Tag Archives: Bobby Jindal

Louisianans try a new way


Edwin Edwards once was, shall we say, a colorful Louisiana politician.

When I think of the former Democratic governor I think of two quotes attributed to him. One was that the only time he’d ever lose an election is if he got “caught with a dead girl or a live boy.” Another alleged Edwardsism goes that the people of his state not only expected their politicians to be crooked, they “demanded it” of them.

Well, today the voters of the Pelican State showed a different side of themselves. They rejected Republican candidate David Vitter’s bid to become governor and elected instead a Democratic state senator, John Bel Edwards … no relation to the infamous former Gov. Edwards.

Vitter, you see, is a sitting U.S. senator who in 2007 was caught fooling around with a prominent District of Columbia madam. His name appeared in some hookers’ black books.

His tawdry conduct became part of Edwards’s campaign strategy.

In deeply conservative and Republican Louisiana, Vitter was thought to be the prohibitive favorite to become the next governor, replacing Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. Then Edwards, a former Army Ranger who had served in Iraq, launched a vicious attack ad that accused Vitter of “choosing prostitutes over patriots”; the ad took aim at Vitter’s Senate votes against veterans benefits.

Vitter’s campaign sought to portray Edwards as a liberal in the mold of President Obama, hoping that the president’s unpopularity in Louisiana would — if you’ll pardon the pun — turn the trick.

It didn’t.

I am heartened, though, to see that Louisianans decided they’d had enough of Vitter’s foolishness. They turned their back on a well-known incumbent senator who had sought another office back home — in the state that knows him well.

Perhaps, it turns out, they know him a little too well.

When did we devalue ‘executive experience’?

bobby jindal

The third Republican candidate for president has dropped out of the 2016 race.

Bobby Jindal of Louisiana joins Rick Perry of next-door Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin as GOP hopefuls who didn’t make the grade with an increasingly angry primary voter base.

What do these men have in common? They’re all either active governors or former governors. Which prompts the question: Whatever happened the notion that governors bring more “executive experience” to these campaigns than, say, senators or members of the House of Representatives?

A wise man — I can’t remember who — said that governors usually are better positioned than legislators to take the reins of government.

As RealClearPolitics reported: “Experience and expertise seems to be a non-factor this year, which is kind of mind-boggling,” Jindal supporter and Iowa GOP activist Shane Vander Hart told RCP.

Read the whole story here.

Indeed, one can look back into recent political history to see how voters have responded to presidential candidates with gubernatorial experience: Democrat Jimmy Carter of Georgia, elected in 1976; Republican Ronald Reagan of California, elected in 1980 and re-elected in 1984; Democrat Bill Clinton of Arkansas, elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1996; and Republican George W. Bush of Texas, elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.

Gov. Perry made the case when he announced his candidacy that governors are better prepared for the presidency than legislators.  I wrote about it in my blog. See it here.

This year? Republican primary voters are going for a real estate mogul/reality TV star and a retired brain surgeon. Governors and former governors? They’re being ignored, tossed aside and relegated to virtual asterisks.

Democratic voters have one remaining former governor in the race: Martin O’Malley of Maryland. And of the three Democrats running for the White House, he’s polling a distant third behind a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, and a sitting U.S. senator.

Governors used to be the main men and women in these contests. They would tout their experience actually running state governments and how that experience prepared them for the Big Job.

Not any longer.

You want a measure of just how weird the upcoming presidential campaign is going to get? Take a look at what’s happening to those candidates with “executive experience.”



Religion takes center stage


Bobby Jindal says Donald Trump isn’t really a Christian.

Ben Carson said — initially, at least — that a Muslim isn’t fit to be president.

Mike Huckabee says Barack Obama is trying to “criminalize” Christianity and that the president is a “pretend” Christian.

Can we stop — please! — with the religion rhetoric?

Jindal was just the latest to ridicule another Republican presidential candidate’s statement of faith. Trump had spoken to the Values Voter Summit and proclaimed his deep Christian faith. Jindal followed him and said Trump has never read the Bible and that he believes only in himself.

Religion has no place here

I kind of get where Jindal, the Louisiana governor, is going with the Trump jabs. Trump opened himself up to the ridicule by proclaiming to a group of zealous conservatives that he’s one of them. Jindal, I suppose, has the right to challenge one of his rivals’ assertions in that regard.

But this continual back and forth regarding candidates’ faith is getting tiresome and, frankly, it misses a critical point about electing the next president of the United States.

The point is that the president is head of a secular state and government. We can argue until hell freezes over about what the founding fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution. But the finished document is as secular as it can possibly be.

The First Amendment spells it out. Congress shall make no law that establishes a state religion, it says. Isn’t that enough evidence of what the founders intended when they established the Bill of Rights in the nation’s government document?

