Mitt Romney, America is being told, is in the process of vetting our very own Governor Bobby Jindal to be his vice presidential running mate. For those of us who have experienced and studied the tactics – and, thus, the beliefs – of our governor, nothing could be more preposterous.
To tune-up for this subject, let’s take a few minutes to read a couple of newspaper articles: just two Louisiana newspaper reports, and just from the last two days. If we believe, as we say we do, that good government depends mightily on transparency, and on government officials keeping faith with those who elect or otherwise hire them, our governor is unqualified as Louisiana’s #1, much less America’s #2.
First, here is yesterday’s Monroe News-Star report detailing how John White, Jindal’s new hot-shot public education guru via New York, “created a plan to ‘muddy up a narrative’ and to ‘take some air out of the room'” after an earlier News-Star report revealed a serious and immediate failure in Jindal’s highly touted public school voucher program.
Second, here is today’s Baton Rouge Morning Advocate report about which attorney we taxpayers are shelling out our hard-earned money to represent “us” – that would be Gov. Jindal and John White, in fact – in legal arguments supporting their signature voucher program. That program diverts our locally assessed and paid public education taxes away from their funding mechanism, the MFP, Minimum Foundation Program, and sends the money instead to private / charter schools.
What the News-Star has so definitively shown in its articles is not only that our MFP money is going to private schools which have no business educating our children, but also that wunderkind Smith is all about not telling the truth when such facts are proven. In other words, whatever Jindal’s education program really is, it isn’t what he and his guru say it is.
Mark Ballard’s Advocate piece is a reminder to readers that Jimmy Faircloth, the go-to Jindalista in our guv’s gutting of ethics enforcement is now is “our” lawyer in protecting the voucher program scam from legal challenges. As you have (or will hopefully) read, Faircloth can’t quite explain how Attorney General Buddy Caldwell was ordered by Jindal to hire him for this doubling-down on scammery, but nonetheless makes clear that Caldwell was, in fact, ordered by Jindal to do so.
For those of us who suffered through the specifics of how Jindal killed at least three decades of work on our governmental ethics system, the hiring of Faircloth is powerfully telling. The ways Faircloth found to ruin ethics enforcement were equally creative and fundamentally dishonest: while El Jefe Jindal was selling his “ethics gold standard” poppycock in his crusade to be veep nominee for John McCain, Faircloth was – quite literally – jamming the precise opposite through the legislative process. Yes, such a shakedown required a really ethically compromised bunch of legislative leaders, many of whom had ethics complaints in the pipeline at that very time, but the brains of the operation were Jindal, his then Chief-of-Staff Timmy Teepell, and Faircloth.
Now, this crew is back at it with their newest and most potentially damaging shakedown, “education reform.” We should not be surprised that John White has now been caught being as instinctively underhanded as the others on the Jindal team. Now we the proof, at least, that he, too, is a card-carrying grifter.
As Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal has consistently and emphatically demonstrated his bona fides as a devout believer in closed, self-protecting government. He ruined ethics enforcement by putting an unclassified employee beholden to the governor for their paycheck in charge of the enforcement system. He rented / leased legislative votes necessary to install in law the worst “deliberative process” ruse in any state, making possible the hiding of anything – anything – his staff and others in the executive branch want to hide, including any breaking of laws. Now, too, he has imposed a diversion of constitutionally protected – we have long been told – local public education tax money to private schools.
Mitt Romney should note as he considers Jindal for his running mate that the most damning proof and evidence of the damage Jindal has done to Louisiana is well hidden by his specific acts in furtherance of that key personal objective.
Yes, it takes a lot of smarts to pull that off.
And, yes, it takes a pretty dark heart, too. ‘Lord help us if that heart ends up a beat away from the Presidency.
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports, essays and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest. No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work.