Friday, 25 March 2011 19:30

Jindal Takes On South Louisiana On Redistricting, Why?

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Stephen Sabludowsky--Bayoubuzz PublisherI believe Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal will go down into history as the state’s most powerful and artful politician.

That’s not much to expect for the Ivy Leaguer, Rhodes Scholar who headed two major government agencies shortly after his voice changed into adulthood.

While school is out as to whether his government’s trains run on time, few can doubt his political efficacies.

Tags: Jindal, Louisiana redistricting, Louisiana governor, Louisiana government, south Louisiana, North Louisiana, louisiana legislature, Governor Jindal, Baton Rouge

Think about it.  He was considered to be a VP possibility before the half-mark in his administration. He has been on more national news talk shows than all of his predecessors put together—excepting for perhaps Gov. Blanco and only due to Katrina.

As he scurried off to the western skies on Thursday for another fundraiser, he already has well over nine million dollars in campaign booty with not a challenger in sight.  Not bad for a man, whose family came from India, who changed his name years ago to Bobby apparently so he would be better received in his then “cow town” home, Baton Rouge.  

Over the past few years, I, and I believe others, have learned to read past the Governor’s spoken words.

After all, in this game of political chess, we would expect a deep thinker going through many moves coming from a “brainiac” who can think three times faster and talk six times quicker than the normal mortal?  In fact, it’s actually six and twelve time faster when we compare him to the average Louisianian.

So, when Jindal says he is “fer or a’gin” something for some reason, I often scratch my head and wonder why?  Whatssup?

Distilling the real motives for his words and actions have been made so much more difficult since his national ambitions have become so apparent over the past four years.

Just call me cynical, but I consider myself experienced.

On Sunday, I heard Governor Jindal’s five minute speech to kick off the grimy special session on that act of preservation named “redistricting”.  Actually, it was a twenty minute speech for most of us  orators which Jindal neatly compressed into five.

Anyway, I listened to every word and heard his plea for bi-partisanship and sometimes even non-partisanship.  He told us how we do things so much better than they do in Washington D.C. since our legislatures line up parties of votes from republicans and democrats alike to get things done rather than vote across party lines as they do at the big house in our nation’s  Capitol.  

In talking to his staff, I left Baton Rouge with the clear impression that Governor Jindal was going to let the legislators forge agreements on redistricting and that he would stay in the background.  I was wrong.  Instead, strangely, he has come out in front in strongly supporting map plans that benefit North Louisiana over its brethren, the South.

After hearing of his position, I began to wonder, why in nature would the Governor do this?

After all, taking a position on a non-partisan issue predicated upon regionalism rather than philosophy would anger at least forty percent ( if not much higher) of the state who is disadvantaged by that decision.  In the past, he has had the right-wing and the conservatives to support his agenda.  By taking sides, he will be criticized by some of those very groups and voters, thereof, south of mid-line State of Pelican.

Thus, as I scratch my head, I ask again—why would he do this?  So far, he has escaped having to take any real risky political position on any issue, so why would he do it now when the Democrats are scrounging around for a candidate?

The best I understand at this point is that having two U.S. Congressmen from North Louisiana makes sense as that area needs the Congressional support more than the rest of this state.

If that is the reason for Jindal’s position, so be it.  Obviously, based upon the disbelief already coming out of south Louisiana, if that is the Guv’s stake, then he will have to defend it on the merits.

But, then, my cynicism kicks in.

Ok.  Is that really it?  If not, and there’s really more than what’s  being expressed, what goes?

There are some who believe that Jindal is simply afraid of North Louisiana, never ever forgetting the Bubba vote that turned against him when a younger Bobby Jindal lost a big lead within days of the election to an experienced-Kathleen Blanco .

There is also another and much more dark reason posited by The Advocate, the Baton Rouge daily who would logically be in favor of keeping a Congressman for the South since the city is only 80 miles are so from New Orleans.


Today, the Advocate said, “All that is hard enough, but two other factors are in play.

“Maintaining two districts exclusively in that region, based on the major cities of Shreveport and Monroe, is mathematically impossible. But both the chairmen of the relevant legislative committees are from north Louisiana, and two Republican congressmen from the area don’t want to be lumped together — any more than do any of their brethren from the south.

Why shouldn’t northern areas be put into one district? The commonalities of Shreveport and Monroe are far greater than a district sweeping all the way into Acadiana from the Arkansas border, just to serve the interests of incumbent members.

“Add another stress point: the national political parties. One potential map on the table divides north Louisiana between two districts through various contortions on the map, but one district would be more favorable territory for a Democratic candidate. Another plan is intended to be more favorable to retention of two GOP members from the area.

It does not take any special insight to assume that the national parties, via Gov. Bobby Jindal or other prominent party leaders, are involved behind the scenes in this discussion.”

Which comments makes me wonder even louder.  No doubt, the Governor has national ambitions as prior actions and his own book tells us so.  No doubt Governor Jindal has raised more money outside of Louisiana than most of us will spend in a life time.

No doubt, six congressmen out of seven (five republicans) favor a position and have made it known to the governor.  And no doubt that most of us believe that once our politicos leave the state and move to Washington they never come back for the sirens of big league politics, recognition and money become way too strong.

But, as I am reading the Advocate correctly--if Governor Jindal appears to be selling out the South or any part of the state primarily for party or (for even worse) for his own political gain (over an issue that he needs not have a dog in the fight), then that issue must be debated,  also.

On Sunday, Governor Bobby Jindal, in facing the legislators said, “"We should never take for granted that our leaders work for us, not the other way around. And that's why this session is so important".

Which words put scrutiny behind our legislators’ and our governor’s actions as we watch some state officials fight to safeguard their own jobs and their futures as the rest of us sit by and wonder.

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