The Republican Party must be in a pretty sorry condition these days for the hottest prospect for the vice presidential nomination is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. According to the National Journal’s Hotline “Veepstakes,” Jindal is now ranked second. He is being pushed hard by influential conservative activists such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and editorial writers such Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner. They are part of the chorus who are singing Jindal’s praises and encouraging the presumptive GOP nominee to choose the Louisiana Governor as his running mate.
All of this chatter is quiet disturbing for these “Beltway Boys” have not done their homework on Louisiana’s Governor. They are drinking the Kool-Aid supplied by the Jindal public relations machine.
The Jindal team has been preparing for his rise to national prominence from the beginning of his political career in the 2003 campaign for Governor of Louisiana. After losing that race, Jindal immediately began a campaign for Congress, which he used as a stepping stone to run for Governor in 2007. Upon his election, Jindal instantly started traveling across the country.
In the last five years, his travel has served several purposes such as selling a book, giving political speeches and raising money for the Republican Party. What has been missing from these travel plans is any actual work for his constituents who should be receiving his undivided attention. No Louisiana Governor has ever spent so much time out of the state on personal and political business. Every time the Governor travels, the struggling taxpayers of Louisiana have to pay for his security detail; however, the well funded Jindal campaign refuses to reimburse the state treasury for this ever growing expense.
While Jindal has been playing selfish politics, he has neglected to help fellow Republicans in Louisiana. In the 2008, U.S. Senate race, Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy received a late and half hearted endorsement from Jindal. This was better than Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne received in his 2011 race against a well funded Democrat. In that race, Jindal refused to endorse the Republican candidate, preferring to bypass the Louisiana election in favor of generating another political IOU outside of the state.
The “Beltway Boys” claim that Jindal is a “strong conservative.” If so, why hasn’t Jindal ever appeared at a Tea Party event in Louisiana or lifted a finger to help the most important conservative political movement to appear in this country in generations? Obviously, Jindal does not share the same conservative values as Tea Party members. A Governor who supports John Alario, a former top lieutenant to liberal Governor Edwin Edwards, as Louisiana State Senate President is no conservative.
In this legislative session, he is pushing to raid state accounts, such as the Rainy Day Fund, to balance a budget with a deficit of $220 million. Real conservatives in the Louisiana House of Representatives are opposing Jindal’s tactics, which he has used every year since being elected Governor.
Overall, he has delivered no fiscal reform and his one important tax reform initiative, a lowering of state income taxes, was only accomplished after the legislature forced him to support the repeal of the dreaded “Stelly” tax plan. He showed his appreciation to legislators by vetoing their legislative pay raise, after publicly promising them he would support it.
Overall, the Jindal for VP phenomenon is hopefully a passing and distressing fade, like the Pet Rock or New Coke. To the Romney campaign it would be wise to remember the old adage, “let the buyer beware.” While the packaging of Governor Jindal may be slick, it would be wise to open him up and look inside; it is an entirely different story.