An aide in the Jindal camp today expressed frustration with the governor’s recent travel schedule, “Look, we’ve been driving through four states in the past month. I didn’t sign on for this. I was under the impression this job was about Louisiana politics, you know, in Louisiana.” In the month of September, Governor Jindal attended GOP fundraisers for presumed presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota, and for Governor candidates Meg Whitman in California and Rick Scott in Florida. He also attended a GOP policy summit in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Republican Governors Association.
“Now, I guess we will be driving to New Hampshire in a couple weeks,” the aide continued, “We certainly can’t fly.”
It is this trip to the Granite State, where the first primaries will be held, that continues to fuel speculation the governor may be planning a run for the Presidency in 2012. The governor has maintained his job in Louisiana is the only job he wants, but most recently in the Gambit, Clancy Dubos suggested the governor was being disingenuous by “raising millions out of state on his perpetual I’m-not-really-running-for-president campaign.” If Jindal indeed is planning a run for higher office, this travel will only increase which is what has led to the aide’s frustration, “A presidential run? As far as I’m concerned, the governor has picked a fine time to begin doubting aeronautics. Really, planes are a hell of a lot safer than the cliff the Louisiana budget’s about to jump from.”
If true, Jindal’s new opposition to the science behind air travel wouldn’t be his first run-in with the scientific community. The governor has had a long love/hate relationship with scientists, tending to endorse the importance and opinions of scientific experts when they agree with policy decisions, while refraining when they are contrary. In his response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, the governor ridiculed government spending on seismic detection and volcano monitoring equipment for California and during the oil spill, he rejected scientific claims that sand berms would be harmful to the environment or simply wouldn’t work. Previous to the spill however, the governor’s office maintained a sincere faith and approval in the scientific technology used for deep water drilling, a faith it has continued to hold in favor of lifting the President’s drilling moratorium.
But now, according to this unnamed aide, Jindal’s suspicion of science has extended itself to the calculations behind wind/speed velocity.
“It was during those berm flyovers, right on the helicopter and we hit an air pocket or something, the helicopter tilted pretty severe and ever since, the governor has been listening more closely to the gravity crowd. Seriously, do you know how long it takes to drive to Fresno, California? And that trip to Florida…we went to Pensacola, Orlando, Jacksonville and St. Petersburg all in one day and then back to Baton Rouge that night. The governor’s driver? He’s having marital difficulties because of all this, but you didn’t hear that from me, okay?”
There are many in Louisiana politics who feel that Jindal should be paying more attention to the fiscal cliff which will hit the state’s budget in February. With a $1.6 billion dollar projected shortfall in the budget, deep cuts will be necessary and little information has come from the governor’s office about what exactly will go under the knife, but since discretionary funding will be the hardest hit, it will likely affect higher education, health care and social services. The governor’s top fiscal advisor, Paul Rainwater said it was too early to discuss specifics, but he did tell state senators the administration will protect “critical services,” and seek to consolidate agency functions, eliminate duplications and hire outside contractors to do services more cheaply.
What they will not do is raise taxes, “We’re not going to support new taxes. We’re going to look for ways to decrease our budget and for ways to do more with less,” Rainwater said.
If Rainwater is correct, it would appear that the state of Louisiana has been wasting an astounding amount of money annually, “Are you saying there’s $2 billion worth of services that are not critically funded?” asked Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, “I’m trying to get an indication of where you think you can achieve this level of savings, or at least some admission to the public of the kinds of services that they’re going to have to do without.”
The governor’s official recommendations aren’t due until March.
When asked about the budget, the aide rolled his eyes, “Man, all I know is Jindal should have named his upcoming book “Real Hope, Real Change – New Conservative Solutions to Rescue America from a Fucking Good Night’s Sleep, because I only get that when I’m in my own bed. If this guy runs for President, either he flies or I quit.”
Have a nice day.