Monday, September 1, 2008

Can Bobby Jindal Pass the Hurricane Test?

Picked this up from Sree Srinavasan's Facebook stream:

So far, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is looking good in the media. He's succeeded in reducing the potential destruction from Hurricane Gustav to Louisiana's coastal areas by getting those people out in a fast and uncomplicated manner. His police and National Guard numbers are way up from the last big hurricane, Katrina.

South Asian Journalist's Association co-founder and all around good guy Sree Srinivasan links to a SAJA blog about Jindal's potential for a future presidential position. In it, an exchange between CNN anchor Rich Sanchez and libertarian Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman.

It reads as follows:

SANCHEZ: Watch this fellow Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana and you almost say to yourself here's a guy who's handling this situation, doing really yeoman's work. He seems composed, he seems organized, he seems to be a very effective communicator. And your are almost wondering and asking yourself, boy here is a guy who would have made a very good vice-presidential choice, wouldn't he?

BARR: And maybe in the years ahead he'll make a good presidential choice for the Republican party. Very, very impressive fellow. Has a tremendous grasp of figures, organization, process, in addition to presenting himself very well. He has a tremendous future, I think.

SANCHEZ: It's not fair to ask the question, it's almost like being a backseat driver... But had the McCain campaign had another week to make this decision and they'd seen this guy's performance, do you think there was the possibility they may have... what's the old... I could have had a V8, (slapping his forehead) I could have a Jindal?

This is not the only time that CNN has been enamored of Jindal.

Probably four years ago, a mainstream media outlet [it may have been CNN] did a future Republican leaders bit and Jindal was all over it.

There was this mention in RedState in August of 2004: They ask him who might be the presidential candidate for 2008. Notable by the absence of a mention is John McCain.

I think we have to step back and realize that the leader in ‘08 may well be someone that we don’t even know today. Obviously there are many known names – Majority Leader Frist, Gov. Bush, Gov. Owens, Mayor Giuliani, Gov. Pataki – who could all reasonably try to fill the role. It really all depends on who emerges from the pack.

And I think a lot of this depends on the nature of the issues. Is the war on terror still the biggest issue we face? Or are domestic issues back at the forefront? One of the reasons that Gov. Bush was able to win in 2000 was that domestic issues were the main discussion, and he clearly had the resume to lead on these issues – on education, health care, taxes and other issues.

No, it isn’t clearly “someone’s turn” to take the leadership role – but we don’t want it to be someone’s turn. Few would’ve predicted that President Bush or President Clinton would’ve been the leaders of their parties four years in advance of their victories… and I think that’s a healthy thing – we want to determine who leads based on the challenges we face, based on external events.

And here is the Bobby Jindal blog with no mention of the current Hurricane proceedings. Perhaps they are too busy.

But has the US$1 billion in levee reconstruction money and low-lying lands refurbishment arrived too late? There was this in an August 19th blog post:

As we are now in the middle of hurricane season, we are constantly reminded of how important our hurricane and flood protection systems are. Last week, I announced more than $1 billion in funding for hurricane protection and coastal restoration, the largest single investment in these areas in our state’s history. As the New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote, “there are hardly more important goals for Louisiana’s long-term future than rebuilding our coast and improving hurricane protection.”

As I have said before, the time for studies and research has long passed. It is time to start breaking ground and digging dirt on these projects, and with this announcement we are ready to do just that. The money will go towards building stronger and safer levees, reinforcing existing levees, and helping rebuild our coast. While our levee systems are generally the focus of news coverage, rebuilding our coast is just as important to our state’s future. One study estimates that for every two miles of coastline we reduce storm surges by one foot, vastly improving the safety of our coastal cities and habitats.

As environmental groups said in the Thibodaux Daily Comet, “Louisiana’s spending plan is good news… [as] the plan includes a healthy balance of hurricane-protection and wetlands-restoration work.” These projects, along with nearly $15 billion in ongoing coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects in New Orleans and other areas of the state, represent one of the largest public works efforts in the world, showing our commitment to ensuring the safety of our gulf coast communities.

The post is found here: after a brief mention that Louisiana is conversations with General Motors to support the expansion and presence of an assembly plant in Shreveport.

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