Twenty-seven percent. That's Gov. Bobby Jindal's approval rating in Louisiana, according to a poll released last week by Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns. That's lower than former Gov. Kathleen Blanco when she left office and lower than President Barack Obama today.
That level of disapproval requires bipartisan dissatisfaction. State Rep. Jay Morris of Monroe last week called Jindal's proposed budget fix "insane." Baton Rouge conservative writer and activist Scott McKay added, with characteristic bluntness, "The mess Jindal has made of Louisiana's budget is going to destroy his political career."
The only person who thinks things are going swimmingly in Louisiana is Jindal himself. The governor's latest national op-ed piece (for USA Today) was a howler: "Gov. Jindal: Our economy's better than ever," read the headline. In his delusional auto-hagiography, Jindal bragged that he has balanced Louisiana's budget; in truth he has not — even though our state constitution requires a balanced budget. He also touted credit upgrades, ignoring the fact that Moody's Investors Service criticized Jindal for running a "structural deficit" and issued a "credit negative" outlook for Louisiana last month. Amid all his self-praise, Jindal never mentioned the $1.6 billion deficit that hangs like the sword of Damocles over the state's higher education and public health systems — or that fact that he inherited (and then blew through) a $1.1 billion surplus from his predecessor.
Jindal's brand of 'leadership' — running to the front of a political parade and claiming to lead it — isn't moving the needle for him.
Jindal also treated readers to his latest, favorite political stunt: sticking his nose in foreign affairs, about which he knows next to nothing. This time it was the condescending letter signed by 47 GOP senators (including Louisiana's David Vitter and Bill Cassidy) to the government of Iran, warning that that any nuclear treaty might very well be reversed after Obama leaves office. The letter itself was a ridiculous stunt that quickly backfired on its architect, newly minted U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Jindal endorsed the letter and challenged his fellow presidential aspirants to do likewise. "Every single person thinking about running for President, on both sides, should sign on to this letter to make clear to Iran that they are negotiating with a lame duck President," Jindal said. That's laughably ironic coming from a lame duck governor who will be leaving office before Obama does. And he intimated to The New York Times that the letter to Iran was his idea, not Cotton's: "Like I said, we've been saying it for a while," he told the paper, adding that Cotton was in the audience at a Jindal speech where he claimed to have made the suggestion.
Thankfully, Jindal's brand of "leadership" — running to the front of a political parade and claiming to lead it — isn't moving the needle for him. In Iowa, where he spends much of his time these days, Jindal can't break above 1 or 2 percent support.
"It's time for the President to focus on the real enemy — Radical Islam and a nuclear Iran," Jindal proclaimed loftily on his Twitter account. Unimpressed Louisianans had excellent replies. Our favorite (from a Gambit reader): "It's time for the Governor to focus on the job he has, not the job he wants."