Monday Reads: Take our Governor, Please!!

resizeGood Morning!

So, I’m going there.

I never really thought it possible for one politician holding one political office to do so much damage to one state but Louisiana stands out these days as an example of who not to elect as Governor.  Kansas, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio  also have governors that are doing an extraordinary job of tanking their economies, public institutions and services, and general standard of living.  However, Bobby Jindal stands head and shoulders above the rest.  It’s undoubtedly because the state puts a lot of power into the office via its Constitution and that he’s being enabled by some of the worst state legislators in my life time.  Mind you, I come from Nebraska which has some of the most pathetic state government officials in the country so I do know bad elected officials when I see them.  Bobby Jindal may go down in history as the worst elected official ever.  He’s definitely got a shot at it.

Jindal’s most recent national headline is this: “As he nears a 2016 bid, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal hits political bottom”. 

Just weeks before he is expected to announce his presidential campaign, Bobby Jindal is at the nadir of his political career.

The Republican governor is at open war with many of his erstwhile allies in the business community and the legislature. He spent weeks pushing a “religious freedom” bill that failed to pass, while having little contact with legislators trying to solve Louisiana’s worst budget crisis in 25 years.

Jindal is now so unpopular in deep-red Louisiana that his approval rating plunged to 32 percent in a recent poll — compared with 42 percent for President Obama, who lost the state by 17 percentage points in 2012.

Shorter Poll Results:  We hate him here. And why not?  His last few years in office have been more about his run for the presidency than for governing our state.  When he does “govern”, his moves are calculated to please Grover Norquist or the Dinosaur Jeebus Vote.

In recent months, Jindal has focused his political energy here on trying to appeal to social conservatives nationally by pushing the Marriage and Conscience Act, which would have prohibited the state from taking “adverse action” against those opposed to same-sex marriage. But the measure died last month in the legislature amid opposition from major corporations that feared boycott threats by gay rights groups viewing such measures as sanctioning discrimination.

The legislature is also in the final days of grappling with the budget crisis, which was caused, in part, by personal and corporate tax cuts passed under Jindal’s watch that haven’t paid for themselves.

Yet he has kept up his thinly veiled 2016 travels, having appeared at political events Monday in New Hampshire and Tuesday in Florida. Jindal will announce his plans in New Orleans on June 24.

National news coverage of Jindal has been scathing but it appears he has reached that point of craving attention so badly that he’ll take anything that makes him look relevant and pseudo-tough.  The oddest144881_600 recent political remark made by Jindal is on Lincoln Chafee and the metric system.  The manchild once hailed as a science wunderkin and policy wonk has stooped to allowing and enabling state schools to teach Dinosaur Jeebus stories as science and screeching on national TV about the perils of adopting a metric system.  I’m pretty sure that no other Republican official quite represents the “stupid party” as well as the Governor who has made a total mess of our state.

According to a report in Politico published Thursday, a reporter asked for Jindal’s take on the metric system as part of a larger story about how Chafee had “inadvertently touched one of the more obscure third rails of American politics” when he announced he was running for president. The governor’s response, according to the report, came from Jindal staffer Mike Reed.

“Typical Democrat — wants to make America more European,” Reed said. “Gov. Jindal would rather make the world more American.”

Reed confirmed the response to Politico in an email. Vox called the comments “the greatest attack of the 2016 campaign so far.”

As Politico notes, the metric system has hardly been a pressing subject for presidential candidates. But in a huge field of Republican candidates running or exploring running for president, Jindal is indicating there’s no issue too small to outline his position on.

Bob Mann, LSU professor, blogger, and politico, neatly sums up the floundering governor’s hat dance to find relevancy.