So, let’s cut the talk about who’s a real Christian?

It does not matter.



Jindal turns up heat on Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1GZCO

Now it’s Bobby Jindal who’s taking dead aim at Donald Trump.

The Louisiana governor and fellow Republican presidential candidate calls Trump a “madman” who “must be stopped.”

Holy cow, governor! You’re beginning to sound like, oh, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who fired both barrels at Trump after an earlier round of insults that Trump had loosed on someone.

How much good did Perry’s salvo do? None. He has left the campaign.

Stop the madman

Jindal is declaring, of course, what a lot of American believe about the current GOP front runner. The man is loony.

“Sane conservatives need to stop enabling him,” Jindal wrote in an op-ed published by CNN.

“They need to stop praising him, stop being afraid of him and stop treating him rationally,”

I agree with Gov. Jindal.

His No. 1 concern, though, is this: Will the Republican Party’s primary voters, the base of his party, agree with him or will they rally behind Trump … yet again?

None of the rules that works for conventional politicians is working today.

To be continued …

Birthright debate set to rage

deport mom

Let’s get some conversation started on this birthright citizenship business.

A number of Republican Party presidential candidates want to do away with the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States of America.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wants it to remain a right of “natural-born” Americans. He writes this:

“Ending ‘birthright citizenship’ used to be an idea embraced by far-right whackos. But since Trump trumpeted it, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, Rand Paul and others have joined him. Even Chris Christie now says the current policy needs to be ‘re-examined.’ And Jeb said today he doesn’t find the term ‘anchor babies’ offensive in the slightest.

“Can we get a grip? The right of anyone born in the United States to be an American citizen lies at the core of the post-Civil War concept of citizenship. It underlies the entire framework of rights and governance built around citizenship — including the 14th Amendment. It undergirds our entire history of immigration. And it prevents America from having permanent underclass of non-citizens spanning generations, as some other countries do.

“For Trump and other Republicans to make this proposal a centerpiece of their campaigns is not just to scapegoat immigrants for the economic anxieties of the middle class but to scapegoat innocent children as well. It is shameful.

“Your view?”

I think it’s the “innocent children” aspect of this effort that offends me the most.

So, talk to me.


‘Anchor babies’ becomes campaign buzz phrase


Anchor babies. That’s the newest catch-phrase that is drawing some criticism for the way it sounds in describing some U.S. citizens.

Donald Trump is using the term. So is Jeb Bush. The two Republican presidential candidates — who’ve been batting each other around lately — seem to agree on the use of the term.

It’s meant to define individuals who were born in the United States to foreign nationals. They become U.S. citizens by virtue of their birthright — as prescribed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But get this: Three other GOP presidential candidates actually are “anchor babies.” Marco Rubio was born in the United States to Cuban parents. Ted Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. And then there’s Bobby Jindal, born in the U.S. to Indians. All three men are “anchor babies.”

Trump wants to repeal the 14th Amendment that grants U.S. citizenship to “anchor babies.” Rubio opposes Trump’s view about birthright citizenship.

It’s another issue that’s threatening to split the GOP field.


How about changing the oath of office?

IN THE NAME AND BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, I, John Q. Public Servant, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of county clerk of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.

That, right there, is the oath of office county clerks must take before they can perform their duties on behalf of the people they serve in their respective counties.

In Texas, all 254 counties are governed by state statute, which means the state sets the laws by which county residents — and their elected officials — must abide.

I found it on the Texas Secretary of State’s website. It’s kind of a generic oath that county officials must take. Granted, some county officials take longer oaths, but it must include this particular pledge.

Just as an aside, I attended the swearing in on Jan. 1 of newly elected Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner and the oath she took was tantamount to the “War and Peace” version of the mandatory oath given to county officials.

I mention this oath in light of what Republican presidential candidate — and Texas’s junior U.S. senator — Ted Cruz said about how county clerks “absolutely” should be given the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Texas. He said the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage amounts to a declaration of war on religious liberty.

As I look at this oath, I don’t see any reference to the faith of the person taking it. I see nothing in there that enables the elected official to not follow all “the laws of the United States and of this State.”

I read the oath as requiring that those who take it must adhere to it — to the letter.

A majority of the justices on the Supreme Court has declared that gay marriage is now legal everywhere, in each of the 50 states. That includes Texas.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another GOP presidential candidate, said that we could save a ton of money if we just got rid of the court. I don’t know how serious he was about that suggestion.

Sen. Cruz, though, seems to be dead serious in encouraging county clerks to violate their sacred oath, which does end with “so help me God.”

