Speaking on NPR over the weekend, Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, who advised both George W. Bush and John McCain, calls Gov. Bobby Jindal an “outside pick” for VP who's worth keeping an eye on:
The guy, I think, is kind of an outsider that people should keep an eye is Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, ‘cause he’s - he’d be sort of an outside pick, a bit of a long shot that would excite people because, you know, he’s of Indian descent. Conservatives love him. But he also has an amazing track record on health care issues. I mean he worked in HHS earlier on in his career, so you’d be an interesting pick and what I think would excite people and be a little bit different.
McKinnon was commenting to NPR’s Rachel Martin about possible strategies Mitt Romney, who is likely to secure the Republican nomination, might use in choosing his running mate. Read a transcript of the exchange here.
The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, however, had a different take on the Jindal for VP speculation this morning:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: Plausible .?.?. but why?
Romney has survived the primary campaign by declaring himself to be an ideologically pure conservative, but nothing in his history suggests this is actually the case. He’s a dedicated believer in the free market, without question. Beyond that, however, he’s basically a technocrat who lets data, not ideology, lead him to solutions — as with the health-insurance mandate he instituted in Massachusetts.
So why would he choose another data-driven technocrat as his running mate? Jindal would bring neither charisma nor the electoral votes of a swing state to the ticket.
Read Robinson’s handicapping of potential running mates here.
Riding high on the success of his sweeping education reform legislation, Jindal is now turning his attention to reforming the state’s retirement system.
Shreveport demographer Elliott Stonecipher, a frequent critic of the governor, minced no words about Jindal’s motives in his eblast this morning:
Those of us keeping up with what happens behind the political curtain have a bad feeling of deja vu on that score. I’ve written about it enough, and won’t belabor it, but the fact is Governor Jindal strong-arms these “reforms” through a pre-leased legislature each time he’s hoping to be the vice presidential candidate on his party’s ticket. Ramping up to the 2008 presidential election it was “ethics reform,” and four years later as we gird for the 2012 campaign it’s “education reform.” The problem is, “ethics reform” was no such thing. It was, rather, a huge political show for a national audience which, back here on the farm, put governors and legislators in charge of ethics enforcement. That is never a good thing anywhere, but maybe especially not in Louisiana. For those who keep up, we know our governmental ethics regime was not reformed, it was hammered into submission by those who are, or figure they might be on any given day, unethical.
Why do this in 23 days? What was the rush if it isn’t to get Jindal back to the top of that veep list just about the time Mitt Romney is wrapping up the Republican nomination? Coincidence, especially since precisely the same timing applied to the 2008/ethics reform blueprint? Apparently not since prominent Republican George Will just said so on national television. (I respect George Will, especially for his knowledge of baseball, but I’d be stunned if he has spent 15 seconds finding out what anyone in Louisiana thinks about how our governor “reforms” things.)
One way or the other, Gov. Jindal isn’t likely to be living in Louisiana when we struggle with our newfound, quasi-public school system. That’s never a good thing. It’s the opposite of skin in the game. It’s more like drastic change on the ground and changer-in-chief in the wind.
Truth be known, former teacher that I am, I cannot in good conscience claim that the outlines of the governor’s plans don’t make sense ... they do. I can, though, say this very clearly: when a governor or mayor or any other governmental executive is about to change the legal basics of the employment status of tens-of-thousands workers, he or she must, as a good and decent human being, find more than 23 days to do it ... many, many more than 23.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.