Clancy Dubos unveils a salty blog tongue, and lambastes Jindal and his "implementer", Timmy Teepell, on their handling of the pay raise issue. Clancy compares them disfavorably to former Governors Fast Eddie, Queen Bee, and Big Daddy. That had to hurt. Remember, these were some of the previous governors Jindal insulted (by implication) in his inaugural address, when he said:
We come to the steps of this historic Capitol today to celebrate not just an election, but a new beginning. We are here not for one man to take an oath, but for one people to make commitments to each other. ... You have often heard me say that we do not have a poor state, but a state with poor leadership. That we do not have a state stuck in the past, but leaders who were unconcerned with the future. ... In our past, too many politicians looked out for themselves. Too many arms of state and local government did not get results. And the world took note.
Those stereotypes cost us credibility. They cost us investment. They cost us jobs.
Let us all resolve... that era ends today.
We can build a Louisiana where our leaders and our people set the highest standards and hold every member of our government accountable.
... a Louisiana where incompetence is not a synonym for government.
...a Louisiana where corruption does not hold us back.
That is why I am asking for your help in the next few months. We must win a war on corruption and incompetence in government.
Jindal, on the other hand, followed the form he has adopted since taking office: he dispatched Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell (or, alternatively, Teepell arrogated this responsibility to himself — both scenarios fit their individual styles) to stare down House Speaker Jim Tucker. That was like sending Pee Wee Herman into the ring against Mike Tyson. ... Teepell obviously didn’t know how far or how hard to could push back. Had he known, he could have — indeed, he should have, if he knew what he was doing — called Tucker’s bluff. The public would have sided with Jindal, of course. Instead, Teepell backed down and slinked back up to the Fourth Floor. ... Instead of looking like the smart kid, [Jindal] looks like a buffoon, repeating his talking points no matter what the question.
Worse yet for Jindal, he has now been exposed as a weakling. Teepell more so.
I know Nick's probably feeling a bit dispirited these days, but I can't help quoting from his recent post at the Conservative Cajun:
A little less than a year ago, I spent time comprising blog posts and newspaper opinion pieces promoting Bobby Jindal as the best gubernatorial candidate for Louisiana. Of all the 2007 candidates, I, and much of the state, believed he was the one to help turn our state around and lead a new legislature to defeat the old time politics that has plagued Louisiana for decades.
Boy was I wrong, at least the last couple of weeks look that way. ... Those who supported and helped campaign for Bobby Jindal last year as our reform governor have every right to feel used. I sure as hell do. ... Bobby Jindal definitely has Presidential ambitions, but if he can’t even take a stand against an arrogant bill from our state legislature, he will never be able to stand up to MoveOn.org and Islamic terrorists.
Step up Governor, be the man you promised and veto this bill. Or else, you can certainly count never receiving my vote for anything again.
This really is marvelous, politically-speaking. In the past year, Senator Vitter has gone from being Rudy's potential veep to being a national laughingstock. My local political nemesis, State Sen. Derrick Shepherd, has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
And now, five months after inauguration, supporters of "The Next Ronald Reagan" are feeling used, and are promising to never vote for Jindal again because of Timmy Teepell's incompetent handling of this pay raise issue.
My Schadenfrenemies are falling down quicker than Martika's toy soldiers.
All those moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.
Like the time I opened a narrow side door for Angelina at a church, and she passed under my extended arm; the time when I was waiting on Perrier Street with Brad, while he smoked a cigarette; the time when Zahara hunched over, scared, when a helicopter flew overhead, and Pearlgirl comforted her.
"Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..."
-- Barack Obama, discussing the sweeping historical mega-importance of his candidacy
"I see devastation in Iowa and Illinois that dwarfs what happened in New Orleans."
"My family and I have sworn a great oath to trust God and to fight on to vindicate ourselves and our good name. This we will do. And, in none of it, will I or they sacrifice our continued strong commitment and effective delivery of the things our people need to recover from the storm and from a bad economy."
