By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Erick Erickson has an op-ed in NOLA in which he says Governor Bobby Jindal “has been one of the most successful reform governors” in Louisiana’s history.  I’m not sure those of us living in Louisiana are all singing Jindal’s praises. By my reluctance to sing Jindal’s high praises you might question my conservative credentials, but hang on a moment.

Mr. Erickson writes:

The results of Jindal’s reforms have been tremendously positive for Louisiana. The state has seen reinvestment in schools. The suburbs of Baton Rouge stretch south closer and closer to New Orleans. New business is coming in.

A state where once businesses avoided because they did not want to pay kickback money to local officials now sees national businesses beating a path to the bayous. But the old culture, the comfortable culture subsidized by the state, is fading. People are restless and resentful.

Jindal has been one of the most successful reform governors in Louisiana’s history. He downsized the state. He privatized state businesses. He created jobs and brought in major corporations.

But what about the huge budget shortfall we are facing?  Jindal’s administration has juggled money from one fund to another and now are caught short handed by about $1.6 billion, a nasty problem Jindal has outsourced to Grover Norquist.

And how is it possible that even though Jindal moved the 2016 presidential primaries up by two weeks in order to attract more attention to Louisiana, he didn’t fund them in his budget:

But the money for those elections was nowhere to be found in the governor’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, as legislators discovered Wednesday.

“I have no funding for elections past the fall elections,” Secretary of State Tom Schedler said during a review of the governor’s budget before the state House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

When it comes time to slash programs to make up shortfalls, health care and higher education are invariably the first ones to get the ax.

Bob Mann, with whom I seldom agree, wrote a scathing column suggesting Jindal resign and just turn the last year of his term over to Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne:

These are dangerous times, and Louisiana needs a full-time governor completely focused on our challenges. It’s not only our budget crisis, but also other serious problems that still require an active governor’s attention in the final year of his term.

You’re rarely in Louisiana these days. When you are home, you’re more interested in writing op-eds for out-of-state newspapers.

Mann lists one grievance after another (but as a staffer for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, again, he and I seldom agree).

Mr. Erickson is correct in saying Jindal has brought jobs to Louisiana.  Quinn Hillyer gets specific about that:

Much of this success comes from remarkable, ongoing and even accelerating private capital investment, more than $54 billion worth (including projects in development) since Jindal took office. CenturyLink is adding 1,100 new jobs in Monroe, IBM 800 jobs in Baton Rouge, and Sasol’s natural gas facility near Lake Charles is forecast to bring 7,000 new jobs (direct or indirect). In August, Business Facilities magazine rated Louisiana’s business climate the best in the whole nation; three other similar magazines rank Louisiana in the top 10 — as does national location-marketing firm DCI in a rating released Oct. 20, marking an improvement of 20 spots since 2011.

All of which, in total economic terms, has meant real Gross Domestic Product growth for Louisiana of $44.6 billion. Even after adjusting for inflation, that number is $17.98 billion, or 8.8 percent, which is an astonishing 86 percent faster than national real GDP growth since January 2008.

In addition, Louisiana has become Hollywood south.  This list of films made here or in progress is lengthy.

So what’s the problem?

Jindal is not without chinks in his armor.

Some suggest his ethics reform has been a sham; from my own column in American Thinker in 2011:

The Public Affairs Research Council and the Citizens For a Better Louisiana, both non-partisan, find fault with Jindal’s failure to uphold a promise that would reduce the occurrence of nepotism and conflict of interest.  In fact, Jindal has signed exceptions around the conflict of interest laws when it suits him.

Jindal promised to prohibit elected officials from lobbying, consulting, or representing clients before state agencies, but there are exceptions to that as well.  There are also exceptions to the law that prohibits candidates from paying family members with campaign dollars.  Jindal also promised to make all ethics filings available on the internet, but as of yet, this has not happened.

Jindal’s inconsistent stance on Common Core has left the state divided.  He was all for it, now he’s at war with his own education superintendent over the issue and wants to pull out of Common Core.  NOLA suggests this would be a misstep:

Not only does Gov. Jindal want to move backward, he signaled Wednesday that he wants to cut the House and Senate Education Committees out of the loop on his legislation.

Both education committees killed anti-Common Core legislation last year, so it is no wonder he wants to skip them. But, the thing is, these committees are where legislation dealing with education belongs.

Now, I’m not saying Jindal hasn’t done some good for the state.  I’m not even anti-Jindal; I voted for him. I don’t wholly disagree with Mr. Erickson’s op-ed, but I do think Jindal has faults that many on the national stage choose to overlook.

