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14.1.08

New LA Gov. Jindal means business in several ways

At 12:07 PM today, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took the oath of office. At 12:08, the website for that office had changed. The guy means business.

It wasn’t the only indicator of change to come, at least according to Jindal’s inaugural address. I lost count after a dozen of the times the word “change” or a conjugation of it was used. Other new governors have said it before. But Jindal, the first ethnic minority and first lifelong Republican elected to the office, had a bite in his rhetoric concerning its invocation.

Jindal did not just say he wanted to make government work more efficiently, but that “incompetence is not a synonym for government.” He didn’t just say he would work to see honesty prevail in government, but that the state needed to “win a war on corruption.” Government, he said, needed to alter the way it does things in order to catch up with the state’s hard-working people. These were a declaration of war relative to some of the good old boy politicians and their allies who have a vested interest precisely in not seeing such change occur.

He also made clear big changes in economic development policy were forthcoming. He briefly mentioned realigning curricula to meet a 21st century economy, and of a government efficient enough to help but knows “when to get out of the way” – another direct challenge to the good old boys who are more interested in using government to redistribute power and wealth to themselves and their political clients.

To the opponents who camouflage their ill will towards this agenda by asking for detailed plans about how he wants to do all of this stuff yesterday so they start planning how to stop it, he did give a small preview of coming attractions – the promised ethics special session will start Feb. 10 (somebody in the press was asleep and not thinking when it reported the session would be on the 5th – Mardi Gras). And he closed in a way demonstrating a sense of urgency, remarking “We can, we must, and we will change.”

When almost a dozen years ago I began to see Jindal’s name bandied about and how he was discussed as some sort of boy wonder, followed by his rapid administrative rise in state and federal government, I was amused by reaction to him the tone of coverage about him was on the order of “Bobby Jindal is here to save us all in Louisiana.” In a small way, Jindal in a related sense believes that, but only to the extent that he sees himself as the most important cog in a gear made up of the entire state to lead the revolution he and many want that he without their help can’t do: “Join us in our cause. Make everything not just a job but a cause.”

That rhetoric is really going to make some existing power brokers in this state nervous. Let the Jindal era begin.

4 comments:

justinterested said...

There still is a question of what Governor Jindal defines to be "corruption". Does it mean a public official goes to prison because the official committed a crime? That definition is understandable.

But does it also mean an official violates state law or violates the state constitution but the official is not 'caught'; so, therefore, the official keeps his/her job and there is no penalty.

If that is 'corruption', then the new Speaker of the House of Representatives with the tacit approval of Governor Jindal and the entire House, have allowed a representative to be elected to four consecutive terms to the House in violation of term limits in the Constitution and a recent La. Supreme Court Opinion.

Serving four consecutive terms in the House -- is that 'corruption'? And, if it is corruption, why haven't Speaker Tucker, or the membership of the House, or Governor Jindal stopped that 'corruption' -- stopped the violation of the term limits in the state Constitution.

The House with the prodding of Governor Jindal and Speaker Tucker, could have refused to seat this representative so that only legally elected Representatives would be sitting in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Is the new administration starting with a cloud of corruption hanging over their heads by allowing this representative to be elected to the House for four consecutive terms?

baton rouge du nord said...

I have never known an academic to be so intoxicated by vague plans, a webmaster that wants to keep his job, and a speech.

No sensible person could be against what Jindal proposes, but change does not occur merely by incantation. The proof will be in the pudding. Stay tuned.

For a more sober view, there is always Mr. Stonecipher.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am skeptical. I hope that ethical change and enforcement of those changes does, indeed, come. But most of the legislature is comprised of the same old bunch of fools (many having merely vacated the House for the Senate), and is still dominated by attorneys, who tend to have the largest potential conflicts of interest. This leave Jindal to "bribe" the legislature with surplus funds in order to win the fig leaf of ethical reform. Don't get me wrong - I want Jindal to succeed. But he will have to be shrewd, indeed, to keep old hands like Alario, Adley, etc. from playing him like a drum. Otherwise we will both build (and live on) a road from nowhere to nowhere.

Jeff Sadow said...

I agree, legislators should have protested Waddell's seating.

Our frequent commenter as of late has a talent for missing the obvious. Jindal very unambiguously says what he's going to, and then gives us an inaugural speech chock full of referents to it -- and these are denied in the vain hope that the denial itself changes the facts. There's a reason the space is called "Between the Lines" -- because it's here to help interpret what is left unsaid or not thoroughly analyzed in events of the day, and my analysis of the speech does that, as events will unfold to validate, very accurately.

Note, however as our other commenter seems to grasp, that Jindal indicating the broad philosophy of the radical change he proposes in several areas of policy is one thing, actually accomplishing it is another. My impression (and that others such as the Advertiser editorial page, etc.) is that he has the skills to do it. I hope so, too, but we shall see.