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Jindal's specific comments reinforce radical reform image

Rep. Bobby Jindal slowly but surely has been giving details about what he would do as Louisiana governor, and as he does it’s becoming clear that had Jindal been governor during the last legislative session things would have gone very differently, and would continue to do so during his term.

Perhaps the two highest-profile pieces of legislation that failed in the waning days of the session dealt with substantially increased financial disclosure by public officials and dedicating revenues from transportation-related uses to building and maintenance of transportation projects. The first lost because legislators wanted to make a show of reform but didn’t really want it, while the second would have made legislators unable to fund things like about 1,200 new state jobs in a state which has shrunk in population and in giving pay raises to vacant positions.

Enjoying high positive name recognition and commanding leads in polls, Jindal has had the luxury (much to the chagrin of all other candidates) of not having to say much specifically about his platform – following the old rule of if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. But in an electoral environment screaming for change, candidates must provide examples of radical change they wish to pursue to stay at the crest of this wave and to empower themselves with a perceived mandate if winning the office.

With his argument that he would want to enact the basic purposes of these defeated bills, and with other statements on similar issues, the Republican is beginning to give the details necessary to win and to produce a Legislature favorably disposed to approving what they would see as very popular sentiments. On the other side of the coin, good-old-boys in the Legislature and elsewhere must realize their days of power and influence in the state will come to an end under this regime.

The statement by Jindal most reinforcing this, however, was not specific but general in nature: “Don’t let anyone tell you we are a poor state. We just have poor leadership.” Translation: the days of justifying your office-holding by carting back “stuff” from Baton Rouge, rather than considering primarily real and genuine state needs for spending decisions, will draw to a close with a Jindal administration.

High expectations have formed around Jindal as a reformer of what ills the state now for decades. Promises such as these kept by Jindal if elected shows he is ready to deliver a cure.

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