In his new book Leadership and Crisis, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal accuses the Obama Administration of focusing on politics, instead of sound policy, during the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Jindal suggests the Obama Administration, among other things, acted slowly in responding to his request for extended federal funding for food stamps. The problem is:
According to the governor’s book, Obama rebuked him in private for publicly requesting food stamp assistance during a press conference on May 1. “Careful, this is going to get bad for everyone,” Jindal quoted the president as saying.
But this appears at odds with the other communiqués that the administration and the governor’s office were having at the time. For starters, Jindal’s press conference, in which he lamented the red tape surrounding food stamps, appeared to take place the same day that he formally made the request for assistance to the administration — not exactly a lengthy period of time for the White House to take action. Even then, the administration did respond fairly quickly. On May 3, two days after Jindal wrote a letter to the Department of Agriculture “formally requesting” authorization under the Oil Pollution Act “the distribution of commodities to disaster relief agencies and the state, as is done under the Food Stamp Act of 1977,” the department’s secretary responded kindly.
He writes a letter, then, hours after he delivers the letter, he accuses the Obama Administration of being dilatory and more interested in good press. And he says all of this in a press conference and then, a few months later, he repeats these accusations in his book, which he’s currently promoting in California.
Bobby Jindal, a man who rallied against the stimulus act while, at the same time, doled out stimulus checks, was frustrated with Obama for not IMMEDIATELY responding to a request for federal food stamp funding to Tom Vilsack. Apparently, before Jindal’s letter had even been discussed, the Governor had already taken to the airwaves to criticize “red tape.” It seems a little disingenuous. Bobby Jindal wants to convince us that he cared deeply about people receiving federally-subsidized food stamps after the BP fiasco.
Sorry, not buying it.
But even if I did believe it, c’mon, at the time, it looked as if Louisiana was facing an unprecedented, cataclysmic, ecological disaster; Jindal’s angry he didn’t receive a response on his very-obviously-meritorious food stamp request within the day? Five million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and his objection is that no one immediately wrote him back about food stamps, as if there weren’t a million other contingencies that the government was handling at the time, as if it demonstrated the President was purposely snubbing him. Give me a break. If anything, his faux-indignation about food stamps, to me, clearly demonstrates that his priorities were misplaced, that he failed to adequately lead during a crisis, and that he cared more about scoring political points than anything else.