Charlotte Hays

Governor Bobby Jindal has committed a shocking faux pas.

A headline from Time magazine summed up the Louisiana hick's horrific impropriety this way:

Jindal Breaches White House Protocol to Take Shots at Obama.

Poor, hopeless rube from Louisiana, Mr. Jindal obviously left his copy of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier back home in the swamps. The governor mistook the National Governors Association’s meeting—including the White House visit—as an opportunity for a frank conversation about the problems the country faces. Not least of the governor's social sins, Jindal appears to have expected a Louis XIV-style levee at the White House to be a give-and-take session on the nation's future. Well, I never!

Just to reassure you: I must hasten to add that the “shots” fired by Mr. Jindal were verbal shots only—of the sort that American politicians have fired at our chief executive since the republic began. But court etiquette has evolved.

Poor Mr. Jindal was so unaware of the perfect courtier's rules that are now followed in Washington that shortly after meeting with President Obama the Louisiana naif did the unthinkable: Jindal took to the mic at a governors’ press conference and criticized President Obama’s handling of the economy.

Without preamble, Jindal stated that the Obama administration is “waving a white flag” on economic issues. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal added. Jindal stated his views firmly but without rudeness, rancor or name calling. Still, he was out of sync with current etiquette.

In the telling of an aghast Time magazine scribe, Jindal “launched into a repeated assault on President Barack Obama’s leadership in the shadow of the West Wing, in defiance of established bipartisan protocol.” I’m no protocol officer, but I distinctly remember how in the old days people were not considered lepers if they left a White House meeting and spoke their minds. (Here is a clip of some of what Jindal said.)

The previously-quoted Court Circular couldn’t get over Jindal’s rudeness:

[Jindal’s] remarks were a sharp contrast from the focus on cooperation and carefully watered-down criticism of Obama offered by Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the chair of the NGA.


Charlotte Hays

Director of Cultural Programs at the Independent Women's Forum.