Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday announced he is praying over his decision whether to run for president. Yesterday he also issued an executive order yesterday supporting discrimination against marriages by Louisiana gay and lesbian citizens, minutes after a similar bill was overwhelmingly rejected by the Louisiana legislature. His action was interpreted as an effort to generate funds from fundamentalist religious organizations for his presidential campaign. Yesterday Jindal supporters started running $10,000 worth of ads casting him as a protector of freedom of conscience in Iowa.
The people and businesses of Louisiana already know they are paying the price for Jindal’s ambition but while this may help Jindal appeal to right wing religionists in Iowa it is just plain wrong and will seriously hurt Louisiana. Tourism officials predict Louisiana will lose hundreds of millions of dollars of business and at least $65 million each year in tax revenues alone. Until now, tourism was Louisiana’s third largest industry. Jindal’s action effectively makes Louisiana ineligible for consideration for the Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament, the NBA All Star games, and numerous professional and corporate conventions. Big corporations like IBM and Dow Chemical also came out against the action.
This is but the latest example of Jindal throwing Louisiana under the bus to advance his own personal agenda. He has been brutally criticized by fellow Republicans for playing games with Louisiana’s big budget problems which faces a $1.6 billion deficit. The flagship state university, LSU, has had to draft and publicly announce “academic bankruptcy” plans due to lack of adequate state financing. Jindal, who majored in biology at Brown, now supports teaching creationism to Louisiana public school students. Jindal still strongly supports the invasion of Iraq, even though more than 80 members of the military from Louisiana lost their lives there. Jindal also successfully fought to protect oil and gas companies from even having to go to court to defend themselves against their destruction of Louisiana wetlands.
Governing by executive order is a total reversal for Jindal who condemned President Obama just a few months ago for issuing executive order on immigration. On November 24, 2014 Jindal said
“The President is lecturing us and not listening to us. He’s bypassing Congress, and ignoring the American people…Granting amnesty by executive order is wrong…If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people. This is an arrogant, cynical political move by the President, and it’s why so many Americans no longer trust this President to solve the problems we face.”
By 2012, Jindal had already spent over $175,000 in Louisiana state funds for out of state political travel. Earlier this year, Jindal spent $73,000 of state funds for state troopers to accompany him on travel to Europe.
Dear God, if you are listening to Governor Jindal’s prayers asking if he should run for president, please just say no. Louisiana cannot afford his ambitions anymore.
Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans. A version of this with sources is available. He can be reached at: Quigley77@gmail.com