The Single Question That Could Destroy Bobby Jindal’s Political Future: Lamar White


By Lamar White (reposted from CenLamar.com)

Last Friday, against the vehement and public urging of his own Attorney General and nearly one hundred of the nation’s most respected legal expertsGovernor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 469 into law. Quoting his press release (bold mine):

Governor Jindal said, “This bill will help stop frivolous lawsuits and create a more fair and predictable legal environment, and I am proud to sign it into law. It further improves Louisiana’s legal environment by reducing unnecessary claims that burden businesses so that we can bring even more jobs to our state. The bill will also send future recovered dollars from CZMA litigation to coastal projects, allowing us to ensure Louisiana coastal lands are preserved and that our communities are protected.”

If you’re wondering who, exactly, the law benefits, all you need to do is keep reading Jindal’s press release, which contains this amazing confession. Quoting (again, bold and italics mine):

LOGA President Don Briggs said, “The signing of SB 469 is a huge victory for the oil and gas industry as well as the economy for the state of Louisiana. We commend Governor Jindal for his leadership and support of this bill as it made its way through the process….”

As I mentioned in a previous post, SB 469 was, ostensibly, about stopping a controversial, landmark lawsuit filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) against 97 oil and gas companies for their role in illegally damaging and depredating the state’s coastal environment and ecosystem. But as we now know, the law is about much more than merely ending a single lawsuit by a single governmental authority.

SB 469 appears to have been written and deliberately designed by lawyers who represent the oil and gas industry in order to shield, reduce, or eliminate their clients’ exposure to civil damages on a wide range of pending and future claims, including, most notably, BP’s liability for billions of dollars in outstanding claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Indeed, according to people intimately involved in the legislative process, no one lobbied harder for the passage of SB 469 than those associated with BP.

With the stroke of the pen, Governor Bobby Jindal likely saved the oil and gas industry billions of dollars in damages for which they otherwise would have been legally responsible, damages that are legitimately owed to hundreds, if not thousands, of hardworking families, businesses, and coastal communities who were devastated by and continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the worst environmental disaster in American history. Governor Jindal may claim this was about ending “frivolous lawsuits” and creating a “more fair and predictable legal environment,” but unfortunately for him, the geniuses on his communications team allowed Don Briggs, the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, to tell it like it is, “a huge victory for the oil and gas industry.” To be sure, that may actually be an understatement.

This wasn’t about ending frivolous lawsuits or better ensuring a fair and predictable legal environment; it was about rigging the law in favor of the biggest, wealthiest, and most powerful industry in Louisiana (and arguably, the world).

*****

Thomas Enright, the Governor’s Executive Counsel, argues that claims for damages against BP would not be affected by SB 469, because the federal Oil Pollution Act preempts the new Louisiana state law. Notwithstanding the irony and the hypocrisy of Governor Jindal, seemingly for the very first time in his entire career, invoking and championing the preemption doctrine, Enright may very well be correct in his analysis.

But the simple fact is: BP’s lawyers can and will argue otherwise; it’s an issue of first impression that will ultimately be determined by the courts, not by Jindal’s attorney. SB 469 provides a new and novel line of defense. Indeed, Louisiana’s Attorney General and nearly 100 legal experts from the nation’s top law schools all agree. The oil and gas industry’s lawyers know it’s true, too; after all, by Governor Jindal’s own admission, they helped write the law.

Even if Enright is, in fact, right and even if the courts eventually rule against BP, because these issues will take months, if not years, to fully resolve, Jindal’s decision to sign and enact SB 469 almost certainly reduced substantially the anticipated settlement values for thousands of Louisiana citizens. And that‘s why BP stands to gain billions of dollars. Remember, BP has enormously deep pockets; if they wanted to, they could afford to litigate these claims for the next century without ever affecting or even touching their bottom line. The average citizen, however, cannot afford and would never be inclined to wage a war of attrition against BP about the preemption doctrine as it relates to state law conflicting with the Oil Pollution Act.

Remember too, the longer the legal process, the less those who were affected and damaged by BP’s negligence can expect. In a complex case involving billions of dollars, a broadly and vaguely worded new law can have an enormous economic value.