-- indicted Congressman "Dollar" Bill Jefferson, hours before his sister pled guilty to knowing about his family's charity scam, and agreed to cooperate with the Feds
Jeffrey's post about Governor Jindal's "crappy governing" is a classic. Go read it. (But we should note that Jindal seems to have delegated the actual "governing" of the Gret Stet to Chief of Staff Timmy "the implementer" Teepell. See, Jindal himself is too busy vogueing for veep consideration and positioning himself for the GOP convention keynote address.)
Jeffrey concludes: "Congratulations, PBJ. Now you've managed to piss off everybody.... Buddy Roemer would be proud. Let us know if you need more rubber bands."
Which gives me the opportunity to excerpt this historical factoid from Gambit Weekly:
1991... Gov. Buddy Roemer's opponents start calling him "Nutty Buddy" when news surfaces of his life-coach making him wear rubber bands on his wrist with instructions to snap them and say, "Cancel," whenever a negative thought enters his mind.
And this T-P letter from a crestfallen dragonslayer lover:
After the last governor's election, I thought we had something special. It is now apparent that we do. It is called the Louisiana Jellyfish.
We have a spineless creature in the mansion who can't seem to stand up to the Legislature.
=== * Why did I force together such a silly post title? Because I could.
Now this is interesting. President Bush, Sen. John McCain, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist have all reversed their positions on offshore drilling, and now support it. They think that high gas prices and the potential for lucrative oil royalties will persuade Floridians (and others) to come around on the issue, as well.
This coordinated political maneuver is extremely risky for McCain. Last week, I quoted from a fallacious WSJ editorial that portrayed drilling in hurricane zones as nearly risk free. The WSJ opinion page urged McCain to change his stance, to which I responded:
This is comically stupid. If McCain supports drilling, he'll lose Florida, and he can't win the election without winning Florida.
I still believe this is an incredibly risky maneuver for McCain, because it jeopardizes Florida in the general election (where a recent poll already put Obama ahead). Approving drilling off of Florida's coasts will not improve gas prices in the short term, but it will mobilize environmentalists and many coastal residents who fear their tourist-filled beaches might be affected. Plus, there's the whole "flip flop" meta-issue for McCain and veep wannabe Crist, not to mention that this coordinated play aligns them more closely to President Bush. This is the political equivalent of a Hail Mary for the McCain campaign, and they are throwing it in June. Are Floridian voters who are angered by high gas prices going to channel their anger towards environmentalists, or to the flip-flopping triumvirate of Bush/McCain/Crist? That's the question. Then what if gas prices drop significantly in the fall? Or what if Bush gets frisky and bombs Iran and prices go through the roof, and everyone is reminded of the geopolitical turmoil in the Mideast that Bush's Iraq war has exacerbated? What if, heaven forfend, there's an oil spill? And why is ANWR-- a remote, oil rich portion of Alaska-- sacrosanct to McCain, but not Florida's "Emerald Coast" (or its "Fun Coast", or its "Space Coast", or whatever the hell the tourism bureau is calling their coasts nowadays)? And even if we add more supply, how will we refine it if "we" don't build some more refineries? (For the record, I'm not reflexively opposed to offshore drilling, but I am opposed to drilling advocates who portray drilling as risk-free.)
Behold, a miracle... In a speech in Houston yesterday, [Senator McCain] finally came out in favor of increasing domestic energy supplies.
This is progress, even if it did come dressed in some of Mr. McCain's familiar policy confusions. ... The candidate now says we must drill for more domestic oil "as a matter of fairness to the American people." He did not back off from his sentimentality about ANWR -- leaving off-limits nearly half of the proven reserves of the entire U.S. at 10.4 billion barrels. But he did propose to open most of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to development, so long as the nearby states were in favor. ... We hear -- and hope -- that as early as this week President Bush may lift a 1990 executive order that prohibits offshore drilling.... Since [high gas] prices are hurting the GOP politically almost as much as they're hurting consumers economically, Mr. McCain's drilling reversal sets him up for a useful debate with Barack Obama.
