Gov. Bobby Jindal’s stock dropping fast

March 10, 2009

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s stock as a rising national figure in the Republican Party plummeted after his empty speech opposing President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan – and Jindal keeps sinking at home, too. With the April legislative session looming, Jindal’s continued political posturing isn’t making Louisiana lawmakers or constituents very happy. The Associated Press reports:

Democratic lawmakers bristled at Jindal’s criticisms of the $787 billion stimulus plans crafted by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress, and they’ve accused the governor of playing national politics to the detriment of Louisiana.

The burgeoning partisan split in a Capitol that often tries to steer clear of such spats threatens to blow up on Jindal in a regular legislative session that already was going to be contentious because of hefty budget cuts and lingering irritation from previous Jindal vetoes. …

But Jindal’s tough talk against the stimulus nationally isn’t really panning out locally.

In his nationally-televised response to Obama’s address to Congress, Jindal called the stimulus irresponsible and said there should be less government intervention in the country’s economic woes.

However, with the national Republican speech over and Louisiana’s budget problems looming, Jindal is acknowledging he intends to tap into large amounts of stimulus money, most of it to help balance the state’s budget over the next two years.

And criticism of Jindal’s non-stop politicking and out-of-state fundraising is coming from all sides, as Gambit Weekly reports:

Jindal still has the support of national talk-radio poobah Rush Limbaugh, who has talked him up as future presidential material, but on statewide conservative radio, it’s a different story. Monroe-based conservative talk-radio host Moon Griffon (nicknamed the “Louisiana Limbaugh”), whose weekday program is immensely popular in north and west Louisiana, has been slamming Jindal for months, dubbing him “Campaign Bobby.” …But criticism is also coming from state GOP sources like radio host Jeff Crouere, former executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party, who said, “I think Gov. Jindal should refund to the state pro-rata money for all those days he is out of state on personal business.”

Most tellingly, Republicans in Baton Rouge’s Senate District 16 sent a strong message against Jindal in last Saturday’s election. Some background first, from The Advocate:

Usually Republican officials stay out of races that involve more than one GOP candidate.

But Jindal chose to endorse one of three Republicans in the state Senate District 16 race. He picked Lee Domingue, who had contributed $118,500 to the governor’s interests since 2006. Domingue’s Republican opponents Laurinda Calongne and Dan Claitor did not give money to Jindal. …

Jindal said Domingue’s donation had nothing to do with his selection. Just as, he said, the $232,350 donated by the Chouest family and their businesses to the governor’s campaigns since 2006 had no influence on his government’s decision to give economic development grants and tax credits to a project owned by the family.

Compounding matters is the involvement of perennial Jindal cheerleader Rolfe McCollister, Jindal’s campaign treasurer and publisher of Baton Rouge Business Report. McCollister’s the founder of Believe in Louisiana, the tax-exempt organization solely devoted to raising money for and promoting Jindal’s agenda. Lee Domingue gave a $100,000 donation to Believe in Louisiana, and – surprise! – McCollister endorsed Domingue.

It’s so transparent that voters knew the score, and Claitor edged Domingue with 42 percent of the vote, setting up a runoff on April 4.

So, will Gov. Jindal be stumping for Domingue for the next three weeks?

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