Hey, let’s just change the oath and have county clerks affirm that they’ll uphold only those laws that do not trample on their religious beliefs.


Jindal makes it a baker’s dozen … and counting

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is now among the growing horde of Republicans running for president of the United States.

We all thought he’d go hard after Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner (for now, at least).

But, no-o-o-o. He saved his heaviest fusillade for John Ellis Bush, the former Florida governor aka Jeb, son and brother of former presidents.


Jindal is one of the many 1 percenters running for the GOP nomination — that’s 1 percent in the public opinion polling to date. He’s got to make some noise, so he did so today.

“You’ve heard Jeb Bush saying we need to be able to lose the primary to win the general election. We’re going to help him do that,” Jindal said, launching his campaign.

Jindal said of Bush: “He is saying that we need to hide our conservative ideals. But the truth is, if we go down that road again, we will lose again.”

He calls himself a Christian who’s unafraid to proclaim his faith; he favors small government, less tax, strong defense, family values. Gosh, have we heard all this before? Do any of the GOP candidates oppose any of those things? Hardly.

Jindal’s the 13th Republican to declare his or her candidacy for the White House. More are on the way into the center ring. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is coming in; so is Ohio Gov. John Kasich. By my count that makes 15. Hey, there might be even more.

Democrats have just four candidates. How boring that primary could be if Clinton smokes the field. Then again, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, is making a serious move on HRC, at least in neighboring New Hampshire, site of the first primary.

Man, oh man. This campaign is going to be loads of fun.


Maybe, just maybe, the genes aren't so pure

I blogged earlier today about my hyphenated heritage and how I like referring to myself as a Greek-American.

My parents were Greek. My grandparents, all four of them, were Greek. My grandparents came to this country in the early 20th century.

The object of the blog, actually, was a comment from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — an Indian-American — who’d said he disliked hyphenated ethic designations for Americans. That’s fine. He’s entitled to his view, I am to mine.


Then the thought occurred to me. It’s really occurred to me many times over the course of my life, but I’ll share it here.

My mother’s parents came to the United States from Turkey. They were ethnic Greeks. My grandfather was a merchant sailor who traveled the world before settling in Portland, Ore. My grandmother joined him later, making the arduous journey from Turkey, through Athens, then on to New York. She boarded a train for the West Coast.

The thought? It’s this: Were Mom’s parents really and truly pure Greek?

They lived on a small island in the Sea of Marmara. It was a primitive place. I don’t know this for a fact, but my assumption has been that Turks populated the island as well as Greeks. Yes, Greeks and Turks loathed each other, but some comingling among people of rival ethnicities does occur.

The villages kept no record of births. For all I know, my grandparents’ parents, and their grandparents — and this dates back to, oh, the turn of the 18th century, might have quenched their desires with people of Turkish heritage.

It’s entirely possible.

I don’t dwell on this, given that I cannot prove any of it. Thus, I’ll continue to proclaim my Greek heritage until someone, somehow, in some fashion, can prove that my ethnicity isn’t as pure as I’ve been saying it is.


Proud of my hyphenated heritage

Bobby Jindal says he’s tired of “hyphenated Americans.” The Republican governor of Louisiana and possible 2016 presidential candidate said his parents didn’t come to America to raise Indian-Americans.

So, let’s all just be known as Americans, he says.

Well, OK, Gov. Jindal. I respect your desire to be known as an American without the hyphen.

However, I am a hyphenated American and am damn proud of it.


My grandparents came here from southern Europe. My dad’s parents grew up in neighboring villages in southern Greece. Mom’s parents grew up on a tiny island in the Sea of Marmara, the small body of water that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey; they were of Greek heritage as well.

They all came to this country to become Americans, just as Jindal’s parents came here from India.

My grandparents, though, never lost touch with their heritage and they passed it along to their grandkids.

It might be that my sisters and I have a fairly unique distinction of being “full-blooded” something, rather than a mix of various heritages. Perhaps that’s why I have this particular desire to identify myself as a Greek-American. It’s easy to say. Most people know about Greece and its profound contribution to the development western civilization.

They also ought to know about the ancient rivalry that persists to this very day between Greece and Turkey, nations that have gone to war with each other more times than I can even count.

Having proclaimed my pride in my hyphenated heritage, I take a back seat to no one in my love of the country of my birth. For that matter, all four of my grandparents — all of whom chose to move here — felt the very same way about their adopted home.

Jindal spoke to the First in the Nation summit in New Hampshire. “I don’t know about you, I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans. No more ‘African-Americans.’ No more ‘Indian-Americans.’ No more ‘Asian-Americans,’ ” Jindal said, drawing applause.

Fine, governor. That’s your call.

Me? I’ll stick with the hyphen. It’s a source of pride.