There’s no shortage of stories this week about the national Republican Party’s soul searching in the wake of Tuesday’s election losses. The inevitable question is who will head the party’s ticket in 2012. One emerging figure on the party’s national stage is Louisiana’s young policy wonk governor, Bobby Jindal. Last week, The Times-Picayune featured a prominent story on Jindal’s rising star and Fox News posed this headline question: “Is Governor Bobby Jindal the man to rebuild the GOP?” Fueling speculation is the fact that Jindal has been campaigning with other GOP candidates across the country this year and plans to be in Iowa — the first primary caucus state — to deliver a speech before the Iowa Family Policy Center later this month.
For his part, Jindal continues to downplay any speculation of a 2012 presidential bid. In an interview with WDSU in New Orleans, he said he intends to stay put. “I do plan on running for a second term,” Jindal said. “I have no intention of running for other offices.
OBAMA BREAKS LA.'S 40-YEAR STREAK
It’s been 40 years since Louisiana voters opted for a presidential candidate who did not win the overall national election. In the Nov. 4 election, Louisiana was one of 22 states whose voters opted for Republican John McCain rather than Democrat Barack Obama, now the president-elect. The state gave McCain a strong showing, with 58.6 percent of the vote and a 366,622 edge over Obama. Only Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee had higher margins for McCain.
The last time Louisiana supported the loser in the presidential race was 1968, when the state went for Alabama governor and third-party candidate George Wallace. Louisiana also was among states supporting the failed bid of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, who lost in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson in 1964. From 1968 to this year, Louisiana supported the winning presidential candidate in nine straight elections.
LAFAYETTE SEES NEAR-RECORD TURNOUT
Lafayette Parish saw 70.18 percent of its registered voters turn out for the Nov. 4 election, besting the overall state turnout of 66.5 percent. The turnout is not quite a record for the parish, but Clerk of Court Louis Perret says it’s the highest turnout for a presidential election in at least 40 years. “Beyond that, the records aren’t as clear,” he says. The number is still significantly less than the 78 percent of parish registered voters who turned out for the 1991 state election featuring the gubernatorial showdown between David Duke and Edwin Edwards.
HELL FREEZES OVER: MOON GRIFFON NO LONGER REPUBLICAN
Conservative radio talk show host Moon Griffon, who’s built a statewide radio empire as Louisiana’s redneck answer to Rush Limbaugh, has left the Republican Party. The Advocate reports that Griffon has re-registered as a “no party” voter. Ironically, the man many national commentators are pointing to as a potential savior for the Republican Party, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, appears to be the reason behind Griffon’s defection. “My frustration with Bobby Jindal is that he is not being a conservative,” Griffon told the paper, citing Jindal’s 11th-hour capitulation on vetoing legislative pay raises and repealing the Stelly tax — issues Griffon believes the governor should be leading on.
Griffon was a champion of Jindal’s throughout his 2007 campaign for governor. More recently, the Monroe-based political commentator was a vocal proponent of Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy’s failed bid for U.S. Senate. Prior to the Nov. 4 election, Griffon was on the airwaves labeling Kennedy’s opponent, Sen. Mary Landrieu, a socialist. Griffon is celebrating 10 years on the air with The Moon Griffon Show. This week, he was at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette tomorrow for a celebratory roast in his honor, hosted by 105.1 KPEL and benefitting LA Honor Air. The lineup of roasters included former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, and state Sens. Mike Michot, Troy Hebert and Nick Gautreaux.
MORE PROBLEMS WITH GUSTAV RESPONSE
The Advocate reports that there were more problems than just long lines for food stamps after Hurricane Gustav. The daily Baton Rouge paper has combed through thousands of pages of e-mails from the Louisiana Department of Social Services to document other problems that haven’t been made public. DSS Secretary Ann Williamson, a hire during the Blanco administration, resigned after Gov. Bobby Jindal publicly criticized her agency’s response to the storm. Other problems unearthed by The Advocate include returning evacuees to towns where they didn’t live, buses directed to shelters that were full, and “complaints that ill, elderly people arrived at shelters smelling of urine because buses had broken toilets and drivers refused to stop for restroom breaks.”
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.