Some of us in Louisiana believe Governor Bobby Jindal has elevated to a costly level his special blend of political hyperspin and embarrassing hypocrisy. What Gov. Jindal can do with any given assertion of self-promotion is truly dark artistry. He might instead, of course, use his position to further and encourage sober assessment of our state’s very difficult, to put it mildly, challenges.
We who are deeply invested in Louisiana, and have resolutely worked against its continuing decline for many years, are left to hope for push-back against Jindal’s astonishing practices by what used to be referred to as the “news media.” Unfortunately, and to the state’s detriment, too many supposed news media outlets here and elsewhere are too often, instead, the delivery devices for the governor’s propaganda. Various former outlets of relatively unbiased “news” are now – one way or the other – in the Jindal, Inc. tank. That we can’t prove which ones, and how they have been leased or purchased, is directly attributable to laws written by Jindal and passed by his very own state legislature, particularly laws shielding his own office from even basic levels of transparency. (How Jindal managed to enter into what is, effectively, a long-term lease of the Louisiana legislature is another story.
Any and all related facts notwithstanding, Melinda Deslatte of the Associated Press (AP) today demonstrated what some of us believed we would ALWAYS be able to count on from a “free press.” Ms. Deslatte’s very straightforward recitation of a few parts of the Jindal “myth” (her word) is a lifeline to those of us drowning in the guv’s pool of secrets and lies.
Ms. Deslatte’s AP piece joins a series of post-election articles from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate and a few others that may mark a real willingness by real journalists to more directly take on Jindal’s purposeful bunkum and hokum. We must all hope so: in recent days, embarrassingly error-filled releases from various Jindal folk inside and outside Louisiana government have been published virtually “as written” by various national newspapers and syndicated columnists. As some admit, they have spread the mess without talking with anyone other than some Jindal flack. From his seat on the bench of the Republican Party’s farm team, Jindal, possibly with state taxpayer dollars, contracts with a variety of such shills in the world of professional partisans who are consultants, lobbyists, and – yes – self-described “journalists.”
As Jindal’s second term begins, systems at the core of Louisiana life and culture – such as public elementary and secondary education – face what may prove ultimately to be an existential threat. Jindal’s record as governor suggests that he may well use his likely control of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to effectively replace even the best of our traditional public education alternatives, such as ISDs (independent school districts). The replacement? Few know, and they are only talking to each other, but we can guess it will be some for-profit bucket of taxpayer dollars available for profiteering by Jindal’s best political buds. Any hope of averting such disasters rests with the news media. Only they can apply enough pressure to stifle Jindal’s likely control of the legislature for such purposes. Jindal plus a legislature he controls can do huge damage to Louisiana, as proven by Jindal’s “ethics reform” sham that effectively prevents ethics enforcement for many, many years.
Gov. Jindal continues to broadcast references to the “mandate” he received from Louisiana voters a few weeks back. As Carl Redman at the Morning Advocate has explained, the claim can certainly be fairly judged otherwise. For my part, I add these pertinent stats: yes, Jindal got 65.8% of the vote, but the 673,279 votes for him are 23.6% of those registered in Louisiana, and 19.7% of those 18+ and thus eligible to register and vote.
A governor who cares more about his state than his pursuit of the presidency might have skipped the crowing. Instead, Jindal chooses to personify the reasons the 19.7% number got that low.
For the record, and as is always the case, this work has been done strictly in the public interest. No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work.
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