I love visiting Louisiana. And considering their political history--Huey Long and David Duke come immediately to mind--it seems like they would be a hard state to embarrass, politically speaking.
But it's unlikely that there are many Louisianans not embarrassed by the recent performance of their governor, Bobby Jindal.
Jindal has been making headlines lately for claiming that he will not accept that part of the Stimulus money dedicated to extending unemployment benefits. The wisdom of this position can be debated, but the fact is that of all government spending, that is one of the most stimulative, because it's money that will be spent almost immediately, which helps businesses, which keeps other people employed, etc. etc. Also, the president doesn't have line-item veto power over the bill, so how does Bobby Jindal claim it? By refusing this slightly less than 1% of the money coming to Louisiana, is he effectively turning down all the stimulus money for his state? How will Louisiana's citizens feel about that?
Jindal-watchers had a field day when Bobby gave the Republican response to President Obama's inspiring, widely praised address to Congress. Bloggers and commentators immediately compared his sing-song performance to the 30 Rock character Kenneth the Page, and it's not hard to see why.
But never mind delivery--was Bobby right on the policy? That's what really counts. Substance, not style, right?
Well...not so much.
Jindal told a tale about how he stood alongside a Louisiana sheriff, fighting government red tape to try to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The point of the story seemed to be that because the Bush administration was incompetent, ALL government was necessarily incompetent and can never be relied on to provide any needed services. Which makes one wonder why bother being a governor, if you feel that way, but that's another story. Maybe a true story.
Because Jindal's wasn't.
On the occasion of his first national speech, broadcast all over the country, the world, even, directly on the heels of the historic first address to Congress of one of the most popular presidents in modern history, Bobby Jindal told a big fat stinker of a lie. He was called on it almost immediately, and now a Jindal spokesperson has admitted it.
Like I said, embarrassing.