Governor Jindal Joins Local Officials, Restaur...

After four years of neglecting his duties as governor while traveling the country to make known his availability as a GOP vice presidential nominee, Gov. Bobby Jindal finally returns to Baton Rouge to reassess his future.

It’s a rare event, similar to a blue moon or an LSU night-game loss in Tiger Stadium — Jindal will likely spend more than seven consecutive days in the Governor’s Mansion.

But don’t be fooled into thinking he’s completely devoting his time to the state’s business. Jindal, as always, will be focused on the business of his political future, an enterprise that has consumed him for 15 years or more.

Sure, he’ll bark some orders to the LSU Board of Supervisors and fire a legislator or two. But most state decisions are now delegated to top aides who seem quite adept at devastating the state’s budget on their own.

From Jindal’s point of view, the state is on autopilot. Things worked just fine for the past year, much of which he spent on the road for GOP causes. Why screw up things by taking back the wheel from Rainwater and Nichols?

It’s likely that the first order of business on Jindal’s post-campaign agenda (after privately celebrating Romney’s loss) was a discussion of how he should proceed with his own presidential campaign.

Sure, he’ll keep giving us that line about how he has the job he wants. But we all know the job he wants isn’t in Baton Rouge. We’re just a weigh station on his road to greatness.

Bobby Jindal is running for president. That will be his passion for the foreseeable future. He won’t be running the state of Louisiana except in the most cursory way.

We’ll see him when disaster strikes (he always comes home for hurricanes). But his new full-time job will now be his inevitable run for president in 2016.

For the past four years, we’ve had an absentee governor. For the next three (his term is up at the end of 2015), Louisiana will have a governor in name only.

In the meantime, at least we’ll have a front-row seat to a nascent presidential campaign. If it weren’t for the fact that Louisiana has many serious problems and sorely needs a full-time governor, it might be fun to watch.

As it is, it’s tragedy and a disgrace that our governor’s attention and affection will now be largely directed at far-right voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

We’ll just have to make the best of it. Perhaps state legislators will arise from their slumber, shake off their fear of Jindal and start behaving like members of a co-equal branch of government. Perhaps the voters will demand that they do so.

I know, that’s a fantasy.

The legislature will continue to do Jindal’s bidding and Jindal, now a leader of the Republican Governors’ Association, will soon resume his relentless travel schedule.

The rest of us will be left behind, once useful to Jindal’s political ambitions, but now of no concern and very little consequence.