By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Bobby Jindal

Another good day for Mitt Romney

Now that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s national ambitions are a thing of the past — left behind on the extreme southern stretch of the Appalachian Trail — it’s interesting to think about the number of up-and-coming Republican stars who’ve been taken off the board in the past year. Five (including Sanford) come quickly to mind.

Two — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — were damaged by their own party, pushed in front of the public long before they were ready. Hype-versus-reality questions aside, Palin and Jindal were routinely described as rising stars until, suddenly, they weren’t.

Jindal can certainly recover from his poor performance in delivering the Republican response to President Obama’s national address last February. All he has to do is not act like a dork the next time. But the arc of Palin’s post-running-mate political career has already been determined: hero to the right wing of her party; pariah to everyone else.

Sanford’s finished. So is Nevada Sen. John Ensign, although at least his sexual indiscretions do not include a secretive flight to Argentina. I must confess I’d barely heard of Ensign before learning that (1) he’d been unfaithful in his marriage and (2) he was a possible presidential candidate.

Finally, there is former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, chosen by Obama as his ambassador to China. Huntsman hasn’t been tainted (except possibly in the eyes of a few partisan Republicans), but he’s not going to challenge Obama in 2012.

As Rich Lowry observes at National Review (via Talking Points Memo), Mitt Romney may be the last candidate standing by the time the ’12 campaign rolls around in earnest.

Joe Biden’s so-called lie

I’m posting some incomplete findings in the hopes that someone else might be able to fill in the blanks.

The right-wing blogosphere is on fire right now with claims that Joe Biden “lied” when he said that Louisiana is losing 400 jobs a day. Biden made his remarks in the course of criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal of more than $90 million in additional unemployment funds. A local newscast in Louisiana, citing the state employment agency, claims that the state actually added jobs in December, the last month for which numbers are available.

Well, now. If you take a visit to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will see that Louisiana’s unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent in June to 5.9 percent in December. During that time, 45,065 people in Louisiana lost their jobs. That adds up to approximately 250 per day — not 400, I’ll grant you, but a damned high number, and certainly one that contradicts the notion that the state was actually adding jobs. [Actually, yes. Biden was right. See update, below.]

Now it’s nearly March. We know that the recession and unemployment have accelerated over the past two months. I don’t have January and February numbers of Louisiana, but I may just be looking in the wrong places. But I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if an average of 400 people a day have been losing their jobs in Louisiana since the first of the year.

Yes, I realize that the local report I’m linking to claims that Louisiana’s unemployment filings actually declined through mid-January. But remember, that same report says Louisiana gained jobs in December, which is directly contradicted by the federal numbers.

Anybody know where I can get credible preliminary unemployment estimates for January and February?

Update: The answer was staring me right in the face. Steve points out that Louisiana lost an average of 430 jobs a day in December.

Did Jindal fake his anecdote?

This is too funny. It’s amusing enough that Bobby Jindal’s anecdote about the sheriff and the boats the other night was, when you think about it, the story of a heroic Democrat standing up to heartless Republican bureaucrats. (Did no one vet his remarks?)

Even better, it seems that Jindal may have made it all up.

Obama’s bankrupt opponents

In recent days I’ve been struck by the overwhelming nature of the problems that face us, and the utterly bankrupt nature of the conservative response. Because the more mindless of those responses drives me crazy, I will instead present the rational but wrong David Brooks, who writes today:

Readers of this column know that I am a great admirer of Barack Obama and those around him. And yet the gap between my epistemological modesty and their liberal worldviews has been evident over the past few weeks. The people in the administration are surrounded by a galaxy of unknowns, and yet they see this economic crisis as an opportunity to expand their reach, to take bigger risks and, as Obama said on Saturday, to tackle every major problem at once.

I think Brooks is fundamentally mistaken in his assessment of what the Obama administration would like to do. Everything we know about President Obama tells us that he is an exceedingly cautious politician — a mainstream liberal, not a creature of the far left, who, given his choice, would have liked to proceed deliberately.

He can’t. Not with the economy falling apart, the auto industry careening toward bankruptcy, the financial system in meltdown and housing as dead as it’s been in decades. (Let’s not forget, too, he’s also dealing with war and terrorism on multiple fronts.) Finally, as Obama argued during the campaign, a lot of what ails us economically can’t be fixed without finally doing something about health care.

In the midst of all this, it is striking that the Republicans have nothing to say. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who will deliver the Republican response to Obama’s address to Congress tonight, is getting a weird amount of attention for rejecting about $90 million in federal unemployment assistance — while eagerly grabbing $4 billion in stimulus money.

I don’t know if you caught Jindal on “Meet the Press” Sunday, but he came across as Sarah Palin with better syntax: plenty of pre-rehearsed soundbites, but little or no ability to answer moderator David Gregory’s simple questions.

It’s no wonder that Obama’s job-approval rating is so much higher than that of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at a similar early stage of their presidencies.

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