Governor Pinocchio engages in coastal class warfare
On September 27, with only 25 days left before the statewide Louisiana election on October 22, I spent a significant amount of time fashioning the crude yard sign shown in the above photo to announce my support for Tara Hollis, one of Bobby Jindal’s nine unknown and cash-strapped rivals for governor. This modest effort symbolizes my limited means but unlimited passion for critical coastal issues, which Bobby is avoiding with his $8 million campaign chest. Tara has only about $3,000 to publicize her support for the coast and other state crises.
On January 14, 2008 our current and no doubt future governor put his left hand on a bible, raised his right hand and repeated the following oath:
“I Piyush Bobby Jindal hereby swear to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States of America and the constitution and laws of this state, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as governor of the State of Louisiana, according to the best of my ability and understanding, so help me God.”
I highlighted the terms faithfully, impartially and so help me God because Governor Jindal is widely described as both very intelligent and very religious, i.e., he certainly understands the meaning of these words. He solemnly pledged to support the state constitution and the best interests of all the residents of Louisiana.
Nevertheless, at least since the Macondo well blowout, he’s clearly been spending most of his time and energy engaged in blatantly partisan efforts that insult the intelligence of let’s say 45% of his constituents statewide and ignore the long term interests (whether they know it or not) of most of his coastal constituents…including me.
As I write this Bobby Jindal is in Mississippi raising money for Phil Bryant, the Republican Lt. Governor and candidate for governor to succeed Haley Barbour. I envision Bobby’s nose gradually extending in Pinocchio fashion with each day that he spends traveling away from his job to elevate his national profile and campaign bank account for himself and other pols.
The governor of Mississippi oversees coastal policy that influences southeast Louisiana, but that subject is unlikely to come up during the event. Sadly, neither man has a clue about how our states are hydrologically joined at the hip.
My frustration with Bobby Jindal has nothing to do with the huge philosophical chasm between him and me, on environmental, public policy, socio-economic…and coastal science issues. Bobby Jindal won the election and he has an absolute right to establish policy in tune with his ultra-conservative political philosophy.
That’s how democracy works and Jindal did me (and I think south Louisiana) a favor when he freed me to speak out on coastal issues by removing me from his staff in September 2008. What I vociferously object to, however is his dereliction of duty as governor and his refusal to carry out his responsibilities to his constituents during the working hours for which our tax dollars pay his salary.
Our state has a 19.2% poverty rate, a 1.8% incarceration rate,** a 38% high school drop out rate…and a rate of coastal land loss in excess of 16 square miles a year. I’m not a lawyer but to neglect these issues in favor of working almost exclusively on efforts for which he was clearly not elected is probably illegal as well as immoral.
I painted and installed the above yard sign for Tara Hollis after reading this report by Maggie Haberman in Politico.com, which includes the following text of a letter that Jindal sent to his wealthy supporters…many out-of-state…soliciting money for our other coastal neighbor, Texas Governor Rick ‘Scary’ Perry. I don’t know whether or not the letter was written on letterhead stationary but I was struck by his rude slurs on his president…and mine:
Friend & Supporter,
The first major deadline in the race for president is rapidly approaching, and my friend and fellow governor Rick Perry needs your help before the end of the week to reach our campaign goal.
This Friday, September 30th, marks the end of the fundraising period for the third quarter. A strong showing on Gov. Perry’s fundraising report will send a clear message that our party wants a nominee who backs up his conservative talk with a conservative walk.
Think about the amazing opportunity we have this election! We can not only relegate the disastrous Obama presidency to the history books, we can elect a conservative Republican with the vision to get America working again and a proven record to back up his claims.
Rick Perry’s record provides the strongest possible contrast to President Obama’s liberal record of failure. He invested nearly $400 million in state tax dollars to secure the border, while Washington has neglected its constitutional responsibility. He helped Texas gain more than a million jobs, while the rest of the country lost nearly 2.5 million jobs on the president’s watch.
Gov. Perry entered the race just six weeks ago – meaning other candidates have had twice as much time to raise funds for this quarterly report. He needs our help before Friday to show just how strong our grassroots campaign truly is.
I hope you will join me in supporting Rick Perry before the September 30 deadline. Help him reach his goal at RickPerry.org so we can get America working again!
Bobby Jindal?Governor of Louisiana
Sign the Petition
On September 27 Jim Engster interviewed Gus Weill, Louisiana native, legendary political authority and campaign manager for former Governor John McKeithen. When Rick Perry’s position on Social Security came up, Weill said, “He sounds like a nut.” When Jim reminded Gus that Jindal has endorsed Perry, Gus replied, “Like I said, he sounds like a nut!” as in “What’s your point?”
Other choice quotes from Weill:
You know everybody is not wealthy. Some us are not big oil men or super industrialists; some of us are just plain people and government has got to look out for us. That’s the way it has to be in a democracy.
The decline of the Democratic party in Louisiana can be traced to (1) the increase in the prominence of the oil industry…and (2) championing integration and the cause of black people…That’s why today Louisiana is perhaps the most conservative state in the nation.
My dream is that conservatism in Louisiana would some day return to its roots as articulated by Teddy Roosevelt, who truly appreciated our coast.
*Founding editor firstname.lastname@example.org
**Highest in the nation.