During tonight’s gubernatorial debate, Representative Bobby Jindal was asked a direct question about his allegations that his three main opponents– John Georges, Walter Boasso, and Foster Campbell– are a “part of the corruption crowd,” a question that was awkwardly dodged by Mr. Jindal. Although Walter Boasso made it clear that the Jindal campaign had accused him of being “corrupt,” Foster Campbell underscored an important point that, until then, had been missing from the discourse: When a sitting United States Congressman has evidence of corruption, he is duty-bound to report it. From The Times-Picayune:
Campbell became strident on the corruption question and told Jindal that if he has any evidence of corruption, “you ought to tell the DA (district attorney). You have an obligation to tell the district attorney who is crooked.”
Campbell is absolutely correct. And as evidenced in tonight’s debate, Representative Jindal does not have a single iota of evidence that suggests any of his opponents have engaged in corruption. The word “corruption” is simply a rhetorical trope that the Jindal campaign has employed to smear his opponents.
A CenLamar reader named Charles recently offered an insightful comment concerning Jindal’s use of the trope of “corruption:”
There are several reasons for Jindal’s murky term “corruption” as his campaign theme. The first and most obvious reason is that he must run on what he is going to do, instead of what he has already done. The Republicans are very feebly trying to band their pickets together to create an old Democratic ticket… campaign which will lift all boats on election day. Royal Alexander would be lifted by Jindal’s coattains and installed as AG, which would be very profitable to their later plans. Royal’s buddies in the Jindal campaign may have devised the corruption theme just for Royal. Note that Royal quickly picked up the term, like many of the Republican candidates and began to bandy it about. However, the word came back to haunt him when the email of his heavyhanded fundraising became public knowlege. I think that in the eternity between now and Saturday, this whole issue is likely to backfire on Jindal. Edwards was famous for turning the argument around at the very last moment to his Republican opponent’s chagrin. It is only poetic justice that it should! By using that term, they tar all Democrats, and by that standard, Bobby is guilty of all the Republican Congressmen’s foibles.
Jindal, the Bushbot, dares not run on the legacy of George Bush, not even in Louisiana! Jindal simply put, has nothing acceptable to Louisiana, to run on. Boasso recently noted on Lousiana… Jindal has as many points as a porcupine. The massive points facade again pretends a program for Louisiana, but only the bureaucrat from hell could pretend to butt heads with the Legislature to implement any of them!
The second reason for using the fancy sobriquet CORRUPTION is preemption. The national party during Bobby’s tenure has been tarnished from head to toe with countless scandals and many of the evangelical Christian voters when polled, listed corruption as the main reasons that they voted against the Republicans in the midterm elections, in which the Democrats gained the majority. Democrats should tarnish them again in the Christian communities with their tawdry scandals. The war is probably a bitter pill for the poorest in their ranks and should be hung around Bobby’s shoulders. Only the holier than thou crowd would have proudly used such a fraudulent issue as their campaign theme. Their whole campaign is a fraud with only the ballast of huge questionable corporate donations to keep them afloat.
The third reason for using corruption as their theme is to cover their own intentions to play dirty enough to compete with the Democrats. The huge corporate donations and the heavyhanded fundraising tactics are sure signs that this time they plan to take their strategy from the Edwards playbook and do whatever it takes to win.
Corruption is a serious allegation, and it should be taken seriously, particularly by a sitting United States Congressman. But, thus far, Jindal has demonstrated that he is not actually being serious when he accuses his opponents of corruption; he is simply saying the word, as if its mere iteration is all the proof he ever needs.
In a campaign that is dominated about plans for ethics reform, voters need to ask: Is it ethical for a political candidate to accuse his opponents of “corruption” without offering a single shred of evidence or documentation that justifies such a serious accusation? Is this the Louisiana in which we want to live? A place where the governor is allowed to accuse his dissenters of “corruption” without any proof?