Make no mistake: Governor Jindal understood this. As reported by Patrick Flanagan of The Independent MonthlyNikesh Jindal, Bobby Jindal’s younger brother, “is an attorney with Gibson Dunn, one of the law firms representing BP against the damage claims… assigned to the division handling BP’s case,” a critical detail and potentially a massive conflict of interest that has never been fully explained or even properly disclosed. If Governor Jindal’s brother Nikesh didn’t explain the stakes to him, Jimmy Faircloth, Jindal’s former executive counsel and longtime confidant, should have. Quoting from The Times-Picayune (bold mine):

Also, the claim that SB 469 got a full public airing isn’t true. The bill was cobbled together late in the session by the governor’s former executive counsel, Jimmy Faircloth, and switched to a different Senate committee hours before a hearing on it. That limited public input. Mr. Verchick pointed out in a response to Mr. Enright Wednesday that the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee also curtailed debate on the bill.

It’s worth noting that Representative Gordon Dove, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, didn’t just shut off debate on the bill; he also refused to read into the record, as is customary, the names of citizens who showed up to support or oppose the bill. If he had, he would have revealed that ten times as many people, almost all of whom were either coastal activists or environmental professionals with no personal financial interest whatsoever, showed up to oppose the bill than those who showed up to support the bill, almost all of whom were being paid by organizations, agencies, and companies with a direct financial interest. (I am in receipt of this documentation and can send it upon request; I’m not posting it out of an abundance of caution, because it contains the home addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of private citizens).

Continue reading on CenLamar.com at this link.

 

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To save time and money, let’s privatize the Louisiana Legislature

By Robert Mann

Has Gov. Bobby Jindal ever seen a government program he couldn’t privatize? Jindal certainly has a reputation as a fierce advocate of relinquishing government functions to corporate interests. That said, could it be that he and state legislators are actually too cautious about privatizing Louisiana government?

In recent years, Jindal has turned over Louisiana’s public hospitals to private entities. He’s privatized the state’s Medicaid program, as well as the management of medical benefits for state employees.

Beyond health care, Jindal has diverted a substantial portion of the state’s elementary and secondary education budget to fund private-school vouchers and charter schools. By slashing the higher education budget, he’s virtually turned the state’s colleges and universities into semi-private institutions that subsist primarily off tuition and student fees. He’s handed over driver’s license renewals to a private company. He has even privatized budget cutting, paying the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal $5 million to develop ideas for cutting state spending by $500 million.

As recent experience has shown, however, privatizing government doesn’t automatically improve anything except, of course, the bottom lines of the corporations that capture lucrative government contracts. The failure of Louisiana’s voucher school program should be exhibit A in any indictment against privatization. Turning over the state’s hospitals to private entities hasn’t gone so well either, now that federal officials have rejected Jindal’s financial arrangement for the program.

What’s remarkable about all this, however, is not what Jindal has accomplished, but why he hasn’t taken privatization to its logical conclusion.

For example, why should we spend millions each year on levee and flood control districts? Jindal and the Legislature are repealing the sensible flood control reforms passed after Hurricane Katrina that depoliticized a corrupt levee board system. The minute the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East sued Big Oil over its destruction of our coast, Jindal and the Legislature moved to demolish the authority’s independence.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

Why are Louisiana’s universities suddenly out of money?


By Robert Mann

Louisiana’s colleges and universities now have a serious cash-flow problem. Without a $40 million loan from State Treasurer John Kennedy’s office, they cannot keep the lights on and pay employees.

According to the Associated Press:

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is asking for a $40 million loan from the state treasury to continue paying expenses for Louisiana’s public colleges, after the financing used to fund higher education has been slow to arrive.

The loan request was filed this week with Treasurer John Kennedy’s office, seeking “seed funding” to provide cash flow for the campuses and other higher education offices.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols assures us this is nothing to worry about. “This is simply a timing issue,” Nichols said in a statement.

As I noted in my column Friday on NOLA.com:

Jindal and his economic development Secretary Stephen Moret keep telling us that Louisiana’s economy is booming. Maybe it is. Employment is surely up.

A booming economy, however, should generate enough revenue to balance the books and support critical needs like health care and education. A booming economy wouldn’t force the state into an annual rummage sale of state assets.

Perhaps the booming that Jindal and Moret hear is not the economy. Most likely, it’s thunderclouds on the horizon. Louisiana is about to be hit by some very bad budgetary weather.

Looks like that bad weather came sooner than expected.

White flags of cowardice waving at Louisiana Capitol


By Robert Mann

It was a week for waving white flags. By the look of things at the Louisiana Capitol, you’d have thought Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators were debating in semaphore. If so, the words they spelled with their bright pennants were “surrender” and “cowardice.”