He has the scent of desperation about him. He’s made too many gaffes and too many dumb statements. It’s not just his nationally televised face plant in 2009, responding to President Obama’s speech to Congress (most recently ridiculed by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show”); it’s a puzzling stream of gaffes and strange statements that usually seem to get him into the news for all the wrong reasons. For example, instead of making news for his foreign policy expertise, Jindal was ridiculed for a week or more over his strange and unsubstantiated allegations in London about European “no-go zones.” Most recently, there was his silly attack on former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee over the metric system. Jindal once lectured his party about the need to stop acting stupid. Too often, these days, Jindal looks like the leader of his party’s Stupid Wing.

large_jindalJindal’s cult-like devotion to Grover Norquist has been gathering more and more interest from politicians and locals alike.  The entire state budget is hung up in a crazy attempt to keep some kind of “no tax” pledge while careening towards eminent financial disaster.

The governor has threatened to veto any budget plan or tax bills that don’t meet Norquist’s “no tax” requirements. Currently, the governor is pushing the Legislature to adopt a controversial higher education tax credit — commonly called SAVE — that Jindal says will make the budget comply with Norquist’s wishes.

Robideaux and others don’t like SAVE and have argued the tax credit could lead to tax hikes in the future. Through the letter, they are asking Norquist to push back on the SAVE legislation.

“We are deeply concerned about the clear and present danger posed by this bill. As conservative Republican legislators, we firmly believe SB 284 is the biggest threat to fiscal responsibility our state has ever faced,” wrote Robideaux, head of the Legislature’s tax-writing committee, in his letter to Norquist.

If passed, SAVE would set up a new higher education tax credit to cover a nonexistent student fee. In spite of the name, the credit wouldn’t save families and students money on college bills. Primarily, it would create the illusion of a tax break, which Jindal can say will “offset” other tax increases in the budget pan.

“SAVE is a misuse of the tax system. The purpose of a tax system is to generate revenue to support needed public services. SAVE does not generate dollars for the state. … It is being used merely to masquerade and promote tax increases,” said the Louisiana’s Public Affairs Research Council,  a nonpartisan state think tank, in a recent report.

In his letter, Robideaux argues SAVE would create a dangerous precedent. The legislation would give future lawmakers a loophole for raising taxes, without being held accountable for doing so, he said.

“If enacted into law, this bill would successfully and irreparably establish the precedent that future legislatures and Governors can raise taxes on a nearly unlimited basis, and then claim revenue neutrality solely based on the creation of a purely fictional, procedural, phantom, paper tax credit,” wrote Robideaux in his letter.

Robideaux asked that Norquist consider Louisiana’s record over the last five to seven years when evaluating Jindal’s “no tax” pledge record. The Legislature and the governor may raise taxes this year — to help close a $1.6 billion budget gap — but they have cut taxes more, when their record over the last few years is taken into account.

“A five-year look on the tax cuts we have already passed, would more than suffice to offset this year’s activity,” wrote Robideaux.

The Governor created a lopside state income statement nearly from the get-go by allowing the legislature to gut a tax policy passed by the voters and designed to even out a tax burden that has always placed the highest burden on the poorest in the state.  Then,he’s spent the last few years robbing all kinds of rainy day funds and selling off state assets like we need a fire sale to make ends meet.  I actually bobby_Jindal_No_Go_Zone_ColorWEBthink he thought he could fool us all until he was well out of office.  However, when you refuse to consider anything remotely “revenue enhancing” you are left with accounting tricks and fire sales. He’s robbed every Peter to enrich Pauls like the film industry.

These days it’s hard to think of anyone who has as much influence over what Jindal’s willing to do than Norquist, whose rigid rules for what constitutes a tax increase line up perfectly with Jindal’s. In practice, that means the governor has insisted that the budget be balanced without tax increases, despite the prospect of devastating cuts to higher education and health care, the two main areas that don’t enjoy constitutional or statutory protection.

And it means some revenue-enhancing ideas the Republican-dominated legislature might support, specifically a reexamination of giveaways to specific industries, are off-limits—because eliminating a tax exemption without an offset that reduces another tax or cuts spending, according to ATR, is raising a tax.