Bring the debate on, I say! But then, another miracle happens, and, unwittingly, the WSJ perfectly outlines an excellent line of attack for Obama to use against McCain's new position:
Mr. McCain would have an easier time making a contrast with Mr. Obama if he didn't also support a softer version of cap and trade himself, on top of all his other green genuflections. He also needs to get his bearings on the reason oil prices are high. It's not merely rising demand from China and India, and it certainly isn't because "some people on Wall Street" are speculating in the futures market, as Mr. McCain claimed yesterday.
Mr. McCain seems to lack a basic understanding of how markets work and so is often swayed by such populist nostrums. He would have been better off mentioning the Federal Reserve and Bush Administration's weak dollar policy, which has sent all commodity prices soaring across the board since last August. By rightly blaming inflation, he would also have put himself on the side of the middle class the way Ronald Reagan did...
Obama can easily say: "McCain is confused. We can't drill our way out of this problem, and he doesn't seem to understand that Bush's weak dollar policies are the primary cause of increasing gas prices. McCain is telling tall tales if he thinks drilling off Florida's coast will lower prices in the short term. But here's what we can do to bring quick relief to hardworking Americans: we can elect a President who has a credible Treasury Secretary and a credible "stronger dollar" policy, so that we can stop the inflation of our gas, our food, and other commodities. After all, wasn't it Ronald Reagan who said that inflation was the "cruelest tax"? And didn't Reagan curtail inflation with the help of a strong Federal Reserve Chairman named Paul Volcker, who has endorsed my campaign? If you think Bush and McCain have the answers to your problems, you know who to vote for. But if you're not better off now than you were eight years ago, I have one final question to ask you: isn't it time for a change?"
Tomorrow I’ll call for lifting the federal moratorium for states that choose to permit exploration... I think that this and perhaps providing additional incentives for states to permit exploration off their coasts would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis.
The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017.
When McCain makes a gross misstatement, Dems would do well not to ever say "senior moments", or allude to age at all. However, repeatedly characterizing McCain's false claims as him likely being "confused" is defensible, and within the bounds of bare-knuckled political brawling. Still, it's a pretty insidious play.
The media has been slow to cover McCain's foreign policy "confusions", but they will, eventually. (The later the better, actually.) And you can be sure McCain will make more blunders. And when he does, watch how lathered up the Goops get if a few Democratic talking heads start saying "McCain is confused", over and over.
Trust me, that will touch a nerve.
Suddenly the innocent "What, now we can't say Obama's middle name?" crowd will be very quick to find "ageist" subtexts in Democratic talking points.
As some Republicans see it, Democrats are deliberately talking in code about the presumptive 71-year-old GOP nominee as part of an attempt to highlight his age.
“It is code; there is no question it is,” Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist who helped lead President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign, said when age surfaced as an issue. “They are trying to raise doubts.”
Not quite. The doubts about McCain's age are already there. Dems are slyly trying to tickle and activate them, in a way that's plausibly deniable.
To Democrats, however, Republicans are imagining slights and smears where there are none as part of an attempt to silence any discussion of McCain’s vigor.
That's why it is so insidious. The Dems can deny it and play dumb: "What, now it's ageist to say 'McCain is confused'? I thought you could be confused at any age. McCain said Obama was confused... etc." As I wrote in a post nearly 3 months ago:
This is a much more devastating narrative than it might appear at first glance to non-politicos. Quite simply, the "McCain is confused" meme feeds into voters' fears that he is too old to be President. So every time he makes a gaffe, the "confused" description can be used by the Dems, and-- most importantly-- can be repeated over and over again with plausible deniability. Back in February, McCain charged Obama with being "confused". That hardly made a dent. But when the tables are turned, it becomes a very insidious and effective play.
But a Democratic strategist not involved in the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said he sees footprints of a deliberate Obama campaign strategy.
“They have made allusions to McCain’s age and temperament because, with McCain, both his age and his volatile temper are legitimate issues. There is a line of appropriateness that they cannot cross. And I don’t think they have,” the strategist said.
