Bobby Jindal continues to talk a better game than he delivers — and I say this as a longtime supporter of his. This link is from the web site of C.B. Forgotston, a conservative tax and budget expert who spent seven years as a top aide for the state House Appropriations Committee. C.B. is no fan of Jindal’s — because, he says, Jindal doesn’t actually walk his conservative talk. C.B. always has been mighty uncompromising, but then again, he usually lets actual facts do the talking, and facts don’t compromise.
This isn’t the first time Jindal has disappointed. His vaunted ethics reforms did indeed strengthen the RULES against ethical violations, but while he wasn’t looking, the bad-ol’boys changed the STANDARDS governing ethics investigations to make it more difficult to bring charges in the first place. So Louisiana ended up with tougher rules that were, unfortunately, tougher to enforce.
My point here is not to slam Jindal. I actually think he is a sincere, reformist conservative. And he really is incredibly bright. But he (and his administration) are far from perfect, and if conservatives want Jindal to become a serious candidate to be their standard-bearer in the future, we must insist that he continue to improve his performance, in the details where it counts. He’s awfully good at national PR. But he needs to continue to seek real excellence and live up to the standards he claims to profess — because otherwise, if he is put forward as the Golden Boy but turns out to have feet of clay, he’ll never survive the meat grinder of national media attention. It’s a lot easier to pop the balloon of people whose whole reputation is based on being purer than newfallen snow than it is to drag down somebody who already is seen as a hard-nosed pol.
So conservatives must hold Jindal’s feet to the fire. For our sake, and for his. His potential is almost limitless. His performance needs to stop lagging behind.
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