That’s how the inventory tax wound up in everyone’s crosshairs, despite the fact that eliminating the rebate but not the underlying tax would hurt businesses, and getting rid of the tax would devastate some parishes (that’s Louisiana for county). Many companies, it turns out, receive rebate checks that exceed their state tax liability, and in Jindal’s view that makes eliminating the payouts a spending cut, not a tax increase. “Corporate welfare,” he labeled it in his opening address to the legislature, prompting chuckles from those who’ve watched him promote business incentives for years.

In fact, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the frustration with Jindal is that it transcends partisanship.

It’s not just the Democrats who are bristling. It’s many a Republican.

Louisiana Blogger Lamar White–writing now for Salon–believes Jindal’s been crippling the state economy and doing extremist whacky things to capture the “Duggar vote”.  Given that Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have spent decades trying to sew that up I can’t imagine Jindal will be able to peel off any of those tighty whities.  Jindal appears to be launching his campaign in New Orleans to basically tout the state’s post Katrina efforts to break teacher unions and send children to christianist Madrassas and failed and failing for profit McEducation franchises. This plays right into the heart of the paranoid right. It’s always amazing to me that Jindal finds ways to position failing policies as Reaganesque anti-government successes.  These things are not successes. They are state-funded embarrassing failures.

“Bobby Jindal. No one is more popular,” Stephen Colbert joked a few months ago. He meant it literally. “No one” polls higher than Jindal does.

As Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight recently pointed out, Jindal enjoys support from only 1 percent of evangelical, born-again Christians, which seems staggering. This, after all, is the same core constituency he has been aggressively courting since the day he took office.

One of the very first bills he signed into law, the Louisiana Science Education Act, was intended to promote the teaching of new earth creationism, under the rhetorical guise of “intelligent design,” in the public school science classroom. When 78 Nobel laureates and the world’s leading scientific organizations publicly urged Jindal to repeal the law, he instead doubled down. The law represented a major victory for the religious far-right, which had worked for more than three decades to find a way around the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard (a case that involved, perhaps not coincidentally, a Louisiana statute requiring the teaching of creationism).

This year, with the state facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, Jindal, in a speech to the Legislature, announced his support for only one specific piece of legislation, a bill that would have, among other things, allowed private businesses to refuse to serve anyone who supported marriage equality. Not a single legislator — not even the bill’s own author — applauded when Jindal waxed poetic about the existential threats to religious freedom. After the bill failed in committee by a 10-2 vote, Jindal immediately attempted to resurrect it via executive order, and a few minutes after issuing his order, he was on television talking about religious freedom.

No one has worked harder than Bobby Jindal for the support of evangelical Christians. He even invented an award just so he could give it to Willie Robertson; and, in exchange, he became the subject of an entire episode of “Duck Dynasty.” Heorganized a prayer rally on the campus of LSU, which was officially hosted by the American Family Association, a noted anti-gay hate group. He traded in his khakis and buttoned-up polos for belt buckles and cowboy boots. So far this year, he has already tweeted two different photos of himself holding a gun; his Christmas card was of him and his family, dressed in camouflage, posing in a golf cart on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion as if they were somehow on a hunting expedition. On the increasingly rare Sunday mornings that he spends in state, he is usually in the backseat of his helicopter, shuffling between church services in North and Central Louisiana.

None of it seems to have made any difference. But it could, eventually. He intends on defying conventional wisdom, and he has a plan.

635675690240390340-GANNETT-DECISIONSThere are so many Republican politicians in the presidential race that all it takes is success with one of its many cults to get to the small amount it would take to win a state primary.   My guess is that Senator Aqua Buddha can mind control the cult of Crazy Uncle Liberty much better than Jindal will be able to harvest the fecund quivering.  The Republican establishment and money continues to look for its great white hope and may be coming up with Scott Walker with a little Rubio VP on the side. They realize the need to add some kind of flavor to their angry old white man brand. Jindal just really has no place to go. They polls indicate this.  So, the question is wtf is he up to?

