What On Earth Is Jindal Doing?

It’s one thing that Louisiana’s governor is going to make a presidential run in 2016. Everybody knows that’s going to happen. At this point it’s basically accepted in Louisiana, though the idea is less than popular in light of the fiscal shape Louisiana is in as Jindal’s final year as governor proceeds to its end.

But it’s something else when, with a legislative session less than two weeks away, Jindal dumps a big chunk of his braintrust out of the state capitol building and onto the campaign trail in Iowa. How that benefits him and doesn’t feed the already-prevalent narrative that he’s abandoning his current job is beyond our understanding.

The Des Moines Register – naturally – breaks the story

Republican Bobby Jindal is putting together an Iowa team, digging in for a possible presidential bid even as other GOP stars sail past him in the polls.

Jindal, a Christian conservative, is one of the last Republican 2016 contenders to hire strategists who would orchestrate a campaign here if they decide to run.

The 43-year-old Louisiana governor has formed a new political organization called the American Future Project, and is sending three staffers to Iowa, aides told The Des Moines Register Tuesday.

Matt Parker and Taylor Teepell will both leave their current jobs in the governor’s office, move to Iowa, and will slide into national campaign roles for Jindal if he runs, said Gail Gitcho, an adviser to the American Future Project and the pro-Jindal super PAC Believe Again.

Jill Neunaber, who has for more than a year guided Jindal’s PAC and his public policy organization, will spend considerable time in Iowa, too, Gitcho said.

Jindal’s organization is also in the process of hiring an Iowa director and setting up an Iowa office, Gitcho said.

Parker, Jindal’s legislative affairs director will be national field director for the American Future Project. He had helped on three of Jindal’s past campaigns, as well as with Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign. Teepell, Jindal’s deputy chief of staff, will be national coalitions director. Teepell is a former Republican Party of Louisiana victory fund director and a former policy adviser to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Neunaber, the Iowa campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s 2012 race, will serve as Jindal’s senior adviser to the early states.

Jindal will be in Iowa on Friday. He’s speaking in Cedar Rapids at a Good Friday Prayer Breakfast along with Willie Robertson, a star off the Louisiana-based reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

What this sounds like is Jindal is surrendering his current job. It looks like he no longer has a legislative agenda to push, he doesn’t have any solutions to the state’s remaining problems, he’s not engaged in the fight to come and he just figures it’ll all work itself out.

You can’t really take that attitude when the national media writes piece after piece about how you’ve destroyed all the state’s precious public sector institutions, how you’ve broken the public fisc and how all you’re doing is griping about the Muslims while your state burns. Jindal is a lot less guilty than they accuse him of being, but it’s not like he’s telling his story back home when he sends his top aides to Iowa to work for his PAC.

And whoever is advising Jindal that Louisiana doesn’t matter anymore and that his current job performance won’t affect his ability to catch some momentum on the presidential trail is committing absolute malpractice.

What is Jindal’s value proposition against Scott Walker, for example? Walker is polling a lot better than Jindal because conservative perceive him to have done a sensational job governing Wisconsin, gutting the Left and producing strong results – and Walker is still very much engaged in Wisconsin. He just signed a Right-to-Work bill that made national headlines a couple of weeks ago, and he’s got a very aggressive legislative agenda there this year.

What’s his value proposition against Jeb Bush? He’s more conservative? Sure. You don’t even get to Jeb Bush until you show you’re the conservative in the race who’s electable. When your back yard has dead appliances and a car on blocks in it, it’s tough to make that case.

Jindal is getting some terrible advice from whoever made the call to gut his staff and send them to Iowa to work for his PAC. That decision is going to enrage the legislators who are already irritated with having to clean up this budget mess in an election year, and they will do everything they can to strangle his presidential campaign in its crib. Nobody should have gone anywhere near Iowa until after this legislative session ends, and damn successfully at that.

Dumb. Just dumb.



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