Governor Jindal had a tough act to follow on Tuesday night, and unfortunately for him and for the State of Louisiana, his response has been nearly universally slammed.
But I think a good friend of mine, Andy, in Houston may have said it best :
I’d like to thank your State for giving the rest of us the pleasure of watching your Governor’s career die on live television. It was truly a joy. I like the part where he says sneeringly that the government’s paying for “something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Like, why would anyone feel the need to predict a natural disaster? Especially in the same speech as all of that misguided Katrina stuff. The whole thing was just staggeringly ill-conceived. I think to everyone else on the planet the lesson of Katrina was that we do need a functional government. It’s hard to pull yourself out of drowning by your bootstraps.
I would think that people would be pretty offended by this guy threatening the State’s bottom line to advance his own Presidential fantasy.
Ouch. I’m not quite as ready to sound the death knell, but certainly, the speech did deflate Jindal’s “Presidential fantasy,” which, hopefully, means he’ll be spending more time actually being Governor of Louisiana and less time posturing, politicking, and campaigning all over the nation, only a year after being elected Governor for the first time.
Yes, I thought the speech was horrible. I thought he sounded less like a strong leader and more like a kindergarten teacher reading to his class.
But either way, the real unfortunate collateral damage this speech inflicted wasn’t on Jindal’s Presidential fantasy; it was on the State of Louisiana.
He made us all look ungrateful.
While he droned on about government waste and Katrina as an example of incompetence, the rest of the waking world was thinking, “Wait, isn’t this guy from Louisiana? What about all the federal aid they received?”
Chris Matthews wasn’t the only person in America wondering this; he just happened to be on live television at the time.
It puts the rest of us in Louisiana in a defensive position.
It severely undercuts the truth: That the failure of the levees in New Orleans was created and caused by engineers and bureaucrats in the federal government and that, for decades, Louisiana has not received her fair share of oil and gas royalties (a point Jindal actually made, rather forcefully, during his interview on Meet the Press).
What we need now is someone, other than our Governor like, say, President Obama, to counter this criticism. Louisiana is not “a rich State,” as Mr. Jindal likes to believe when he’s on the trail; it’s a poor State, the SECOND poorest State in the nation. Rich, technically I suppose, in natural resources, but what good is that when we receive the short end of the deal on oil and gas royalties?
Jindal’s colleague, Governor Sarah Palin, on the other hand, presides over a State that actually PAYS people to live there from the beaucoups of money they receive in royalties.
We all need to work hard to stop this ridiculous meme that Louisianans are ungrateful. We’re not ungrateful. We simply seek equity on these critical issues.
Oh, and ironically, guess who is “indignant” about Jindal’s snipe at volcano monitoring?
Alaskans! Quoting The Boston Herald:
“Volcano monitoring is a matter of life and death in Alaska,” Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said in an open letter to Jindal.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, quickly agreed, noting in a press statement how “absolutely appropriate” it is to spend money on volcano monitoring.
The USGS also staffs volcano observatories in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, but most of the nation’s active volcanoes – and most of the yearly eruptions – occur in Alaska, said Eichelberger, who once worked at the Alaska Volcano Observatory while a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“It was a strange thing for (Jindal) to pick up on,” he said. “This is really very important work. We can see these eruptions coming, so it saves lives to be able to warn people.”