Yesterday, Jindal joined Romney in downtown Baton Rouge for a $50,000/plate lunch and fundraiser that raised upwards of $2 million for the campaign, stoking the rumors that Jindal could get the VP nod. While the two governors railed against Obama at the City Club, state Democratic chairwoman and state senator Karen Carter Peterson (New Orleans) was just a short distance away speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club where she accused the governor of putting politics above governing and attacked both Senator Vitter and Rep. Scalise in the process:
[Jindal] says he has the job he wants. He needs to act like it. …[and] Has there ever been a time in Louisiana history when a U.S. senator from our state has allowed such harm to be inflicted on our state when he or she had the power to prevent it?
Peterson has shown more leadership and passion since taking over as Party chair in May than any party chair in recent memory. She appeared on LPB’s Louisiana: The State We’re In to defend the Affordable Care Act and vigorously debated the talking points offered up by Rep. Bill Cassidy – full video here.
But what of the speculation around Jindal as VP? Is his “stock rising,” as some suggest? Or has his mismanagement of key aspects of state government mean he’ll have to wait until his 2016 presidential run?
Before being elected governor, the majority of Jindal’s work experience came from the fields of education and healthcare; ironically, two areas that are facing tremendous hardships under his leadership. Since taking office, over 40% of money alloted for Louisiana’s higher education entitieshas been slashed. Over $600 million has been stripped from the state’s colleges and universities.
In addition, Governor Jindal has implemented a school voucher program that deregulates the K – 12 educational system in Louisiana. Jindal’s plan requires little to no accountability. Schools with no universal curriculum — some teaching students from DVDs, some side-stepping over proven science and history — will receive taxpayer money to poorly education Louisiana’s children. Several lawsuits were filed against Jindal by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. In addition, an effort entitled “Recall Bobby Jindal” has been launched to remove the Governor and some of his legislative allies.
Since the Supreme Court found the Affordable Care Act constitutional, Governor Jindal has announced that he will not implement the law, despite the fact that Louisiana suffers from a serious deficit. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked if he was going to simply not provide coverage to Louisianas who need insurance, Jindal responded with, “every governor’s got two critical decisions to make. One is do we set up these exchanges? And, secondly, do we expand Medicaid? And no, in Louisiana, we’re not doing either one of those things. I don’t think it makes sense to do those. I think it makes more sense to do everything we can to elect Mitt Romney to repeal Obamacare.”
Jindal’s refusal to accept ACA funds seems to not be deterred by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ recent announcement that the department must face funding cuts that will have a financial impact on the state of almost $860 million. These cuts will overwhelmingly affect the uninsured and under-insured. Those suffering significant consequences are Louisiana’s most vulnerable residents: the elderly, disabled and those with developmental disabilities. The Louisiana State University hospital system will lose $122 million in the 2013 fiscal year, combined cuts to the system will total a 24% reduction in budget.
Last year, Jindal was re-elected with virtually no opposition. Conventional wisdom suggests that was more of an indicator of the state of the Louisiana Democratic Party than Jindal’s actual job performance. Jindal would solidify Romney’s efforts to court extreme conservatives, and he may also play to the idea that the GOP is becoming an inclusive party that welcomes various races and ethnicities. He would absolutely be the much-needed link between the Romney campaign and Evangelical votes, as Jindal has a long history of pandering to this constituency that may, otherwise, find discomfort in Romney’s Mormon faith.
Mitt Romney has said that he will run America like a corporation. Considering Bobby Jindal’s background is in education and healthcare, two systems headed for disaster under his watch, maybe Louisiana’s governor doesn’t have the work product to prove that he’s ready for the job.