And they won't cross that "line". They don't need to. If they do, it will backfire on them. If they don't, it will backfire on Republicans who complain. (Fwiw, I've not seen a national effort by the Obama campaign to stoke the temperament issue. But do note the "tempered by inconsistency" quote at the end of this post. That's a particularly clever locution.) So, the question becomes, what are the "footprints" that the unnamed Dem strategist is referring to?
[W]hen Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) each described McCain as “confused” last week, Republicans became convinced that Democrats intend to run a crypto-ageist strategy, using words that create a subtle impression in voters’ minds.
You don't say? Perhaps more "Republicans" should read YRHT for ahead-of-the-curve political analysis.
McCain himself did little to wave reporters off the narrative.
“I’m obviously disappointed in a comment like that,” McCain said when asked about Kerry’s statement that the Republican “confuses” facts about Iran, Al Qaeda, and Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Kerry called the suggestion that his comments had something to do with age “unfair and even ridiculous.”
McCain's "obviously disappointed", but he can't explain why. He can't point to anything concrete, and if he tries to explain why "confused" is code for "being old", he'll look like a whiner, the media won't buy it, and people will just be reminded again that he's a septuagenarian. McCain is boxed in, and the Obama camp knows it. That's why it's such an insidiously effective political play.
The Obama campaign -- with surrogates Sen. John Kerry, foreign policy adviser Dr. Susan Rice and former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig -- held a conference call Wednesday morning to argue McCain was “confused” about foreign policy... ... During the question-and-answer session, call participants were pressed on whether their use of the word “confused” was meant to suggest that McCain was too old for the job.
Rice said the word was not intended to be a comment on McCain’s age...
Kerry was even sharper in his response. “I think it’s unfair and a little bit ridiculous that because you use a word that’s used every day that you jump to the conclusion that it’s about McCain’s age,” he said. “There are plenty of senators older than McCain who don’t make those mistakes. He cited John Warner and others, who don’t make those mistakes.”
Danzig added that it’s “not a question of age at all.” He said McCain’s statements were “bad judgment” “tempered by inconsistency.”
On a lighter note, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest chimed in, “Now that we’ve cleared up the confusion about the word confused, let’s take the last question.”
The Obama campaign knows what it's doing, and knows how to win.
None of the big bloggers seem to recall that this tasteless button mocking Obama's skin color at the Texas GOP state convention was based on a "joke" told by a conservative Colorado businessman [and Republican donor and Chairman of Centennial Bank] earlier this year. It bombed, and the businessman was forced to apologize. (Btw, I wonder where he first heard it?)
Perhaps it's just a joke in search of an audience.
I'm sure GOP conventions will market similar pins about Jindal in 2012. Right? Or perhaps the LA GOP could get out front on the "issue", and start marketing pins that ask "Now that Jindal is governor, will we start calling the capital city 'Sepia Stick'?"
Because, you know, it's all in good fun. No one really cares about skin color anymore, but it's just so darn funny to some people.
The proposed 72-mile Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system that would protect the Houma area could cost between $10.7 billion and $11.2 billion, according to a preliminary estimate prepared for the Army Corps of Engineers by a contractor.
That's at least 12 times the most recent $882 million estimate for the project, and dwarfs even the $1.5 billion estimate that state officials have said they expected from post-Katrina inflation.
"I don't care how they package this or who they blame this on," said Garret Graves, Gov. Bobby Jindal's coastal adviser and chairman of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. "It's ridiculous and absurd.
"Apparently, the authors of the report included a Hummer for every citizen of Terrebonne Parish within their cost estimate," he said.
I'm not sure such quotes should be printed in a family newspaper, but even at $300 per hour I think that still vastly understates the exhorbitant new cost estimate of this project.
This editorial from the Gambit also seems important:
While Congress and the Bush Administration haggle over what should be included in the emergency Gulf War spending bill, the American Gulf Coast finds itself caught in the middle. ... The House and the Senate each have their own version of the bill, but the Senate's version clearly meets Louisiana's needs better. The Senate bill puts the state's share of the current projects' cost at $1.3 billion — and it gives us 30 years to ante up. The House version, which essentially repeats what the president requested for hurricane protection in his Fiscal Year 2009 budget, would require the state to put up $1.5 billion — in just three years.