There have been a variety of hypotheses floating around by those of us in the state that care about such things.  Some people argue that he may have actually swallowed the koolaid and that he is now a full fledged member of the Krewe of Dinosaur Jeebus. Others feel he is trying to find a job on K Street where he can get his kids into some posh private schools so they don’t have to learn the crap that Jindal is allowing the Krewe of Dinosaur Jeebus to teach here.  Then, there’s a few that think he’s actually aiming for the VP spot.  Frankly, I’m beginning to think he’s totally lost it and is surrounded by sycophants whose job it is to keep him as far away from reality as possible.  He thinks his destiny is the White House and no one is going to deter him from finding out about the strawberries.  Cue the rattling of steel balls in manic hands.

Whatever his goals or delusions, he’s taking an entire state down with him.  It’s also apparent that much like an unwanted reality show, we’re going to have to watch the entire thing play out  on TV and media.  Meanwhile, I was one of the first ones signed up to protest at his announcement on the 24th and I invited everyone I know.   Let it be known, at least, that New Orleans didn’t sign up for any this.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to finally reveal his presidential ambitions this month. Last week, his adviser Timmy Teepell told Politico.com that Jindal will appear at an event in New Orleans on June 24 to, most likely, formally announce he has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republication nomination.

That week, Christopher Williams made a Facebook event —  no location, no time, just June 24 — to “Protest Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement.” It attracted a few hundred attendees in the first couple of days. By Friday, there were 600. As of this post, there are more than 1,700 people who clicked attending. That number keeps climbing. “I knew there was disgust with Jindal,” Williams told Gambit in an email, “but I didn’t realize that it would lead to this much attention.”

Last month, the “Bobby Jindal Exploratory Committee” was formed, and it’s hosting two major events this month — one’s a fundraiser (requesting $2,700 per person) and the other is a reception at the Governor’s Mansion with special guests Les Miles of LSU football and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. Those events are Saturday, June 27, a few days after Jindal’s New Orleans event.

End of rant.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


37 Comments on “Monday Reads: Take our Governor, Please!!”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Excellent and informative post! All these years of you writing about this Fruit Loop and there is never a loss at learning more.

    He has as much chance as earning the nomination as I do. But he keeps on trying bless his soul.

    • dakinikat says:

      Just found out he is not announcing in New Orleans but in Jefferson parish next door and heart of David Duke territory. Scalise’s congressional district and his old congressional district ….

  2. dakinikat says:

    Grover Norquist, Louisiana’s unelected governor: Jarvis DeBerry

    http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2015/06/grover_norquist_louisianas_une.html

    Eleven Republican lawmakers have sent Norquist a letter seeking his opinion on a spending plan for Louisiana.

    Norqist produced a no-new taxes pledge, and our governor signed it. He shouldn’t have. He should have left himself room to do whatever is in the best interests of the state. But he didn’t. He locked himself in.

    We remember President Harry Truman for his phrase, “The buck stops here.” It is, perhaps, the most succinct expression of executive accountability. “I am the man,” that phrase conveys. Whatever happens, good or bad, you can give the credit or the blame to me.

    But in Jindal’s administration, the buck stops with Norquist. I’d be embarrassed, me, if I called myself the governor, and I had to check with somebody else regarding my state’s fiscal policy.

    It’s an abdication of power and of respect.

    Consider the absurdity of Republican lawmakers consulting Norquist on tax policy in Louisiana.

    • So this thing he signed with Norquist, if he breaks it…with all these fellow Republicans begging for relief, you would think that would be a signal that Grover is not as golden as he once was..do you think there is more to it? Like Norquist has something on Jindal and that is why Bobby is so obsessed with doing exactly what Grover says.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Maybe he figured out he’d be laughed out of New Orleans.

    More and more I find myself at a loss for words at what the RWNJs do and say. Jindal seems determined to trump them all as an object of ridicule.

