By Robert Mann
I hope you have a DVR that can slow down to three-quarter speed, otherwise you may have a problem following Gov. Bobby Jindal’s usual fast-talk responses to the questions posed by host David Gregory on this morning’s “Meet the Press” on NBC.
Am I the only one who thinks Jindal would be a perfect announcer for the end of car dealership commercials? (“All offers are mutually exclusive. See dealer for complete details. 33 MPG based on EPA Fuel Consumption Estimates. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions. All new car prices and payments based on $3,000 cash down or trade equity . . . .”
Jindal’s mendacity and equivocations were rapid fire, but his answers were also long, meaning that Gregory barely had time for follow-up questions, especially since he had to give equal time to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Where to start?
First, Jindal and Patrick were invited on the program to discuss the federal budget sequester that will soon force deep cuts of defense and domestic programs.
So, how is it that Jindal was so blissfully unaware of the sequester’s specifics?
Questioned by Gregory about the impact of the cuts on Louisiana, Jindal responded, “Nobody’s saying he [President Obama] should make those specific cuts.” A bit later, he added, “Nobody’s saying we should do the cuts this [certain] way.”
Sorry, governor, but the cuts are indeed very specific. That is exactly why it is so troublesome to both sides.
As the New York Times recently explained, “Under the rules, the percentage cuts must apply to specific programs, projects and activities. Everything is subject to the same percentage cut. That spreads the pain, but it also prevents agency managers from focusing the cuts on programs that may be ineffective or inefficient — and protecting those that may affect public health and safety.”
Doesn’t Jindal have someone working for him who could write, I don’t know, a memo or something before he goes on a national network to discuss matters like this? Or are his aides only capable of producing vacuous political talking points?
Jindal also made a bit of news about his reported plans to abolish Louisiana’s income and corporate taxes and replace them with higher sales taxes.
So far, Jindal and his aides have doggedly refused to release details of the “plan.” Each time they are questioned about specifics, such as whether he plans to double the amount of the state sales tax or a large increase in cigarette taxes – Jindal and his staff protest that no plan has been proposed; everything is still being discussed and debated.
But on NBC this morning, Jindal said this: “We have actually proposed a tax reform that will protect our low- and middle-income families, allow our economy to grow more quickly.”
Really? Where exactly did Jindal propose such a plan? I’m sure the members of the Capitol press corps will be chagrined to learn that they weren’t invited to that press conference.
In reality, the only reform plan that’s been proposed was on sheets of paper shown a few weeks ago to a group of legislators, who were then forced to return before leaving the briefing. One legislator snapped a photo of the draft and leaked it to the press, which sparked indignation among Jindal’s advisors.
So, let’s be clear, there is no real plan, certainly not one that protects poor and middle-income families.
What we know of Jindal’s “plans,” so far, is that he would give corporations and wealthy families a huge tax break. But we’re assured that the program will be revenue neutral. So, where does it stand to reason most of that extra revenue will be coming from? Assuming that the oil and gas industry manages to preserve its tax breaks (a reasonable assumption), that pretty much leaves the poor and the middle-class.
Maybe critics like me are wrong, but to prove us wrong would require access to the “tax reform” plan that Jindal’s says he has “actually proposed.”
Finally, a bit of humor.
Early in the interview, still discussing the sequester, Jindal took an ironic shot at Obama.
“My advice to the president: it’s time to stop campaigning . . . . Roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of governing,” said the man who spent almost 90 days away from Louisiana last year (and has visited 37 states on nearly 170 trips since 2008), campaigning for himself, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
Later, Gregory asked the inevitable question about Jindal’s well-known presidential ambitions. Jindal’s answer: “Nobody in the Republican Party should be thinking about running for president. We’ve got to win the [policy] debate before we can win elections.”
So said the man who appeared to not to understand the details about the sequester – the very policy topic he was invited to discuss.
- A few questions for Bobby Jindal (bobmannblog.com)
- Jindal’s new revenue plan: impose crushing tax increases on the poor (bobmannblog.com)
- Bobby Jindal Is Governing Like It’s 2016 (realclearpolitics.com)
- Jindal’s stumping for Romney cost La. taxpayers (wwltv.com)
- Bobby Jindal’s rise shows that GOP reform is all cosmetic (washingtonpost.com)