Gov. Bobby Jindal gives a crisp salute to the Louisiana National Guard soldiers standing outside the Governor’s Mansion as he climbs aboard a Blackhawk helicopter for another trip to the Gulf of Mexico. Today’s mission: a tour of the E-4 sand berm under construction in the Chandeleur Islands, one of six artificial barriers authorized by the Army Corps of Engineers and a linchpin in the governor’s strategy for containing the oil from the ruptured Macondo deepwater well. But first, the governor makes a stop at Lakefront Airport to pick up the national news media — camera crews from ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN and a reporter for The Washington Post — who quickly climb aboard for a noisy 30-minute ride to a narrow strip of sand where a 24-hour dredging operation is under way.
“We need the federal government to get in this war to win it,” Jindal said.
So begins the article in today’s Times Picayune which discusses Bobby’s political revamp, branded in the fading shadow of what once was an oil platform and is now his very own disasterpiece, a new platform to stand on, a political platform. While Bobby Jindal was once a rising star in the Republican Party, he had disappeared over the past year or two, unwillingly acceding the spotlight to the Palins and Tea Partiers of the country, but with the advent of the Catastraphuk, the times, they are a changin’ and the spotlight is back on; the repackaging and re-branding has begun in earnest.
Problem is, Jindal as savior of the oil spill is a lie, made-up, a self-tailored image…but first, a little background:
Up until British Petroleum’s Gulf of Mexico Catastrophuk, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Jindal. Once a front runner for 2012, his chances had been squashed by a horrible speech he gave in response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. His presentation was that of an outclassed school kid and in his speech he did something no Republican should really do, he tried to use Katrina to show himself in a good light, relaying a story of himself standing shoulder to shoulder with a local sheriff, both trying to do battle with bureaucratic red tape to save stranded victims. Good story, but also a total fabrication. Almost before his speech ended, Jindal was being roundly mocked by everyone with a microphone. It had been devastating to any chance at the presidency and even worse than being hit with scandal, Jindal had been resigned to irrelevance…and this was soon followed with the usual humdrum politics of most office holders.
A few examples:
Jindal campaigned for the governorship of Louisiana under an umbrella of promoting strong ethics, almost a pre-req for any Louisiana politician, but once in office Jindal had proceeded to weaken the state’s ethics board. He accomplished this by removing the power to enforce ethical violations from the Louisiana Board of Ethics and gave it to administrative law judges who are appointed by the governor’s office. Nine of the eleven ethics board members resigned in protest and it should also be noted that Jindal completed this transfer of power while he, himself was under investigation for ethical violations. Jindal also fought transparency in state government by killing house bill 169, citing executive privilege, instead promoting a different law that while it did slightly expand the release of state records, it forever sealed all records relating to the governor, including who or what influenced his own decisions. When it came to the federal stimulus money, Jindal railed against the federal plan but quietly accepted 1 billion dollars to shore up the Louisiana budget, while not so quietly rejecting 98 million dollars to shore up unemployment insurance, 9.5 million to expand health insurance to welfare recipients who start a job and 55.3 million dollars to help provide health insurance to the uninsured, all while his state’s largest city, New Orleans still had no public hospitals. It could also be mentioned that Jindal, of course, provided state jobs to over 200 of his largest campaign donors.
Routine stuff in the governor’s office…nothing to really make a splash on any kind of national level so unfortunately, the nation’s last real image of Jindal was still that speech, the one where people compared him to Kenneth the Page on 30-Rock.
But then came April 20th…and Jindal was soon thrust into the spotlight.
Well, perhaps thrust is the wrong word.
Let’s say Jindal ran screaming to the spotlight and began doing parlor tricks for every major television channel and newspaper reporter he could locate. He railed against the poor response by the federal government, British Petroleum, the Coast Guard, essentially anyone who isn’t himself, or his cronies. He gave press conferences every day and spoke in militaristic terms of a fight against the oil. He demanded resources. He demanded the National Guard. He demanded boom to save the marshes and he demanded sand berms. Time magazine began writing articles about his political resuscitation. CNN again started taking his calls. He was no longer the whipping boy of the political has-been club, instead he was flying high on the periodical covers of the world, shouting at the Obama administration, demanding they “lead or get out of the way.”
Problem with all this: Jindal is uninterested in full disclosure of the facts.
In regards to his Louisiana’s preparedness and handling of an oil catastraphuk, it should be noted that over the last decade the State’s oil spill coordinator’s office had it’s budget slashed by 50 percent, a trend Jindal continued while in office. Last year, Jindal cut funding from the state’s oil spill research program, and in the state’s oil spill contingency plan, there are pages of blank charts where details of available supplies such as booms and skimmers should be while the part of the plan dealing with a worst case scenario was labeled, “to be developed.” The federal response plan, or lack there of Jindal keeps screaming about was signed off on by state officials before the oil spill, and even though Jindal rages at the Federal government for not having enough boom, he demanded three times more boom then the state plan he signed off on, called for.
Oh and of course, Bobby Jindal has since sealed all of the state’s oil spill records.
Now let’s take a closer look at two more items related to the oil spill, the Louisiana National Guard and of course, those infamous sand berms.
Bobby made an immediate call for National Guard troops to help contain the oil. He demanded five thousand troops and then shortly thereafter attacked Obama every chance he got for not delivering. Problem is, he did get them, 6000 of them and so far has only deployed 1053 of the troops available. When CBS caught him in this lie, they immediately challenged his statements, but he continued to deny receiving the troops, that is, until CBS returned and provided him with proof of their existence. At this point, he admitted he had access to the Guard and further added, “no comment.”
The troops, even at this date, have yet to be deployed.
And then we have the sand berms:
“While Jindal has relentlessly promoted the islands as the best method for keeping BP’s oil out of the state’s interior coastal marshes, critics say they are likely to wash away with the first hurricane and that the land-bridge construction is diverting resources from other measures that might be more effective, if not quite as camera-friendly,” and the sand berms are indeed already washing away as predicted. “In 18 years in the governor’s office,” one scientist said, “I’ve never seen an administration where science is such an alien concept.” And then there is the Shaw Group, the company that received the no-bid contracts to construct the sand berms. This is the same company who received several no-bid contracts after Hurricane Katrina, where their track record was less than admirable. Despite being bigwigs in the rounds of the Democratic party, the Shaw Group has also been a supporter of one, Bobby Jindal. The Gulf Coast scientific community is united against these sand berms, stating they do minimal good while damaging the environment, the very grasslands they are meant to save.
Jindal’s actions are politically minded, the response, his charges against the feds and what he leaves out of his statements to the press, and it’s disappointing.
In a final word from the article in the Times Picayune, Jindal is quoted as insisting that the spillover effects on his own career as a result of this catastraphuk are the furthest thing from his mind. “I don’t know and I don’t care,” Jindal said. “The focus shouldn’t be on me; it should be on the state.”
Well Mr. Jindal, from what I understand you’re never in that helicopter alone.
The state ain’t that stupid
Read the article:
And, have a nice day.
Ed Note: It should be noted that by attacking Jindal as a fraud, this is no way meant to offer support to BP, the Coast Guard or the Federal response to this catastraphuk. I am merely trying to show that Jindal is not outside of the problem, he is part and parcel to it, along with everybody else.
They are all assholes, united.