“WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE“?


Winning 91 out of 103 precincts, Baton Rouge lawyer Dan Claitor effectively mopped the floor with the cape of Superman (Bobby Jindal) over Lafayette native Lee Domingue, as predicted last week — 11,713 to 6,114.

Bobby, you’re no Clark Kent. What Team Jindal must recognize is that they will continue to be political kryptonite to super candidates (which Domingue debatably was) until Jindal learns to connect to a constituency. Who are Bobby’s “people”? He has alarmed LABI and the business community by stating that he would not oppose a legislative effort pushed by neo-populists to raise the homestead exemption (meaning businesses would pay even more taxes).

He has failed to initiate any personal discussions with universities (most obviously LSU) or health care constituencies over his proposed $600 million plus dollars in cuts to learn how it would impact them (instead dispatching Commissioner of Administration Angèle Davis and DHH Secretary Alan Levine to be the designated javelin catchers). He has left a courageous Superintendent Paul Pastorek out on the limb by failing to publicly and politically back his effort to reform school boards, drawing the ire of education reformers. So, who owes him anything? The only group he has taken an affirmative stance against are north Louisiana chickens. Touted as a “New Age Republican,” Jindal proposes to pump $40 million into a north Louisiana chicken plant, while cutting LSU by $100 million and other universities an additional $100 million. Mike Foster, Edwin Edwards and even Kathleen Blanco understood that in order to have Gubernatorial Coattails, you must have a constituency, a base, or as is referred to in Cajun Country, “your people.” Even in Lafayette, there seems to be a retraction of Jindal support. A recent fundraiser for Jindal at Lafayette car dealer Bob Giles’ River Ranch home reportedly drew a tepid crowd of 30-35 people — and not a single legislator from Lafayette.

Jimmy Davis was The Singing Governor. John McKeithen the Superdome Governor. Edwin Edwards, the Cajuns’ Governor. Mike Foster, the Business Governor. Kathleen Blanco, the Education Governor. Jindal is The Frequent Flyer Governor. And he will not develop a constituency (other than Delta or Continental Airlines) until he focuses on the job he has, personally commits to meeting and knowing those constituencies that are affected by his policies, and matures to the point of knowing that Louisiana in fact needs a champion, a hero if you will. Not a star-struck aspiring Super Hero.



THE NEW FOUND LINK

As expected, state Rep. Elbert Guillory led the pack in the District 24 Senate primary 41 percent to 29 percent over Patricia Cravins, matriarch of the Cravins political dynasty. Cravins ran respectably in Lafayette Parish, leading Guilllory 1,805 to 810. But the ominous sign for the Cravins political machine was the astoundingly poor showing she made in their home parish power base of St. Landry, where Guillory defeated Cravins 4,591 to 1,963. In fact, Cravins only outpaced the third-place finisher, Republican Link Savoie, by 116 votes in St. Landry — certainly a disappointing showing for a candidate whose son and husband have held elective office in the parish. The challenge seems mighty high for Cravins in the May 2 runoff, as it is difficult to see Cravins picking up any of the Republican support which backed Savoie. A Savoie endorsement of Guillory would mean one foot in the grave for the Cravins candidacy.

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