Will Someone Please Take Bobby Jindal’s Shovel Away From Him?

Seriously, when digging your own grave, you don’t need to keep going after six feet.

Maybe he’s trying to go 27 feet deep?  Why 27 feet?

Cause that is the level of his current approval rating in Louisiana.

Twenty-seven percent. That’s Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval rating in Louisiana, according to a poll released last week by Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns. That’s lower than former Gov. Kathleen Blanco when she left office and lower than President Barack Obama today.

That level of disapproval requires bipartisan dissatisfaction. State Rep. Jay Morris of Monroe last week called Jindal’s proposed budget fix “insane.” Baton Rouge conservative writer and activist Scott McKay added, with characteristic bluntness, “The mess Jindal has made of Louisiana’s budget is going to destroy his political career.”

One person, however, who wholeheartedly approves of Jindal’s job performance is Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The only person who thinks things are going swimmingly in Louisiana is Jindal himself. The governor’s latest national op-ed piece (for USA Today) was a howler: “Gov. Jindal: Our economy’s better than ever,” read the headline. In his delusional auto-hagiography, Jindal bragged that he has balanced Louisiana’s budget; in truth he has not — even though our state constitution requires a balanced budget. He also touted credit upgrades, ignoring the fact that Moody’s Investors Service criticized Jindal for running a “structural deficit” and issued a “credit negative” outlook for Louisiana last month. Amid all his self-praise, Jindal never mentioned the $1.6 billion deficit that hangs like the sword of Damocles over the state’s higher education and public health systems — or that fact that he inherited (and then blew through) a $1.1 billion surplus from his predecessor.

Ah, delusions.  But why am I coming back to the blog to slap around a lame duck Governor when I could be writing about more important things, such as the Game of Thrones rape scene that conclusively proves the showrunners are lazy storytellers who do not learn from past mistakes?

Because Gov. Jindal is more than just a lame duck Governor, and his words and actions are not intended to benefit or address the fine citizens of Louisiana.  No, Bobby Jindal is, with all apologies to my friends at Mock, Paper, Scissors, a member of the 2016 Goat Rodeo, the 22 21 20 19 member strong reality show dedicated to choosing the Republican nominee for the next presidential election, and his words and actions are directed at the lunatics base of the GOP, those who vote in the primaries.  Once this counterfeit version of Survivor ends with a candidate, the next step of the process will take place; watching the GOP nominee frantically attempt to erase everything he, and it will be a he because Carly Fiorina isn’t going to get the nomination, said during the primary season in order to appeal to the moderate voters who will decide the general election.  (As an aside, and I may write about this more in depth, but how many more cycles can the GOP survive as a unified party?  And perhaps more interestingly, will the social conservatives or the moderate Republicans be the group that breaks away?)

Gov. Jindal’s strategy seems to leave no room to backtrack to the middle, staking out positions so extreme that he may actually be unelectable in a national election if he somehow wins the primary.  His latest move, designed to appeal to the most conservatively religious section of the GOP base, is to almost literally strap Louisiana’s economy to the altar and rip its still beating heart from its chest, sacrificing the state to his own political ambitions.

Glad you elected him yet, Louisiana?

You see, Bobby Jindal had a dream.  He watched Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sign that state’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and he salivated.  He watched the national business community freak the fuck out over the bill and he suddenly had to change his pants.  Not only did the bill make homophobic Christians happy, but the backlash from the business community played right into the current Christian persecution myth that is so popular on the far right these days.  The only problem for Gov. Jindal is that Gov. Pence beat him to it, a problem that disappeared when Indiana bowed to common sense and removed the “go ahead and discriminate against homosexuals as long as you sincerely hate gay people because of God” part of their RFRA bill.  Gov. Jindal could find himself as the only protector of Christianity in the GOP, all he needed was for Louisiana’s conservative legislature to send it to his desk to sign.  What could go wrong?

On Tuesday, to the dismay of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Louisiana’s proposed Marriage and Conscience Act failed in the state’s house. The legislation, which has been compared to “religious freedom restoration acts” (RFRA) in Arkansas and Indiana, would have prohibited “the state from taking any adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acted in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage.” Thus, a pizza shop that said it would not cater a gay wedding — as happened in Indiana — might not be penalized.

How strange.  Apparently, not every member of the Louisiana House shared Gov. Jindal’s lame duck status.  No, the state legislators understand that they need to do things for the good of their state, and after seeing the shitshow that exploded in Indiana over RFRA, they smartly decided they would rather have the chance to get Super Bowls and factories rather than be a footnote on the wrong side of history.  What would Gov. Jindal, pen in hand, do now?

But after the bill failed, Jindal stepped into the breach.

“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar,” Jindal said in a statement, as the Times-Picayune reported. “We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will … prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Ah yes.  Executive order.  From Gov. Bobby Jindal.  This guy:

“Granting amnesty by executive order is wrong,” Jindal wrote in a statement last year. “It will incentivize more of this illegal immigration. If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people.

Funny how executive orders are fine when they do something you agree with, isn’t it? #hypocrite?  But maybe I’m over-reacting.  Maybe Gov. Jindal has crafted this act to protect everyone’s rights in some way?

“This bill is worse than any RFRA in that it explicitly allows discrimination based on an individual’s religious beliefs about marriage,” Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow said of the bill last month. “Nobody gets to go into court for a balancing test, there’s no interpretation by a state judicial system. It flat out gives individuals a right to discriminate, period.”

Okay. Maybe this action won’t hurt Louisiana’s economy?

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau chief executive Stephen Perry called the bill “a radioactive, poisonous message,” saying it could cost the state $65 million per year.”

Well, maybe Gov. Jindal will see the error of his ways when he sees the backlash his state faces from the business community?  I mean, 65 million a year is not an insignificant amount.

But Jindal, in New York Times op-ed last month, said money doesn’t matter.

“As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath,” he wrote.

“Save your breath.”  Tough words, aren’t they?  Easy to talk tough when you aren’t the one who has to face the consequences.  Remember, Jindal is a lame duck Governor.  He is making this stand that could cripple Louisiana’s economy with no skin in the game himself.  He will issue the order and bask in the adoration of the far religious right while Louisiana’s citizens and economy suffer.  He can publicize any criticism of him to the base and play right into the Christian persecution myth, while the people who the order hurts don’t even get the satisfaction of voting his ass out of office.  Before I finish this post off with the Democratic response in Louisiana, I have to quote this beautifully understated line from the Washington Post article I’ve been quoting:

Meanwhile, Jindal — who launched a presidential exploratory committee this week — has been criticized for pandering to conservatives in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Well I never!  Gov. Jindal?  Pandering to conservative?  Pah!  I’m sure the Governor just honestly feels this is the best course of action for Louisiana…… or that this order is just following his own sincerely held religious beliefs…. or maybe he’s just pandering to the most extreme segment of his party cause he knows his only chance to win the nomination is to out-crazy Santorum.  Anyway, here is the promised Democratic response, along with one more link to the WashPo article I’ve been quoting.

“Gov. Jindal’s stunt today once again underlines his disregard for Louisiana families, his disdain for the state legislature and his apparent contempt for the state’s tourism industry — the only segment of our economy his failed policies haven’t crippled,” the Louisiana Democratic Party’s executive director Stephen Handwerk said in a statement. “Louisiana taxpayers and businesses are once again being forced to foot the bill for Jindal’s vanity. It’s foolishness our families cannot afford.”

Oh Mr. Handwerk, why do you hate Jesus?

 

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