By conservative measures, Bobby Jindal’s 7+ years as governor of Louisiana should be a raging success. Corporations get all sorts of tax breaks, the tax burden is shifted onto the poor and middle class, abortion restrictions are extremely tight, and Louisiana has so far rejected Medicaid expansion as well as marriage equality.
Bobby Jindal didn’t start off as a far-right conservative (especially on social issues), but ahead of his anticipated run for president in 2016, he’s moved further to the right than just about anyone else who is expected to seek the Republican nomination.
Jindal has also been noticeably absent from Louisiana as he stumps in Iowa and elsewhere, looking for every chance he can get to cozy up to religious conservatives who are vital to the outcomes of the early primaries. However, when he has been in the state, he’s done very little to govern and has instead spent his time trying to cast himself as the most religious and anti-gay candidate of all while backing Louisiana’s own version of the “religious freedom” laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas.
Take for example his op-ed in the New York Times where he blamed opposition to discriminatory “religious freedom” laws not only on “left wing activists,” but also on the corporations who are tired of the Republican Party’s culture wars that guaranteed the support of religious conservatives for decades.
This is what he said:
In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law.
Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?
That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all.
As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath. (Source)
Bobby Jindal isn’t a stupid person (his education at some of the world’s finest universities is proof of that), but he has made the mistake of tying his political future beyond Louisiana to the politics of bigotry and fear – and that is a losing bet in a country that is becoming more liberal and diverse every year.
Louisiana could have been a success story for the Republican Party, after years of being governed by corrupt or inept governors of both political parties. Bobby Jindal didn’t even have to do very much as governor and even a small improvement to the state’s economy and quality of life could have been touted as proof that Republican policies could work. He ran as a reformer, but instead of fixing anything, he drove the state further into the ground. Now Louisiana faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, thanks in part to only 1/4 of corporations paying income taxes to the state, along with the possibility of the state’s flagship university LSU, along with others, having to prepare for the possibility of declaring bankruptcy.
Bobby Jindal could have been someone; he could have been a Republican contender. Instead, he’s betrayed even some of his staunchest supporters, shunned his own advice about “the stupid party” and shown the rest of America that Republican policies have little else to offer besides religious bigotry and economic ruin.
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