First on deck were members of the Senate Finance Committee. When the state’s top higher education adviser, Tom Layzell, showed up to testify Monday, he lamented Louisiana’s pitifully low college graduation rate. When he finished, the white flags began to flutter. Committee members — unwilling to support any serious reinvestment in the state’s colleges and universities — conceded their fecklessness.

“We’ve broken every piggy bank and trust [fund] that’s out there,” Sen. Fred Mills, R-New Iberia, complained, seeming to dismiss Layzell as a starry-eyed dreamer. Mills said he doubted there would be “any new funding coming to higher ed.” Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, was equally weak-willed. “We made a conscious decision, or maybe a less than conscious decision, (to) find ourselves where we are today,” he said.

Had LaFleur literally waved two white flags while making that statement he could not have appeared more fainthearted. Never mind that he and other legislators voted to slash income taxes on wealthy taxpayers in 2008. They not only made our tax system more regressive, they also blew an annual $300 million hole in the budget. Forfeiting that revenue led directly to the inadequate higher education funding they now accept as Louisiana’s fate. It would take some courage to reverse that vote, little of which was on display Monday.

Next, it was Jindal’s turn to capitulate by consummating his gradual U-turn on Common Core. Those are education standards developed by the nation’s governors and adopted by 44 states. Until recently, Jindal vigorously supported the standards. “Adopting the Common Core State Standards … will raise expectations for every child,” Jindal said in a video released on April 2 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Of course, that was before the future presidential candidate weighed his concern for the education of Louisiana’s children against his need to court tea party activists in Iowa. Guess who won? When he finally reversed himself, Jindal lacked even the courage to wave his white flag in person. He surrendered in a written statement.

“We share the concerns of these [anti-Common Core] legislators and also of parents across Louisiana,” Jindal said. His capitulation to the tea party was complete, so much so he vowed to unilaterally remove Louisiana from a consortium of states developing tests for Common Core.

Not to be out-surrendered, by Tuesday the Senate was back in action, meekly submitting to its overlords in the oil and gas industry. In a 23-15 vote, the majority yielded to Big Oil by passing legislation that would retroactively stop Louisiana’s flood protection authorities from hiring outside lawyers without the governor’s permission.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

Louisiana’s traumatic bonds with Big Oil


By Robert Mann

What is it about the oil and gas industry that engenders such steadfast devotion from our political leaders? In case you hadn’t noticed, Louisiana’s government has long functioned as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil.

Maybe it’s the millions in campaign cash the industry bestows on governors, members of Congress and state legislators. While I suspect money is largely the culprit, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The other day I stumbled across a curious psychological malady that might help explain why Louisiana’s leaders are so faithful to Big Oil. It’s known as “traumatic bonding,” described by one expert as the “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

In such situations, one victim has written, there exists an “imbalance of power, with one person more in control of key aspects of the relationship.” The “victim engages in denial of the abuse for emotional self-protection.”

That’s actually a decent characterization of Louisiana’s stormy relationship with Big Oil or, as I’ll call it here, “Mr. Big.”

For decades, we were infatuated with Mr. Big. He charmed us with sweet talk and showered us with gifts. He was good for our economy. He offered us well-paying jobs and plentiful revenue from his severance taxes.

In time, however, we discovered Mr. Big’s dark side. He’s occasionally domineering, insecure and sensitive to slights. He exhibits a troubling unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions, which has included spoiling our coast.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

Booming economy? Jindal orders yet another spending freeze

By Robert Mann

If Louisiana’s economy is booming as Gov. Bobby Jindal keeps telling us, then why is he always mandating mid-year budget cuts and spending freezes?

Friday brought us yet another mid-year budget freeze, by virtue of an executive order Jindal issued late in the afternoon.

A booming economy of the kind Jindal boasts produces ample revenues for government. If businesses are booming, as Jindal assures us, then companies are hiring, payrolls are growing and those new employees are paying more in taxes. They’re buying more consumer goods, meaning increased sales tax revenues and added employment for the companies selling those goods.

In short, a real booming economy produces adequate government revenue. At the very least, a healthy state economy doesn’t force government leaders into constant mid-year budget cuts, garage sales of state assets and late-Friday budget freeze announcements (you’d almost think Jindal didn’t want us to notice that he’d been forced to freeze spending again).

