Bobby Jindal’s White House Potshot

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By Robert Mann

As the nation’s governors left the White House last Monday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy was furious. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, he muttered, was a “cheap-shot artist.”

Give Malloy credit for perception. He has sized up Jindal nicely. What’s perplexing, however, is why would any politician be shocked when another politician does what politicians do?

Jindal had hijacked an ostensibly bipartisan press briefing of his fellow governors as they emerged from a meeting with President Obama. As they spilled onto the White House driveway, Jindal seized a prime spot before the waiting microphones. He questioned the president’s commitment to strengthening the economy, charging that if Obama were serious about creating jobs, he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Regarding the economy, Jindal added that Obama “seems to be waving the white flag of surrender” with his demand for an increase, to $10.10 from $7.25, of the federal minimum wage. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal said.

That partisan dig clearly angered Malloy, a Democrat, who almost shoved Jindal aside to respond. “That’s the most insane statement I’ve ever heard,” Malloy scoffed.

Jindal had the last word, leaping back with this riposte: “If that’s the most partisan thing he’s heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement. I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these Obamacare mandates.”

The spat sent some Washington and Louisiana political observers to their fainting couches. “A reputation for not playing well with others is not a good thing in national politics, just as it is not in Baton Rouge,” the Baton Rouge Advocate worried in an editorial.

As regular readers of this column know, I am no Jindal admirer. That said, why should we criticize him for behaving as any citizen of the United States might if given the chance? Is there something sacred about the White House driveway? All citizens, including governors, are entitled to visit the White House and pillory the president.

If Obama and others can defend the right of the punk band Pussy Riot to protest Russian government policies, including staging a provocative performance in a Russian Orthodox Church, then why should anyone expect White House guests to check their First Amendment rights at the door in the name of decorum?

That Jindal can deride the president at the White House and live to tell about it is among the qualities that make our nation great. How long would a legislator in North Korea live if he attacked President Kim Jong Un on the driveway of his palace?

As Jindal said later, “in America we don’t have a king.” Quite right.

As he insists on his right to speak truth to power, however, Jindal might pause to reflect on his own troubling intolerance of dissent in Louisiana. Baton Rouge is littered with the political bodies of individuals who lost their jobs for defying a governor who sometimes governs like a king.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

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2 thoughts on “Bobby Jindal’s White House Potshot

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. The difference between Governor Jindal’s terminating the employment of dissenting administration employees and his dissenting with President Obama is that Governor Jindal does not work for President Obama and is under no duty to support or agree with his agenda. Although it can be argued that within an organization the leader should listen to dissenting opinions during the deliberative process, that leader has no obligation to tolerate public dissent, and those who publicly disagree with the direction of the leader’s agenda should be terminated before they can cause damage the execution of that agenda. Actually, dissenting administration officials should resign in good conscience if they have personal honor. As a competing political voice, Governor Jindal in my opinion actually has a duty to use any media opportunity to expose flaws in the agenda of President Obama, and work to change, delay, or stop those items he thinks will weaken the American Republic.

  2. The most important thing an effective leader can do is surround himself with highly qualified department heads and then have enough sense to listen to them. Anytime a department head, or underling for that matter, has spoken reason to an issue and that issue runs counter to Jindal’s frequently hidden agenda, Jindal’s reaction is usually to can these qualified individuals without explanation. Rather than effective I see that as as a sign of an insecure egomaniac who shows responsibility not to the people he was elected to serve but to a select group of contributors, corporate interests, and the ultra- elite groups like ALEC and the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity scam machine. The only qualification currently required to serve in Jindal’s administration is an agreement to echo whatever silliness comes from his mouth and a large donation, like the LSU Board of Supervisors. They represent the public of Louisiana about as much as China supports the independence of Tibet. The damage that Jindal has and is doing to Louisiana will take many years to undo, if at all. Did Jindal come off as an idiot on national TV? Of course he did, he can’t help it. He’s auditioning for his next gig alongside Sarah and Rick at Faux News. The presidency is out of the question for this buffoon.

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