Thursday, 24 February 2011 17:37

Louisiana Jindal, Scott Walker And Duking It Out With The Public

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Stephen Sabludowky-Publisher of Bayoubuzz.comLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is quoted to say “Walker is "demonstrating remarkable political courage and showing what real leadership looks like." when recently referring to the Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker’s national made-for-TV-soap opera co-starring the labor union and the international media.

That’s easy for Bobby to say.

Easy because he is actually on the sidelines looking in.

For the sake of agreeing with Governor Jindal, Walker’s decision is taking political courage.  

Which one wonders what Jindal will do in dealing with the 1.6 billion dollar budget shortfall and on other future testy matters.

Will he show courage in standing up to his opponents as presumably Walker has done?

So far, as Governor, I don’t believe he has been required to do so nor do I believe it will be in his future script as this state’s chief executive.

In reality, during the course of his administration, Jindal has only once faced the collective anger of the voters.  The rest of the time, the republican politician has been on the safe side of the political aisle—conservative.

The only time he stood up against the real winds of risk was when he was on the wrong side of the legislative pay raise issue when he would not buckle to the pressures of the people, well, until he did.

After his polls temporarily dropped a few notches but always in the safe zone, and only after his allies and opponents pounded him for a week, did he back-peddle and veto  that legislation making the hot issue disappear.  With the snap of a finger, he quickly defunded non-governmental organizations, a popular target, and was back in the grace of his people and his polls soared

Other than that, what has he done that has really put his political career on the line?

Not much.

This does not make him a bad man or even a bad governor at all.

It only means his politics are in line with that of his constituents. He is the alter-ego of Louisiana voters.

By contrast, let’s travel back to the days of another "young revolutionary", Buddy Roemer, who actually came into town promising to "scrub the budget".

Roemer was sitting high on the throne until three events led him to the fate of being an ex-Governor—David Duke, fiscal reform and abortion.

After Duke won the District 81 legislative race, the Louisiana Governor took on a very popular politician and political movement—the Grand Wizard and his Dukedom.

Roemer did not need to publically disavow Duke nor scorn him, but he did.  

At that time, Duke was a national pop star and controlled the stage although he could not pass any legislation as a government official.  

Roemer also took to the Fiscal Reform road along with the silk-tied business crowd but Duke, his caravan of blue pickup trucks and his disciples stood in the governor’s path.

A ground-swell of the public (whites) rode side-by-side with Duke and the target was Roemer more so than the issue, Fiscal Reform, itself. 

Roemer’s ultimate challenge was abortion as he ran into the most emotional issue in decades.  He was not just fighting for women’s rights he was taking on his own party and more importantly, religion.  He was ultimately beat by the legislature when it over-rode his veto which is as rare in politics as ethics in government.

After that, Roemer was political dead meat and the state was cleansed of his presence only four years after he came to town with mop in hand promising to scrub.

It is true that Jindal has been criticized for spending too much time currying the favor of outside contributors who have and should have little to say about what happens in Louisiana, yet whose fundraising presence is speaking loud and clear.  It is also correct that his polls have dropped a bit after parading on the book and campaign tour as the voters in the state began to wonder, where’s Bobby?

However, he has never faced a Katrina where his voters were living in FEMA trailers or uprooted from the neighbors and families.  Also, either he is too wise or just plainl lucky as Jindal has not stood eye-ball to eye-ball to a hostile majority of Louisiana on a single issue and especially never over an issue such as race or lord forbid, the church.

With the conservative winds prevailing in Louisiana, it is unlikely that in the overall scheme of things, over the course of this administration, Jindal will run the risk of opposing the boiling anger of the people who pay him.

Which means Governor Bobby Jindal will unlikely not have to dig really deep into the gut of political courage or leadership, that is, perhaps until he is under contract with an altogether different employer.  

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