Here’s the order Jindal issued. Many in the press received it, but as of early Friday evening it had not been posted on the governor’s website.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH – EXPENDITURE FREEZE

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. BJ 2014 – 4

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, as amended, and Act 14 of the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Governor may issue executive orders which limit the expenditure of funds by the various agencies in the executive branch of State government (hereafter “expenditure freeze”); and

WHEREAS, underlying assumptions and needs in the development of the current year’s state budget would be altered by a decline in the State’s revenues and the interests of the citizens of our State are best served by implementing fiscal management practices to ensure that appropriations will not exceed actual revenues; and

WHEREAS, in preparation of the budget challenges in the ensuing year, Executive Order BJ 2014-1 Limited Hiring Freeze issued on January 15, 2014, is updated periodically, is related to the Expenditure Category of Personal Services, therefore Personal Services Expenditures will not be addressed in this Executive

Order; and

WHEREAS, to ensure that the State of Louisiana will not suffer a budget deficit due to fiscal year 2013-2014 appropriations exceeding actual revenues and that the budget challenges in the ensuing fiscal year are met, prudent money management practices dictate that the best interests of the citizens of the State of Louisiana will be served by implementing an expenditure freeze throughout the executive branch of state government;

NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: All departments, agencies, and/or budget units of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana as described in and/or funded by appropriations through Acts 14 and 44 of the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (hereafter

“Acts”), shall freeze expenditures as provided in this Executive Order.

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Bobby Jindal’s health care jalopy

By Robert Mann

In late 2007, before Gov. Bobby Jindal took office, I addressed a group of health insurance executives in New Orleans eager to learn about what Louisiana’s new governor had in store for them. Jindal is a health care expert and a policy wonk, I advised them. You may not like what he’ll propose for your industry, I warned, but brace yourselves for lots of innovation and policy experimentation.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The famously wonkish Jindal proved a conventional and unimaginative politician who, after more than six years as governor, has no major innovative idea to his name.

When it comes to public policy, Jindal sells used cars. From education to health care to economic development, the governor has sold us a collection of dilapidated conservative ideas and practices. That’s why, near the end of two terms, he has launched his nascent presidential campaign by outsourcing policy production to an Alexandria, Va., think tank, “America Next.”

After months of labor, Jindal and his advisers finally rolled out their first big policy initiative: “The Prescription for Conservative Consumer-Focused Health Care Reform.” Jindal went to Washington on Wednesday to present what some mistakenly characterized as a fresh policy prescription, founded on the proposition that the Affordable Care Act must be repealed.

“Gov. Jindal’s ‘new’ plan is an obvious attempt to drape himself with the aura of gravitas that his governorship has failed to produce.”

Perhaps, like me, Washington’s policy mavens once regarded Jindal as an innovator and policy expert. If they study his plan, however, they’ll realize that his new vehicle is just a high-mileage contraption cobbled together with used parts that Republicans have been selling for years.

Seemingly blind to the fact that most Americans oppose repealing Obamacare, Jindal staged a junkyard sale of second-hand proposals, offering retreads like health savings accounts and “lawsuit reform.” Jindal salvaged another vintage GOP idea — turning the federal government’s most successful and popular program, Medicare, into a privatized voucher program.

He did unveil a redesign of Medicaid, a $100 billion block grant alternative to the current program. But while we wait for Congress and President Obama to realize the brilliance of that idea, wouldn’t it be sensible and humane to accept the federal Medicaid expansion dollars now on the table? Why must Louisiana’s working poor receive their health care only from a vehicle of Jindal’s design?

Jindal’s used-car special, however, wasn’t a total flop. He offered several decent suggestions, including guaranteeing better access for individuals who change jobs and cross-state insurance purchasing. (Even these commendable ideas are previously owned.)

But don’t mistake Jindal’s concern about your health care for a desire to improve or enhance the Affordable Care Act. As with most Republican leaders, it’s repeal the current law or nothing. Nothing, of course, is what he’ll get.

If Jindal truly cared about “his” ideas, he would work to build support for them as improvements to a health insurance law that’s here to stay. He won’t for one simple reason: Jindal’s plan is really about caring for the health of his presidential ambitions.

If Jindal were the policy expert he pretends to be — if he actually cared about devising an innovative alternative to the Affordable Care Act — he would have proposed something serious and bold when Congress debated the bill in 2009.

