Search This Blog

13.1.08

Jindal not letting opponents goad him into miscues

Tomorrow Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal assumes that position, and in a couple of weeks he will reveal his call for the first special session of the Legislature he has promised. But this hasn’t been soon enough for a skeptical political class and his political opponents who keep pestering anybody who’ll listen how they think Jindal’s ideas about what he’ll do are too vague/not specific enough.

This befuddlement is caused by equal parts of their reluctance to accept that Jindal promises revolutionary developments because these run counter to their worldview concerning politics, and confusion over the difference between what Jindal says he’s going to try to do and how he’s going to try to do it. The former is crystal clear and already as a public service to these lost individuals already I have spelled out what Jindal has said on this. And in his latest interview on the subject, once again Jindal reiterated what he wants to do.

About the latter, I don’t know. And we’re not going to find out during his inaugural address tomorrow, and we won’t probably until the call itself actually comes out for the first presumed session on ethics and the second on spending issues. In fact, probably nobody except Jindal himself really knows these things and only he and his closest advisors will know prior to the calls and not long prior to the regular session – by design.

What Jindal does not want to happen by releasing a lot of details early is to allow opposition to form early with plenty of opportunity to resist his proposed policies – because there will be strident opposition to some of them. The more far-reaching elements of ethics reform (such as prohibitions on legislators and their families doing business with the state, lobbyist interactions, and the scope of coverage to local offices), the idea of tying all transportation-related revenues to transportation spending only, and changing the philosophy of the health care system from money-goes-to-the-institution to money-follows-the-person among others will generate significant resistance from the retrograde politicians and interests who like the state the way it is.

It’s no sign that Jindal is not “inclusive” enough – rest assured he’ll be looking to form winning coalitions in the new Legislature once he announced specific intended course of action, although that never will be “inclusive” enough to those who lose these public policy battles to him, and they will bray long and loud about that. It does indicate that Jindal knows he’s the one that can call the tune and he’ll call it at the point he thinks will maximize support and minimize the ability of opponents to counter.

By not being goaded into releasing policy details too early, already Jindal is showing he has the potential to push his agenda effectively. Opponents resent this, and supporters on this account must realize patience is a virtue.

3 comments:

75vega said...

I don't understand, I thought Bobby Jindal already put out his detailed 31 point plan on ethics? You mean he's already backing off of that? If not, what's this point in all of this? And who are these phantom critics? I find this post confusing.

baton rouge du nord said...

I guess getting a Ph.D doesn't preclude you from being afraid of the bogeyman.

Jeff Sadow said...

Maybe you missed the point of post. Jindal (and now the latecomer House Democrtaic Caucus) has an ethics plan that gives substantial information about what it will look like, but he's holding back how he's going to get there. What's going to be in what bill (all we know is there will be one for state and one for local)? What, for example, will be the exact income ranges to be reported? And so on ... giving these details now only will make it easier for opponents to try to water down or to defeat such measures with a thousand little cuts.

If you'll click on the article links, you'll see descriptions of and some actual names of critics. They come in two types, those whining about not being "consulted," and those who keep saying they don't know what Jindal is going to do. The first is probably true because they're not part of the majority Jindal needs to win on whatever issue, the second is another assertion that 2+2=5.

Just because they are cowed at this point and are trying to stay out of the limelight on this issue doesn not mean there isn't fierce opposition in some quarters to reforms. On some (ethics) they are not likely to prevail. On others (state spending) it's much less certain Jindal can overcome their resistence. Write me back in six months and we'll see.