In 2007, Bobby Jindal was elected Governor of Louisiana and became the youngest serving governor. I will never forget his election. I was attending a pest control convention in Orlando, Florida. Watching his historical win in my hotel room, I immediately called a friend to get his contact information from a campaign staffer. I thought he would be an ideal guest speaker for Legislative Day activities that would be held in a few months time in Washington, DC.
“Bobby Jindal is perfect,” I said to others the next morning. He was young , politically seasoned, hails from a region of the country that understands the economic impact of the pest control industry. He was a conservative and a member of a minority who had shattered many glass ceilings prior to winning the governor’s race — in short, something for everyone in an industry that is conservative-leaning and lacks diversity and youth. I threw his name out as possible keynote or definitely the main speaker for the Minorities in Pest Management (MPM) program, an organization that I founded.
I was determined to get Governor Jindal to speak in 2008. MPM had earned a reputation for having some of the best speakers in the country grace our stage and I thought Governor Jindal would have kept our roster of speakers with nationally known names intact. In the years of booking speakers, chairing conferences, and organizing events, I learned that the early bird gets the worm. I went to work on securing Bobby Jindal before I even left Florida.
Looking back now, I thank God I was not able to work out his appearance with his schedulers. What I thought was a worm was actually a snake that would have surely bitten me. The more I watch Governor Jindal flip-flop on TV, the more I believe he is more bipolar than a political whack. Yes, I know the plight of Louisianans with oil gushing endlessly from the ocean’s floor. I have relatives living in the state and I once lived in New Orleans. I love the state and people dearly. This is not about kicking someone when they are down; this is more about the behavior we are seeing regularly from Governor Jindal that is beginning to border on bizarre. How else can you explain the behavior of someone who professes his hatred of the federal government yet at every turns wants the federal government’s interference or is spending federal money as if he printed it in the swamp?
Look at Jindal’s antics that are played out in the media as if we are watching the “Days of Jindal’s Lies.” In February 2009, Governor Jindal made history (again) by being the first governor to refuse any part of the stimulus money. Nothing is wrong with anyone refusing stimulus funding, since the stimulus was money on borrowed time. Tennessee's Governor Bredesen, a Democrat, did not want any of the stimulus money either.
At Jindal’s press conference regarding his rejection of stimulus funding he said the following: "The federal money in this bill will run out in less than three years for this benefit and our businesses would then be stuck paying the bill. We must be careful and thoughtful as we examine all the strings attached to the funding in this package. We cannot grow government in an unsustainable way."
“I strongly suggest that other states also look closely at this provision in the bill so they can also avoid ultimately passing on a significant tax to businesses that will be left paying for this expansion of benefits when the federal money dries up."
Because Governor Jindal was the first executive to take a stand against the stimulus funding, he was the GOP’s choice to give the response to the President’s first State of the Union address. “Be careful what you ask for,” I was told often by my grandparents. Governor Jindal’s dismal response to the President’s message was cartoonish and provided nightly punch lines for every comedian for a month. It also reminded me why grown men should not be called Bobby or Ray Ray.
But his repugnance to the stimulus did not last long:
"Despite the fact that the checks contain millions of dollars of Recovery Act funds for job training programs, housing assistance programs, homelessness prevention programs, police training, criminal justice technology upgrades, and community development block grants, Jindal has been printing his own name on the checks and taking credit for the money. … While Jindal knocks Washington spending as he builds his national profile, he is shoring up his local support by spending Washington money."
That was then. This is now. Jindal 2.0 is slicker than the oil ruining the fragile Louisiana marsh ecology, the shrimp/seafood industry, and tourism. He is on TV nightly reminding us that his name is Bobby Jindal with no plan of action while crying for the government to take over the disaster cleanup from the criminally incompetent BP. When I see Jindal showing the media pictures of dying, oil-slicked birds but do nothing to help the “poor creatures,” it seems like a show and tell photo op. On June 2, Jindal 2.0 did the unthinkable and wrote to the President asking the moratorium on deepwater drilling to be lifted because of the economic status of his state. President Obama suspended drilling at 33 offshore wells, 22 of which are located along the Louisiana coastlines, until what caused the BP disaster can be determined and never repeated.
For the Governor to make such a request when every expert in the world has not been able to stop the oil from flowing to every coastal community in the South is sheer insanity. No political points were gained by the request nor did it make any sense. The once-Presidential contender shows that he is not only narcissistic but unstable in his thinking and his actions. God bless the good people of Louisiana; Jindal 2.0 will be in office another year.