Read more at NOLA.com

Louisiana’s strange attraction to Edwin Edwards

Louisiana Gov. Richard Leche on the steps of LSU's Law School in the 1930s. Before Leche's federal conviction, the building was known as "Leche Hall." (Photo courtesy Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University)

Louisiana Gov. Richard Leche on the steps of LSU’s Law School in the 1930s. Before Leche’s federal conviction, the building was known as “Leche Hall.” (Photo courtesy Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University)

By Robert Mann

It’s not often that I agree with Gov. Bobby Jindal, but when it comes to Louisiana’s reputation for corruption, he got it right. In his first inaugural address in January 2008, Jindal noted that we are “a state with poor leadership . . . stuck in the past, [with] leaders who were unconcerned with the future.” Jindal correctly observed, “In our past, too many politicians looked out for themselves.”

What Jindal left unspoken, however, has always struck me as equally significant. If he had been completely forthright, he would have acknowledged that all those crooked leaders didn’t just appear like some provincial governor appointed by a distant prime minister. Our lords of misrule didn’t stage coups. The people trekked to the polls to elect each of the corrupt men and women whose memory Jindal invoked.

We’ve tolerated – even celebrated – our dishonest politicians for generations, none more so than former Gov. Edwin Edwards. The Cajun Prince’s four terms as governor weren’t mistakes, like Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whom prosecutors hustled off to prison after voters discovered their grievous error.

We elected  the flamboyant Edwards to lead Louisiana over three decades. All the while, as he entertained us, our collective eyes were wide open to his contempt for our ethics laws and the curious way many of his friends became rich. Our ballots enabled every dishonorable moment of his tenure.

Now, after serving eight years in a federal prison, and three weeks on an A&E network reality show, Edwards is back as a candidate for Congress from Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District.

Perhaps it’s unfair to single out Edwards, as if he’s been our only corrupt leader. He’s simply the most prominent member of a rogue’s gallery of dishonest and unethical officials we’ve elected over the years – a list that includes U.S. Sen. David Vitter, whom voters returned to office in 2010 despite a prostitution scandal.

Jindal, of course, claimed a mandate to transform our politics. In his inaugural address, he heralded “a new era” in Louisiana government. Yet, his own administration is embroiled in a federal investigation over the questionable awarding of a large state contract for handling Medicaid claims. It appears that corporations have used First Lady Supriya Jindal’s nonprofit foundation to curry favor with her husband’s administration. And, as a NOLA.com|Times-Picayune investigation revealed, Jindal has awarded dozens of prominent state positions to his campaign contributors.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

Jindal: AWOL in the battle for “religious freedom”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

By Robert Mann

Considering the passion Gov. Bobby Jindal devoted to his big speech on religious liberty earlier this month at the Ronald Reagan Library, you’d think he would have been all over the airwaves this week.

Surely, if Jindal really believed what he said about a “silent war” on religious liberty, he should have publicly begged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to sign legislation, passed by her state’s legislature, to permit business owners to deny service to gays, lesbians and other people on religious grounds.

Brewer, of course, vetoed the legislation after it became a national embarrassment to the Republican Party and cast Arizona in a most-negative light. Even the NFL threatened to pull next year’s Super Bowl from the state. In the end, Brewer had no choice but bow to the will of her state’s business leaders and reject to this morally repugnant bill.

But, all the while, Jindal was silent.

He had, as best I can tell, absolutely nothing to say about an issue that, only days before, he was promoting with great passion and enthusiasm.

In his highly publicized speech, Jindal alerted the Reagan Library audience that “the freedom to exercise your religion in the way you run your business, large or small, is under assault.”

Using a case against Hobby Lobby as an example, Jindal said:

None of this matters to the Obama administration. The argument they have advanced, successfully thus far, is that a faithful business owner cannot operate under the assumption that they can use their moral principles to guide the way their place of business spends money. According to the administration’s legal arguments, the family that owns Hobby Lobby is not protected by the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion clause.

That’s the part of the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise” of religion.

The Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder argue that because “Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion.” A federal judge agreed: since Hobby Lobby is a “secular” corporation, they have no right to be guided by the religious beliefs of their ownership.

Then, Jindal turned to the heart of the matter, the real reason for his speech and the scenario that he hoped would strike fear in the hearts of his conservative audience: business owners and others might be required by the government to provide services, in violation of their religious beliefs, to gays and other objectionable people.

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Bobby Jindal’s White House Potshot

istockphoto_3887591_democrat_vs_republican_on_white1

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