In my last post on Jindal in this space, a commenter reassured me that Jindal is not even a frontrunner for 2016; true enough.  But as we go forward, we need still need to keep all the facts in mind. I believe Jindal’s expertise is in health care reform and he will make an excellent cabinet member in that regard, but he should put his presidential aspirations aside and concentrate on the problems at home.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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I remember in the waning days of the first term of the Obama administration the left through their primary organ of communication MSNBC decided that Grover Norquist was the root of all evil when it came to taxes.

The greatest success of this campaign came when Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss decided to renounce it:

Appearing on a local Georgia television station Wednesday evening, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that fixing America’s debt woes may require him breaking with anti-tax activist Grover Norquist‘s long-standing pledge, saying that “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

It was a great day for the left, and the MSNBC crowd praised Chambliss and pooh poohed Norquist when he answered thus:

Norquist responded on CNN tonight, finding it odd that Chambliss would target him specifically when the Americans for Tax Reform pledge is a promise not to him, but to a politician’s constituents.

Norquist said Chambliss’ remarks were “confusing” because the pledge was not made on his behalf, but on the behalf of Chambliss’ own constitutents.

Norquist not withstanding the left continued to celebrate Chambliss’ After all they were in a no lose situation. If the GOP primaried him and he won that would simply strengthen the spine of those in the GOP willing to betray the voters consider revenues, if he was defeated in a primary, well I’ll let a commentator at Mediate explain:

This is wonderful! I look forward to the teabagger who primaries him and wins the nomination, a la O’Donnell/Mourdock, handing his seat over to the Democrats. Republicans don’t seem to realize how screwed they are after courting the crazies for short term political gains in 2010.

Edwin from NJ would have been less encouraged if he read Stacy McCain who said at the time:

Mark my word, the handwriting on the wall will become clear enough pretty soon and, by mid-2013 at the latest, Chambliss will announce that he will retire rather than seek re-election.

But the thoughts of a mere blogger (decades in journalism not withstanding) meant nothing to the real jounoalists like Mike Barnicle:

“Grover’s taken a big hit since the election, there’s no doubt about it,” Morning Joe’s Mike Barnicle said. “I’ve talked to a couple of United States Senators who said there’s at least 10 to 12 Republican senators who are willing to walk away from Grover Norquist on the tax pledge.”

and John Heilemann

“Sanity is contagious,”

And on Morning Joe they discussed Frank Bruni’s piece: Is Grover Over?

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As late as December you had posts at Morning Joe saying:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, 69, isn’t afraid of anti-tax bogeyman Grover Norquist,

Chambliss was at worst going to lose a primary and give Dems a shot at an unreachable seat, and at best Chambliss wins a primary encouraging others in the GOP to spend spend spend! Yup MSNBC & the MSM has spoken anti-tax pledge was finished, the conventional wisdom had changed

…right up until the point when it had not:

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Friday he will not seek a third term next year, expressing deep frustration with Washington gridlock that he doesn’t see changing in a divided government.

…deep frustration with Washington Gridlock? Funny just two months ago the Washington Gridlock wasn’t frustrating enough for him to keep him from seeking re-election.

Let this an object lesson to every member of the GOP caucus living inside the media bubble. Reports of both Grover Norquist and the Tea Party’s political demise have been greatly exaggerated…reports of Saxby Chambliss’ political demise have not.

The media will no doubt spin this as an indictment of gridlock and bemoan Sen Chambliss departure in the same way they did Olympia Snowe. As for the hoped for victory in GA I regret to inform Edwin from NJ that GA is not Maine.

John Heileman was right. Saxby Chambliss IS contagious and members of the GOP who catch this disease are likely to suffer the same political fate.

Update: The most hilarious piece on this story comes from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Political Insider” piece that in 777 words on Chambliss’ decision doesn’t mention his flip flop on the Norquist at all.

Move on nothing to see here

As you might know Grover Norquist and Pam Geller are not what you would call “buddies”. They are on opposite sides of the debate on Jihad. (Pam of course being on the right side of the argument)

However on Taxes and spending Norquist is usually spot on, so I was surprised when I saw this post at Granite Grok:

I got an email – below – from Grover Norquist at ATR requesting the recipients take action and sign a petition to free up spectrum for wireless expansion. All well and good, but the thinly veiled subplot was to demand that Congress force the FCC to permit Obama cronies Lightsquared to use spectrum adjacent to the GPS band, regardless of interference to GPS, in order to prop up the shaky company, in which Obama and crooked cronies had invested.

Grover is shilling for an Obama crony here and should be ashamed.

Check the site and read the whole thing

An advantage of being in the bloggers lounge early is you get to see people come in. Grover Norquist was passing through the Bloggers lounge early in the morning and not only consented to an interview but he and his escort allowed me to follow them to see where the guests on stage entered:

Early bird gets the worm and all that.