Courtesy of the Daily Reveille and Matthew Albright:
"Nietzsche Is Dead: Jindal has prospects — but he’s still our governor
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2009
It is now common knowledge among those who follow politics that our governor’s future looks bright.
Republicans have tapped Gov. Bobby Jindal to give the party response to President Barack Obama’s upcoming address to a joint session of Congress.
By choosing Jindal, the party is essentially putting him on the short list of Republican leaders. The choice is another in a long line of very public and high-profile visits the governor has made that indicate in no uncertain terms that he has national aspirations.
Jindal is considered by many to be one of the most viable candidates to challenge the Democrats in either 2012 or 2016, depending upon how well Obama does as president.
Writers everywhere are already dissecting his viability as a candidate, claiming he is best suited to reform the Republican image and lead it back to competitiveness.
They tout his youth and race as attributes Republicans have lacked entirely. They cite his excellent educational background and eloquence. They point to his strong health care background, lending expertise to an issue generally considered a Republican weakness.
They talk about so many reasons he’s a good candidate for president they forget he still has a job to do.
Namely, running our state.
In focusing so heavily on his national prospects, Jindal risks taking his eye off the ball. His strongest supporters repeatedly claim if he’s able to make progress in a state as historically averse to change as Louisiana, he’ll be the perfect candidate for president.
Of course, that assumes Jindal achieves success in Louisiana. He still has work to do before making that claim.
So far, Jindal’s only major accomplishments are the ethics reforms and his response to Hurricane Gustav. His most fervent supporters claim these are already leaps and strides above the norm.
While passing an ethics reform bill in Louisiana sounds good, the reforms were by no means universally applauded and were not by any stretch of the imagination entirely comprehensive. The Public Affairs Research Council, among others, indicated the reforms may actually make it more difficult to prosecute violators.
The bill also entirely ignored finance reform, which is convenient, considering Jindal and his party’s propensity for accepting large amounts of funds from monolithic corporations.
Likewise, the administration’s response to Gustav is not nearly the achievement some might claim. Besides the obvious difference in scale — Katrina was a different animal entirely — Jindal’s administration had the tremendous benefit of hindsight.
Even if we accept the significance of these achievements, Jindal still has little else to his credit.
For example, much has been made of his health care experience and ability to talk about the issue fluently.
But talk – and hype – is cheap. Jindal has done little for Louisiana’s health care system. In this respect, the state is actually rated lower now than it was before he took office. And let’s not forget the bungled handling of the legislative pay increase – hardly the signature of an astute politician.
This doesn’t necessarily make Jindal a bad governor. He just hasn’t proved himself the policy genius his supporters claim – yet.
Before Jindal begins swinging for the political fences, he must work on his average. And we in Louisiana need to be his batting coach.
We need to watch carefully as he leads us into the coming budget cuts — we need to congratulate him when he succeeds, but we also have to criticize him when he strikes out.
It would be wonderful to have a Louisianian in the White House. But first we have to make sure he does his job at home."
He forgot to mention this.