana university was ranked as the school with the lowest graduation rate in the nation. While this educational “reform” package was being passed in the legislature, State Treasurer John Kennedy discovered $282 million in contracts with out of state consultants. According to Kennedy, “I think it is a mistake to demonize your teachers, and you do that every time you give a consulting contract to an out-of-state person or company other than to spend money in the classroom.”
It was recently discovered that the Jindal campaign accepted almost $90,000 in the 2007 campaign from shell corporations created by donors trying to circumvent the state’s campaign fundraising limits. The Governor’s campaign did not commit a crime, but obviously do not care about or investigate the type of checks they were depositing.
This week, New Orleans CityBusiness reported that the biggest corporate re-location the Governor has announced, Globalstar, is behind schedule, failing to deliver on promises of new jobs and tax revenue, facing a massive decline in its stock value, and seeing corporate leaders bail out of the company. This is after the state provided $8.1 million in “performance based” grants to Globalstar. According to Forgotston, this could be Jindal’s Solyndra.
In short, the man is a phony conservative, who has no real world experience and has spent his life in government bureaucracy and politics. Possibly, he would be a good fit as a cabinet secretary in the Romney administration because he loves governmental double speak and dealing with multi-layered bureaucracies.
Finally, the real reason why Romney should forgo Jindal as the VP nominee is that he is a very poor speaker with limited communication skills. His mile per minute speaking style is not going to connect with voters in the heartland.
Since he hails from a red state that is already “in the bag” for Romney, the GOP should be looking for a running mate that can help the ticket win over Independents, disaffected Democrats and swing state voters.
Despite the hype, despite the swindle, it should be obvious to clear thinking Republicans not drinking the Jindal Kool-aid that the Governor of Louisiana is not the best choice to be “one heartbeat away from the presidency.”
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at Ringside Politics.