    It would be funny except for all the rest of us who have to live with the effects of their policies.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I found this a heartening story. It gladdens me to think that salamanders! river otters! and other critters will have more freedom to roam naturally.

    Interstate 90 is a lifeline for the Northwest, connecting people and economies across the Cascades and linking the region to the rest of the country.

    For wildlife, though, it’s a killer — and not just because many of them wind up squashed. Multiple lanes of pavement and high-speed traffic bisect habitat more ruthlessly than any fence, isolating populations and undermining the genetic vigor that’s key to long-term survival. But part of that barrier is now being lifted.

    On Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation will break ground east of Snoqualmie Pass on the state’s first freeway overpass for animals. The 150-foot-long structure is designed to provide safe passage for species ranging from black bear and cougar to deer, elk — and even squirrels, mice and lizards. It’s part of an ambitious project to convert a 15-mile stretch of interstate into one of the world’s most wildlife-friendly highways.

    “This is really a remarkable effort,” said Patricia Garvey-Darda, a biologist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. “The goal is to connect all the species and all the habitat.” When finished, the section of I-90 from Hyak to Easton will incorporate more than 20 major underpasses and overpasses engineered partly or wholly with wildlife in mind. Dozens of small culverts will also be rebuilt to allow easier passage. Four new underpasses are already open, and cameras are capturing images of deer, ducks, coyotes and river otters moving through.

  5. roofingbird says:

    Glad you aren’t in Shreveport right now, Dak.

  6. dakinikat says:

    College student Zach Koppelin wrote this:

    Kids in Louisiana are reading from the Book of Genesis in science classes

    Read more: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/06/louisiana_science_education_school_boards_principals_and_teachers_endorse.html#ixzz3cXNerpWd

  7. dakinikat says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html?_r=0

    Great discussion of living your entire life as a woman and women’s “brains”.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      That was a very good piece.

    • janicen says:

      Yes, a lot of excellent points made in the comments as well.

    • NW Luna says:

      …Imagine the reaction if a young white man suddenly declared that he was trapped in the wrong body and, after using chemicals to change his skin pigmentation and crocheting his hair into twists, expected to be embraced by the black community.

      I completely agree on this. I’ve wondered if the “born in the wrong body” rationale is part of the continuum of whether you’re comfortable in your own skin. If we should not judge people based on their physical appearance — whether plump or skinny, large- or small-breasted, tall or short, etc. — why is thinking you would feel at home in a body with different genitals that much different from a teenaged girl thinking she would feel at home in a body with breast enlargement? If what Jenner looks forward to the most is wearing nail polish until it chips, then the problem is with cultural stereotypes, not with body shape. What about acceptance for crones instead of “sex babes”?

      • janicen says:

        Yes. As well, what exactly does it mean to “feel” like you are a particular gender since gender is conditioned. Would someone who identifies as trans in an Islamic culture have a burning desire to wear a hijab? How is there a biological need to dress as a caricature of a western woman? And not just any woman, but a woman perceived to be desirable to men. Like some of the commenters pointed out, nobody is having surgery to get the breasts of a 65 year old woman.

        Again, let me stress that I don’t think anyone should be discriminated against and I really don’t care who uses what bathrooms, but I also think we should be allowed to ask these questions and not be labeled as haters or bigots.

        • NW Luna says:

          Agree! Also, the appropriate “female” dress and appearance changes dramatically depending on historical era and culture. Today it’s usually a Barbie-doll type body; at other times fashion/culture has called for bound breasts — or bound feet. Biologically there is nothing inherently female or womanly in tottering on maimed feet — or stiletto heels, for that matter. Either way you’re unable to run.

    • roofingbird says:

      Yep, a good article.

      Why do we only call ourselves “women” while having this sort of discussion? I am beyond fed up with our growing relegation to being labeled “female” like the police do. I always want to respond “female what?” Have you noticed?

