Search This Blog


No trick reading Jindal intent, judging future performance

I guess I’m not part of the “political class” that keeps “busy with a new pastime: reading tea leaves” concerning what Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal will promote as policy when he takes office. Maybe I’m just too simple, but it seems like to me it’s all been made very obvious to us – which will give us clear benchmarks by which to assess his performance in the future.

It baffles me why one cannot go to Jindal’s campaign site and read what he has to say about important issues of the day. One columnist claims there’s only issue he seems to be clear on – ethics reform – and then thinks everybody must guess what he’s going to do. Well, it’s not hard to figure out, so let me assist:

1. Jindal wants to change the focus of health care. He proposes moving from a one-size-fits-all concept to one that simultaneously empowers consumers and brings more efficiency to the state’s pursuit of better health care.

2. He wants to shift spending priorities, principally dealing with transportation. He’d like to get rid of “slush fund” kind of spending which is determined more by politics than by genuine needs, where one of the biggest needs is an ailing transportation system.

3. He wants to change emphasis in education. He supports reconfiguring education systems and improving learning environments not necessarily with more expenditures, but by higher and reconceptualized standards.

4. He wants to reduce taxation, principally on income taxes. Certainly he desires immediate relief on certain counterproductive business taxes, but in the long run he’d like to lower if not eliminate income taxes.

To put things in even more specific terms that the “political class,” journalists, and anybody else who can’t understand the above: (1) Jindal wants to pass more stringent ethics requirements for those in government, (2) he wants to adopt an indigent health care system that steers money towards patients and the choices they make rather than to institutions where most money then gets controlled by government, (3) he wants to divert money when raised in certain specific areas such as transportation for use in that area, (4) he wants to have funding for higher education focused more on benchmarks of education of students rather than attraction of students by an institution, and (5) to cut corporate and individual income taxes, perhaps all the way to zero if he stays in office long enough. None of this is really difficult to understand, and has been repeated and publicly reported upon numerous times.

Jindal either will carry out what he said he was going to do, or he won’t. He’s not at all been ambiguous about what he supports, and a good portion of those who voted for him did so because of what he said on the issues. Yet somehow one observer opines it was not clear what “Jindal was saying and doing just to get elected, and what was an actual governing priority.” Perhaps it’s just a cynical reporter (with plenty of cause in this state to adopt this attitude, for sure) who just can’t believe her eyes or ears that Jindal would actually do what he said. But Jindal’s career has given no evidence that he will do anything but what he articulated.

(An aside: maybe the “political class” seems concerned about a regional “imbalance” in the selection of legislative leaders that supposedly puts north Louisiana on the short end of the stick, and, admittedly, I don’t hang around the “political class,” but hanging around the citizenry in north Louisiana I have detected no concern whatsoever about who is leading what. All they want is what they voted for, a more conservative, less populist, reform government, regardless of who leads it. Which may tell us that the so-called “political class” isn’t very much in touch with what Louisianans really think or want.)

Until by his actions Jindal does things that credibly allow for doubt in his promises, he should have the benefit of the doubt, and questioning whether he really means what he says at this juncture serves no constructive purpose. Rest assured that if Jindal does not make a good faith effort to implement his articulated policies, he will suffer the same inability to win reelection as has confounded every other “reform” governor in modern Louisiana history.


Anonymous said...

I sure hope that Jindal is the philosopher king you make him out to be. But how much was he able to do to clean up corruption in the Medicaid program? Most that follow Medicaid issues saw a lot more heat than light from his efforts.

He makes some good points about the charity hospital system, but those hospitals are quite necessary. Why? Because private providers are not interested in participating in the Medicaid program. The rates are confiscatory, and most quality providers cannot even break even doing Medicaid work.

Let's hope that Jindal is not a "fake" conservative like his mentor, Mike Foster. And let's hope that he and his Boys Wonder don't get "schooled" by the legislature like Buddy Roemer did.

You have to admit, his plans are a bit ethereal--long on wishful thinking and short on detail.

But he sure can't be any worse than what we have now. I'll grant you that.

75vega said...

If there is anyone to blame for the need to read tea leaves it's Jindal. We elected Jindal goernor, Jeff, not his website. Jindal's aversion to open dialogue and debate during the election has only calcified in the wake of his election. Writers like you went back and forth during the campaign over whether Jindal was being smart politically to run from the press and debates into carefully scripted events. For whatever reason, he was given a pass to act that way because he was so far in the lead. Now that the election is over, what's his excuse. Jeff: What exactly do you feel compelled to defend Jindal against he and his general consul's unreasonable behavior. Do you not think he is tough enough to do it himself?

Anonymous said...

Baton Rouge du Nord said... Most that follow Medicaid issues saw a lot more heat than light from his efforts.

If you understood how 'Medicaid issues' work in Louisiana you would know that the Sect of DHH does not act independently. He serves at the wishes of the Gov and the legislature. Alone he has no power to do much of anything.

Anonymous said...

The Bobby Jindal era can not begin fully until he selects the directors of DOTD and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the state's version of FEMA.

Add-into the list the director of DHH and his cabinet will be complete but when is the question?

Governor-Elect Jindal is no newcomer to these critical functions and, once he names those directors, the state will be well on its way to full operation by the time he takes over.

Jeff Sadow said...

You know, Jindal's still more than two weeks away from assuming office. Can we at least wait until he actually has the power to do stuff before deciding he's too secretive, or not going to do what he says he would?

Maybe something escapes me here, but if a candidate makes these statements in public and in campaign broadcast advertising, and then offers detailed versions in other camapign literature and on the web, that seems like a pretty clear indication what he's promising to do. Or, as a pal of mine wrote me when he saw this posting concerning those who don't seem to know what Jindal's going to do, "if they keep saying it enough maybe they'll begin to believe it."

And, reread the post. I don't address the Faircloth controversy in it. In another posting about how Blanco has nothing more to do that complain and revise her legacy I indirectly address it because it's one of the things she complains about to make herself look relevant. But nowhere do I "feel compelled to defend Jindal against he and his general consul's unreasonable behavior."

Anonymous said...

Jeff, You're right on the mark by stating that the Governor-Elect has been anything but secretative in his opening round of appointments therein seating his closest advisors.

No need to "defend Bobby" in any way; he's off to a great start to rebuilt this state one day at a time.
That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

David Brauner is coming up on a few boards as a front runner for Jindal's Ispector General. He has ties to Jindal that go far back in time.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, What is your read on Royal Alexander running for State Rep.?

Jeff Sadow said...

The District 6 race is something I'll get into in the near future but a quick read on Alexander would be he obviously knows how to campaign by getting into a statewide runoff but questions must linger about the size of his defeat and if he can turn around quickly after spending a lot for that and raising more.