Times-Picayune Column Calls For Bobby Jindal’s Resignation

The leading newspaper in New Orleans, The Times-Picayune, ran a column on Friday telling Governor Bobby Jindal that “it’s time to quit.” Basically, journalist Robert Mann’s argument is that the governor has abandoned Louisiana for higher ambitions.

On Monday, much of what Mann said was reiterated and supported by New York Times columnist Charles Blow. Blow’s article is titled, “Gov. Jindal’s Implosion.”

Mann said that Louisiana has such enormous problems, it deserves the attention of a full-time governor — say, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, who is apparently eager to fill the position. Among Louisiana’s biggest problems are a high poverty rate, terrible health outcomes, a ‘fractured’ healthcare system, and a confused, underfunded education system.

One of Mann’s many beefs is a concern about the gutting of education funding. He’s a faculty member of Louisiana State University’s School of Communication. Due to a dramatic fall in oil prices, Jindal was faced with a big budget gap for this year and his new budget has to address an ever bigger shortfall. According to a February article in Politico:

The president of Louisiana State University said earlier this month that the state’s flagship school is preparing for a 40 percent cut in its operating budget next year.

A 40 percent cut for an institution responsible for over 30,000 students! What kind of miracle will LSU need to stay viable under such a draconian change?

A better question is, Where is Jindal during this crisis? He’s both off on a Quixotic quest for the White House and out of reach of those who might be able to do something about the state’s problems. Lt. Gov. Dardenne has reportedly met with Jindal only 2-3 times in several years. Legislative leaders have virtually no access to the governor.

Just how Quixotic Jindal’s odyssey is was made clear in Charles Blow’s column. Citing a new CNN/ORC poll of Republicans and independents leaning Republican, Jindal comes in almost at the bottom of candidates that participants were most likely to support for president. He achieved 1 percent. As Blow put it:

Even ‘none/no one’ got 6 percent.

After a number of embarrassing missteps on the national stage, Jindal is sounding increasingly desperate, tripping over his words and making obviously racist statements. Last week, he declared that immigrants must believe in ‘American exceptionalism.’ Noam Chomsky, national treasure and philosophers’ icon, dismissed the concept during a recent appearance at Arizona State University (the author was in the audience). He called ‘American exceptionalism’ just another religion — a ‘secular religion.’

While the national audience apparently has little use for the governor and his antics at this point, Louisiana, too, is tiring of his presence — or non-presence. Jindal’s approval rating in the state has fallen to 28 percent.

Mann put the obvious into words:

You seem to be constantly in search of stunts to gain attention, so maybe resigning is what you’ve been looking for.

Resign. Have another brief moment in the national spotlight. And give the job to someone who might roll up his sleeves on behalf of Louisiana.

Feature photo by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons.