It’s hard to even guess what GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is thinking in allowing Louisiana Governor and frequent flyer addict Bobby Jindal to stalk television cameras as a surrogate campaign spokesman. But whatever Romney is thinking is subject to change if the wind direction changes. So why ponder the puzzle.
Although Romney’s political judgment is sometimes impossible to fathom—dissing Affordable Health Care at the NAACP convention is a good example—surely the retired department store mannequin is not so out-of-touch that he would select Jindal as a running mate. Or for the matter, offer any kind of responsible Cabinet position to Governor Smarty Pants. Apparently, Jindal is a man unaware his shortcomings. He has been conducting an unrelenting campaign to leave Louisiana and the mess he created. Or maybe he is just being duped.
Reminds me of covering the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago when Louisiana’s then Governor, John McKeithen, was decieved into believing he would be Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s running mate—a scheme that was devised to keep Louisiana’s delegation in line during platform debates over civil rights. Unlike Jindal, McKeithen was a pretty progressive Governor. However, he was handicapped by an array of problems in our fair state—labor racketeering, alleged mafia influence on government and racial strife so serious McKeithen bought national television time to assure the nation that Louisianans loved their black brethren. They just didn’t feel comfortable sharing classrooms, swimming pools and other public facilities with “Negroes,” a word the Governor sometimes had trouble pronouncing properly.
Bobby Jindal’s policies are the polar opposite of John McKeithen and most other Louisiana Governors in the last half-century. He is one of the most regressive Chief Executives in the state’s colorful history. And the totality of damage he has inflicted on the state can only be calculated in years to come.
As a boy growing up in Alabama housing projects and in other parts of the deep South, I often heard the expression, “He’s got book learning, but he ain’t got an ounce of common sense”—an envious put-down we poor dummies directed at folks smarter and more upscale than we were. At least in someways. I must be envious of our smarty-pants Governor.
And speaking of envy, it appears that Jindal is jealous of Texas Governor Rick Perry, the man he threw his support behind during the GOP presidential primary. Jindal’e jealousy stems from the fact that Texas now holds the number one spot in the nation for uninsured poor. And by damn, Louisana is going to battle its neighboring state for first place by rejecting expanded Medicaid funds to cover a half million poor people in our state.
Jindal’s decision is a matter of principle rather than logic and/or interest in the welfare of Louisiana citizens on the lower end of the economic strata. Unfortunately, his “principle” places an added burdens on an already stressed health delivery system. But what can be expected of a Governor who unsuccessfully attempted to block the renewal of a minor state tax on tobacco—a deadly drug that regulary supplies patients for the state’s overburdened health care programs.
Bobby Jindal’s so-called “conservative principles” are apparently the same as those embraced by Republican U.S. House of Reprentatives members who voted for the 33rd time this week to overturn the Affordable Health Care Act, knowing full well that the measure would be rejected by the Senate. An over-used cliche describes insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Under that definition, the House is controlled by crazy people.
And crazy is a good word to describe the notion that Governor Smarty-Pants is in the running as Mitt Romney’s running mate—a myth perpertrated and perpetuated by pill-head Rush Limbaugh, ex-disc jockey Glenn Beck, virgin Sean Hannity and a group of right-wingers who are living examples that the nation’s mental health policies of deinstitutionalization are a failure.
There are other factors that disqualify Jindal as a viable running mate. Sad to say in this day and age, Romney’s Mormon religion is an obstacle to his election among many fundamentalist Christians—a large number of whom belong to the “birther” movement and are convinced President Obama is a Muslim, socialist, Marxist and practitioner of voodoo and other occult forms of mysticism, not to mention that he also happens to a man of color.
In 2008, Obama overcame the nuts and sent them whining to Fox “News.” And aided and abetted by the Republican Propaganda Network, they formed the Tea Party, a movement of malcontents and know-nothings now faced with the prospect supporting a presidential candidate whose only appeal to them is he is not Obama—Romney’s trump card perhaps.
But he faces a a long road, given his lukewarm support by conservatives, and it seems highly unlikely that the former Massachusetts Governor will consider as a running mate who challenges evolution, believes Noah lived to be 600 years old, and as a college student once engaged in an exorcism to rid a young woman of her impurities.
The futility of Governor Jindal pathetic effort to leave Louisiana for Washington is actually bad news for the state. The sooner he goes, the quicker an effort can be made to repair the damage he has done to Louisiana’s health and education systems, the state’s ethics code and quality of life programs that are now on life-support. In the absence of Jindal, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne would be a pretty capable guy. At least better than what we have now.
Before that happens, though, Romney must get elected. And if that occurs, having a President devoid of any firm principles he stands for might be a worse disaster for the country than Louisiana is facing under the leadership of an hallucinating Governor.
My memoir, Odyssey of a Derelict Gunslinger: A Saga of Exposing TV Preachers, Corrupt Politicians, Right-Wing Lunatics…and Me is available at amazon.com, soft-cover or Kindle and at independent bookstores like the Cottonwood in Baton Rouge. It offers $19.99 worth of laughs and much more. The book is an account of my illustrious (I choose the adjectives) investigative reporting career.