The unfolding tragi-comedy known as the Bobby Jindal campaign just keeps getting weirder but it’s hard to imagine it getting any creepier than his crude re-creation of America’s Funniest Videos episode in which he attempts to exploit his children—except it wasn’t really funny.
Apparently it was some kind of desperate, pathetic stunt designed to project his image as a family values candidate. Instead, it served up a sure-to-become-viral video that rivals his pitiful performance in that abysmal Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmNM0oj79t8
It’s almost enough to make us forget that exorcism he performed on “Susan” during his years as a student at Brown University. http://www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?did=1294-jindal
We’re talking, of course, about that cozy family gathering around a patio table, apparently at the governor’s mansion, during which he breaks the news in the most contrived, stilted manner possible that “mommy and daddy” are running for president—complete with the amateurishly scripted promise of a puppy “if we move into the White House.”
That his wife, Supriya, would be a part of such a blatantly manipulative display is in itself worthy of analysis by parenting experts but we will leave that argument for others. https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/inside-bobby-jindals-bizarre-trick-on-his-kids-122433837582.html
The performance drew such negative reaction that the video, which had been featured at the top of the web page announcing his candidacy, was removed altogether within hours of its posting.
But it did prompt some creative voiceover editing by a web site called Funny or Die, which resulted in this parody of the family discussion of his candidacy: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/fc8ad653ff/bobby-jindal-campaign-announcement-video-i-m-going-to-do-a-bad-job?_cc=__d___&_ccid=87jc4s.nqjwjn
Even Jon Stewart took the opportunity to lampoon the Jindal clan’s confab on the Daily Show:
All of which brings us to his formal announcement in Kenner on Wednesday.
What first was one of those aha! moments about the possible violation of state ethics and civil service rules quickly evaporated but at the same time raised new questions about the crowd attending that announcement.
There she was, smiling in her red dress as she stood in the crowd behind Bobby Jindal as he declared that he was officially a candidate for the Republican nomination for President.
Article X Section 9, parts A and C of the Louisiana State Constitution spell it out in clear and unmistakable terms:
- No member of …the classified service shall participate or engage in political activity; be a candidate for nomination or election to public office …or take active part in …any political campaign, except to exercise his right as a citizen to express his opinion privately, to serve as a commissioner or official watcher at the polls, and to cast his vote as he desires.
- Political Activity Defined. As used in this Part, “political activity” means an effort to support or oppose the election of a candidate for political office or to support a particular political party in an election.
(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
Jessica Starns, formerly legal counsel for Troy Hebert’s Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, and until recently, a state classified (civil service) employee, attended Jindal’s big coming out party, and was even allowed (or perhaps required?) to actually share the stage with him and his family when he announced that he would do for the U.S. what he’s done for Louisiana.
It was more than a photo-op; this was an extended live, made-for-television event on national display in its finest pageantry. You’d probably call it a warm fuzzy for lack of a better term.
But a state classified employee attending, nay, participating in a political campaign event is strictly verboten under the Louisiana Constitution which Jindal was sworn to uphold.
Except that upon checking with Civil Service, we found that Starns is no longer a classified employee. Nor is she still at ATC.
It turns out that as of March 30 of this yer, she has a brand new title and classification. She is now an unclassified (appointed) $96,750 per year “advisor,” assigned to the Executive Office (governor). That means, of course, that her attendance at the event was legal after all.
While that quickly became a non-story, it did raise this question:
- How many other state unclassified employees attended either by choice or mandatory dictate to show their enthusiastic support of Jindal? Or more accurately, to pack the crowd to make it appear Jindal had a groundswell of popular support? Unclassified employees, after all, serve at the pleasure of the governor. (And to tell the unvarnished truth, some of the ones in the photo looked for the world like they would’ve preferred being somewhere—anywhere—else.)
Not that Jindal or his handlers would ever participate in such a crass exercise as a tightly-controlled event like say, a scripted family meeting on the patio of the governor’s mansion.