      I guess its better than being called a “girl”…. No, its not.

      “That female over there..get her do do this job.” A female was arrested last night at xxx for an altercation over a man.” “Philadelphia Woman Tired of Lack of Female Auto Mechanics Becomes One.” “Female worker probed as possible accomplice in prison break.” “8 Great Female Roles That Were Originally Written for Men.”

      • janicen says:

        Yes, it’s an American thing to use the adjectives, “male” and “female” as nouns. It drives the Brits crazy.

      • dakinikat says:

        I remember in high school that they did a series of tests on us all to get us to the right “career” etc. For some reason, I wound up doing the Sex Inventory. I got called into the District’s Psychologists office and was told I tested extremely male. When I asked why and give me examples, I got things like well, you test as highly ambitious for one. And, you seem to be analytical and aggressive. I looked at him and said is any of this an issue or problem? He’s like well no it’s just usually women don’t test as ambitious. I said, I intend to be a trial lawyer and I believe all those traits are pretty necessary for the job. So, what’s the deal? I guess I got labelled as some kind of outlier because I just don’t define the “feminine” ideal. Any one that friggin knows me knows I’ve been labelled Tomboy forever and I’m pretty insistent on doing everything men do bigger and better. I don’t believe any of this makes me any less a woman. The issue to me is the damned gender labels. I about died when I saw Caitlyn talk about having a female brain. I’m like WTF? I sure as hell don’t have a “female” brain and my uterus worked when I wanted it to and I did a damn good job with my daughters. Both of whom grew up with gender neutral toys which is why they both excel at their STEM careers. It also hasn’t stopped either of them from getting married and throwing on dresses when they feel like it. Any one should be able to throw on dresses and nail polish if they feel like it and not be cornered into some obscene gender role. I just don’t get why the conversation isn’t on the failure of assigned gender roles because Caitlyn still so obviously has Bruce’s privileged white male notion of women. I mean seriously. Men in the UK wear Kilts (including the Prince of Wales). Arab mean wear basically long gowns. Japanese men wear Kimonos. Aren’t those basically fucking dresses? So just because some Western ass white guy discovered pants it’s the only thing that defines you as a man or manly?

        • roofingbird says:

          I missed any test like that, thank you. The Washington pre-college test was the closest that I had to what you refer. That 5 hour test thought I should study Serbo-Croatian or Sanskrit and take astronomy?!? (All far from my then personal self perception.)

          One would think what you say is obvious, but of course it isn’t, because society keeps getting bombarded with crap like this woman’s:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louann_Brizendine

          Then, too, why question what Jenner thinks when so much of his family lives and enables that very attitude? Who watches that bilge? One viewpoint might be that he picked his past family for the very reason that it fed his need, yet allowed him safety.

          Nothing has changed. It won’t until we pass the ERA. In the mean time we are going to continue to be treated to endless variations of fantasy. Fantasy is okay, but it isn’t real. It isn’t a person like you or me with individual skills, talents and thoughts.

        • janicen says:

          Exactly, dak. The notion that there is an inherently female brain opens the door to discrimination against women. You and your daughters are living proof that all of our brains function the same way and female/male behavior is a result of societal conditioning rather than our sex.

  8. UrsineInquisitor says:

    “Frankly, I’m beginning to think he’s totally lost it and is surrounded by sycophants whose job it is to keep him as far away from reality as possible.”

    NOW I get it: Bobby Jindal is actually Michael Jackson. Clever!

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    That was a great rant, Dak. Keep fighting!!!

  10. […] Skydancer notes that Rep. Joel Robideaux (R-Lafayette), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in the letter that the bill, if enacted, “would successfully and irreparably establish the precedent that future legislatures and governors can raise taxes on a nearly unlimited basis and then claim revenue neutrality solely based on the creation of a purely fictional, procedural phantom paper tax credit.” https://skydancingblog.com/2015/06/08/monday-reads-take-our-governor-please/ […]