The House version would put undue pressure on any state. It is particularly harsh on Louisiana, which is still recovering from an event that flooded 80 percent of its largest city. Indeed, the higher cost and shorter payment term in the House version would be a bitter pill to swallow, considering the federal government's primary role in causing the post-Katrina, man-made disaster. Although Louisiana currently enjoys a budget surplus that allows it to accelerate coastal restoration and protection projects (lawmakers dedicated $300 million to these efforts in 2008), the House's cost-share allocation and time table could easily drain the state's budget by 2011.
"If the House version passes, Louisiana's coastal restoration efforts will come to a near-complete standstill for the next five years," says Garret Graves, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. That's a bleak picture for a state that loses an estimated 50 acres of wetlands every day. Knowing this, and realizing how critical restoring America's wetlands is to defending the Gulf South against hurricanes, Congress and the president should agree that the Senate version is the better choice — not just for Louisiana, but also for America.
As he introduced McCain [in Kenner], Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal teased the crowd about his visit to the Arizona senator's ranch for a Memorial Day barbecue. Jindal is considered in many quarters a possible contender for the vice president spot.
"I can tell you that secret now," Jindal said. "John is a great cook."
Again, the (websiteless?) Greater New Orleans Republicans are sending out press releases via the Dead Pelican, blasting the proposed pay raise for the Legislature.
But the so-called "reformers" at GNOR kept their fat traps shut about the extravagances of the Nagin administration, whom they endorsed for re-election in 2006. As you can see from Stephanie Grace's recent column in the T-P, Nagin has increased pay for his top staff throughout his stay in office, before and after the federal flood, but this never seemed to concern the GNOR. I guess they're satisfied with the results.
It's no secret that top jobs at City Hall now come with exceedingly comfortable salaries that far exceed those earned by most constituents. What's becoming ever clearer is that several top officials, like the mayor, have no qualms about helping themselves to some juicy perks.
We can't say we weren't warned, at least somewhat.
Nagin made it clear from the beginning that he doesn't think entering public service means having to give up the good life. During his first campaign, he actually promised to pay his brain trust more than top officials have made in the past, on the theory that better salaries would help attract top talent.
And he followed through, raising pay for top appointees by as much as 84 percent right off the bat.
But he didn't stop there. Salaries for top staffers have climbed steadily throughout his tenure. ... And Hurricane Katrina's devastation did nothing to stem the tide.
Communications Director Ceeon Quiett, for example, now earns $131,468, more than double the initial salary of Nagin's first public information head Patrick Evans, and nearly triple the position's pay nine years ago under Marc Morial.
If in haste you make a sub-optimal eating decision in New Orleans, and enter a fast food drive-thru, and get stuck waiting in a line much longer and slower than you anticipated... and the sun is beating on you, and there's nothing good on the radio... I have a suggestion.
When you finally idle up to the speaker to place your order, casually tell the server that you would like an Arnold Palmer to drink. Use the assumption principle.
Now, you may get some static. But persist with it. Repeat, explain, cajole, bribe-- act like you order Arnold Palmers all the time. It's the most natural beverage choice in the world. Nothing else compares. Have you ever tried it? Well you should. It's incredibly refreshing on a hot summer's day.
If need be, escalate the situation and talk to the manager. Expect satisfaction. They customize burgers here, right? Then why not drinks? ...etc.
So, when you drive around to pay for and receive your mixed drink, cue up the following Dickies classic and turn it up:
[Important Health Note: don't actually drink the beverage that you eventually receive. This was merely an exercise in sustained impishness; an attempt to redeem a bad situation. Go to the poboy shop around the corner to eat, as you should've done in the first place. Hopefully there will be a self-serve fountain drink area where you can create your own Arnold Palmer. (Though nothing beats homemade.)]