BATON ROUGE, LA — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s last known supporter in the state of Louisiana has finally thrown in the towel.
After months of speculation, Bobby Pendergrast, a small-business owner in Baton Rouge, told reporters on Wednesday that he was no longer able to defend the “calamitous circus” that is the Jindal administration.
“I just can’t do it anymore,” a visibly exasperated Pendergrast said. “Honestly, I never believed Jindal was as banal and dim-witted as he sounded — I figured he was pretending to be stupid, the way Matthew McConaughey pretends to drive a Lincoln in those commercials. But I was wrong — terribly, terribly wrong. Just look at the ruinous mess Jindal’s left in his wake,” Pendergrast continued.
“The last few years have been a cavalcade of blunders and betrayals. By every conceivable measure, he’s failed.
“I discovered that Jindal’s brother actually works for a law firm lobbying on behalf of BP. I mean, how the hell can I defend that?”
“Economically, he’s a disaster. Just look at his budget this year. Because he failed to balance the books, he decided to skim something like $250 million from the public health care system, which is devastating to thousands of Louisianians and only superficially improves his final numbers. And this is after he denied extra Medicaid money offered by Obama for no reason other than to boost his national political profile. It’s all smoke and mirrors, though. We’ve got a $1.4 billion deficit — that’s on him. Yet he has the audacity to parade around the country touting his fiscal conservatism. Unbelievable.
“Jindal’s record on education is worse,” Pendergrast explained. “Hell, I don’t even know where to begin. Currently, he’s proposing a $300 million cut to higher education — another gimmick designed to mask his failed economic policies — a move that would decimate our public universities. The double-dealing dilettante has already levied unprecedented cuts on the system in recent years. Like so much of Louisiana’s infrastructure, the university system is just another casualty of Jindal’s insatiable careerism.
“But there’s more,” Pendergrast insisted. “Jindal has essentially degraded Louisiana’s entire public school system. For example, he’s imposed preposterous benchmarks on struggling public schools in an effort to further subsidize private schools. Jindal, huckster that he is, claims his program rescues low-income students forced to attend inadequate public schools by giving them public money to attend private voucher schools. But the whole thing is a sham. Forty-five percent of Louisiana’s voucher school students are enrolled at failing schools with abysmal records, and there’s no help in sight. As far as I can tell, Jindal’s education plan has accomplished two things: the erosion of the public school system and the transfer of millions of taxpayer dollars to the private sector.
“He’s whored himself out to future donors in the hope that they’ll continue to fund his ill-advised presidential campaign.”
“On top of all this, Jindal, in a pathetic ploy to appeal to his religious base, signed a law allowing public school teachers to teach creationism in science class. I’m a Christian, but I recognize the difference between theology and science. Jindal does, too. But he’s a vote-hustling machine, so it doesn’t matter. He’s happy to sacrifice the integrity of science education in Louisiana if it serves his larger political ambitions. That’s just the kind of leader he is: Bobby Jindal first, Louisiana second.”
When asked what finally changed his mind about Jindal, Pendergrast spoke candidly. “I guess things started to change for me after the BP oil spill. As everyone knows, Louisiana was devastated by this event. Rather than defend the interests of Louisianians, Jindal has shamelessly protected the oil and gas industry against legitimate lawsuits — going so far as to ask the state Supreme Court to uphold a law banning wetlands damage suits against oil companies. Obviously, that’s tough to swallow. But then I discovered that Jindal’s brother actually works for a law firm lobbying on behalf of BP. I mean, how the hell can I defend that? How can anyone defend that?”
Pendergrast added, “Jindal doesn’t give a damn about the coastline or the natural resources of this state or the lives upended due to the criminal negligence of oil companies. Instead, he’s whored himself out to future donors in the hope that they’ll continue to fund his ill-advised presidential campaign. The oil and gas folks have already given him over a million dollars, and now it seems those contributions came with strings.”
The final straw, Pendergrast said, was Gov. Jindal’s upcoming prayer rally, to be held on the campus of LSU this weekend. “This prayerapalooza thing Jindal’s spearheading was the end of the line for me. Again, I’m a Christian — I’ve no problem with praying in public. But that’s not what this hate-soaked spectacle is about. Everyone knows this is about garnering national momentum for Jindal’s presidential bid. It’s just the latest example of Bobby Jindal serving Bobby Jindal rather than the state and people of Louisiana.
“This prayerapalooza thing Jindal’s spearheading was the end of the line for me.”
“Everything about Jindal’s prayer rally is offensive — literally everything. I’m told the rally materials actually attribute natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina to the presence and toleration of gay people in Louisiana,” Pendergrast remarked. “Who believes that? And what kind of person would deny climate science but find this theory persuasive? Jindal’s refusal to recognize equal rights under the law for gay Americans is well-known, but this is too much, even for a dyed-in-the-wool Republican such as myself.
“Now I’m reading about Jindal’s recent trip to Europe, where he has apparently embarrassed himself, his office, and his constituents in a series of hackneyed and contrived speeches. I don’t know the details, but evidently, Jindal made some inane remarks about an issue he doesn’t understand and managed to get himself likened to a guy the British prime minister had called a ‘complete idiot’ on the record. That’s hard to do, right?”
Pendergrast concluded, “At the end of the day, I’m still a conservative guy. I want politicians who push conservative policies based on conservative values. The thing about Jindal is that he isn’t really a conservative or a liberal — that requires principles. He’s a shape-shifting self-promoter, a man too vacuous to be trusted, and too consumed with private ambition to hold public office. I’m done with him. Everyone else is, too.”
Sean Illing is a reluctant academic with a penchant for pissing people off with words. He has found an outlet for his smartassery here at The Red Shtick. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_illing, or learn more about the man at SeanIlling.com.