At Red State, the estimable Ben Domenech answers my report that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is too isolated. I do hope that Ben properly read my post as a VERY friendly warning. He also answers my reports about just one facet of the “isolation,” namely Jindal’s press relations. I hope he did not understand me to say that the only problem is press access. That was, again, just one example. What I am reporting is that he is isolated in general, from political friends and media friends, and from criticism. Or at least that’s what I have been told, again by more than one source, those sources being totally distinct from each other, i.e. not even in the same orbit. As for Jindal’s openness to national bloggers — why, of course! Jindal is doing everything he can to look good nationally. The TV appearances, the National Press Club event, the national bloggers, the “social barbeque” visit to John McCain this weekend….. It’s image-building of the first degree.
One result of the focus on image is that things slip through the cracks. For instance, while he successfully pushed serious ethics reforms through the state legislature, and got much well-deserved credit for it, he let slip through a change in the enforcement mechanism — basically, the burden of proor for an ethics investigation — that will make it actually more difficult to enforce the tougher standards than it was to enforce the weaker standards. This mistkae has been much-commented-on in Louisiana.
Don’t get me wrong: I think the world of Bobby Jindal. And his congressional staff worked wonders after Katrina. I am not saying his gubernatorial staffers are not competent. But the word I get is that they are too clique-ish, too arrogant. (If that sounds like a certain current White House circa 2003 and 2004, well, if the shoe fits…..)
Again, I have no first-hand knowledge. I have not gone to LA since his inauguration, nor have I tried to contact his office. I was delighted to be invited, third-hand, to the bloggers’ meeting with the Guv, but could not get away to LA on such short notice. I would hope to be invited again. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, is more eager to report wonderful things about Jindal than I am. As I wrote in my blog entry yesterday, “Again, right now these problems are correctable. Nobody other than a few gadflies thinks Bobby’s reformist instincts or his conservative convictions are any less real than we have always thought they are.”
One mark of a good leader is to know how to distinguish friendly criticism fromÂ nasty attacks, and to welcome the former in the spirit in which it is offered. Because when it comes right down to it, I continue to believe with all my heart that “Jindal 2012!” has a very nice sound to it.