Peter Schroeder, a writer for The Hill, has drunk the Kool-Aid.
The Hill is a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. that covers the U.S. Congress with an emphasis on business, lobbying and political campaigns and is one of the first web pages accessed each day by those wishing to stay abreast of events in the nation’s capital.
But Sunday’s story by Schroeder has to leave readers in Louisiana scratching their heads and wondering about his credentials or his sanity—or both.
His story, The New and Improved Jindal, touts the prospects of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Iowa, R-New Hampshire, R-Anywhere but Louisiana) as a legitimate challenger for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/219759-the-new-and-improved-bobby-jindal
Perhaps unwittingly, however, the headline to his story may have provided an insight to what’s in store for the Boy Blunder.
By invoking the term “new and improved,” we immediately are left with the idea that he is being packaged and sold like so much washing powder or toothpaste—or perhaps more appropriately, toilet paper.
To bolster his evaluation of Jindal as a real comer, Schroeder relied on people like Tony Perkins, founder of the Louisiana Family Forum, former legislator, failed U.S. Senate candidate and president of the Family Research Council and Jindal’s former chief of staff, current political adviser Timmy Teepell and Baton Rouge political pollster Bernie Pinsonat.
The fact that Jindal and Perkins are in lock step on family values issues does not exactly make Perkins an impartial observer and Teepell certainly has much to gain if he and his consulting company, OnMessage, can ride Jindal’s coattails into the White House (or as Sarah Palin would say, 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue).
Schroeder also hangs his analysis on a single speech by Jindal last week when he cracked a couple of jokes that actually got chuckles from his conservative audience at the Values Voters Summit in Washington. “Jindal showed a dynamic style as he paced across the state,” he wrote.
What!!? Really? You’re staking your writing career on that thin bit of evidence?
Well, not exactly. There is this from Teepell:
“Most people’s impression of his speaking skills go back to his State of the Union response (of 2009), which was just a terrible speech.
“You’re having to do it (speaking) all the time, and on a number of different issues every single day, and so he just gets better and better.”
So, there you have it. By Teepell’s own admission, Jindal is making these speeches “every single day,” which leaves damned little time for him to devote his attention to the mundane duties of governor—a job to which he was re-elected by 67 percent of 20 percent of the state’s voters, a veritable mandate.
If he’s such a rising star, perhaps Schroeder can explain to us how Jindal managed to finish behind “nobody” in a recent straw poll. Maybe he can tell us why he remains a bottom feeder in the polls, along with Palin who can’t seem to get the address of the White House right.
Jindal’s supporters argue that his low numbers can be attributed to the fact that voters in the heartland don’t know him, not because they don’t like him.
News flash: we know him in Louisiana and his numbers have never been lower here and it’s precisely because we do know him.
Louisiana pollster Bernie Pinsonat said Jindal simply needs an issue that will give him national exposure.
We have several such issues:
- He was for Common Core before he decided it would be politically expedient to oppose it.
- He regularly hopped all over north Louisiana handing out stimulus money at Protestant churches and “awarding” military veterans’ pins during his first term but has not visited a single church of any stripe nor has he delivered any military pins since his re-election where only 20 percent of registered voters even bothered to vote.
- He has bankrupted the state with tax giveaways to corporations while attempting to rip state employees’ pensions from them with a patently unconstitutional legislative bill.
- He is now attempting to do the same thing with state worker health benefits while at the same time depleting the fund balance of the Office of Group Benefits.
- He has handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable state contracts to consultants and favored firms.
- His hand-picked Secretary of Health and Hospitals has been indicted on nine counts of perjury in connection with one of those contracts.
- He has given away the state hospital system to private entities though the move has yet to be approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
- He has repeatedly cut the budgets of higher education in Louisiana.
- He has consistently promoted school vouchers and charter schools at the expense of low-income students who are left in the underfunded public schools.
- He attempted to give the State Police Superintendent a $55,000 a year retirement raise while ignoring rank and file state police and state employees.
- He has broken his promise not to use one-time money for recurring expenses—not once, but six times.
- He has enveloped the governor’s office in secrecy.
- He has cloaked himself in a mantle of self-righteousness that is betrayed by his callous lack of concern for the people of Louisiana.
“People are going to have plenty of time to get a better impression of Gov. Jindal,” Teepell said. “That (2009) speech won’t be the only thing they remember about him.”
The business of remaking or re-packaging of the new and improved Jindal reminds of the wisdom of Mark Twain who said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
As far as we’re concerned, Jindal is going to have plenty to try to remember in his quest for the brass ring that is the GOP nomination.
Or, as we prefer to think, if you’re genuine—if you’re the real deal—there’s really no need for a makeover.
And if ever a person needed a makeover, it’s Jindal.