Time and time again I hear or read about some Conservative commentator either question the Conservatism of Jeb Bush or outright call him a RINO. But at the same time, I hear or read hardly any of those commentators question Bobby Jindal’s Conservatism, which begs the question, what exactly are we defining Conservatism as based on? Is it rhetoric or results? Is being a Conservative based on governing principles or is it based on a few particular issues and whether one falls on the right or left of those issues?
Anyone being objective has to plainly admit that Jindal has been a colossal failure as Governor of Louisiana. Here is a man that was elected with a mandate in 2007 and an even larger mandate in 2011. Yet I’ve been racking my brain and can’t think of one generational change he has made that substantively places Louisiana in a better place than when he took office. Not a single one!
Granted, he has supposedly changed the culture of corruption and instituted ethical reforms that look good on paper. Yet it is entirely disingenuous to say that it has actually changed things, which is evident by state legislators earmarking tax dollars to their favored NGOs and the Edwineseque pay to play scheme of Buddy Caldwell’s Attorney General office.
Everyone knows that Louisiana has way too many four-year universities which cause our limited resources to be spread too thin in order to prop up colleges that should have been shuttered long ago. Louisiana infrastructure is still underfunded with better days nowhere in sight. We still have an unfair tax structure that is too dependent on business and in particular, the oil and gas industry.
On top of that, Jindal has being using budget gimmicks and one-time money continuously to “balance” the budget. Just look at this past legislative session. All 144 legislators knew they couldn’t do anything to truly fix the finances of this state until the next governor arrives. This is after seven years of “Conservative” Jindal governance! But they went ahead and passed unconstitutional tax increases and what was Bobby’s only concern? It was making sure that it wouldn’t be scored by Grover Norquist as a tax increase, in deference to his campaign for the Presidency. I’m not sure when it became okay for a son of Dixie to have to clear something with a Yankee elitist in regards to his own state but I digress, back to the point. Seven years under this apparently Conservative governor and our budget is more screwed than when he took the reins.
Now Jeb Bush institutes the first voucher program in the country and puts in place tax credits for companies that donate for private school scholarships. He cut taxes in Florida by almost $20 billion and ended affirmative action preferences in universities and state contracting. He enhanced Florida’s concealed carry laws and signed the Stand Your Ground law. It didn’t take a video release and public outcry for him to revoke state contracts with Planned Parenthood. On top of all that, he balanced the budgets and left his successor a rainy day fund of almost $10 billion.
Jindal leaves a pile of crap for the next guy and Bush leaves a huge surplus, so again I ask what are we basing Conservatism on? Is it the actual governing or just the rhetoric about governing? Is Jeb not conservative enough because he thinks there ought to be an avenue for granting legal status to certain segments of the illegal immigrant population and because he supports Common Core? Let us not forget that both David Vitter and Jindal supported Common Core before they flipped. So is Bush less Republican because he has a spine and doesn’t let the polls dictate his positions, whether its immigration or Common Core? Is he less conservative because he doesn’t go around speaking in sound bites of red meat for the base like Jindal?
Granted, Bobby did cut taxes with the repeal of the Stelly tax, even though his support for the repeal was half-hearted at best. But is Bobby simply more conservative because he’s unapologetically pro-life, stands for traditional marriage, and wears his faith on his sleeve? Is he more conservative because pastors have an easier time getting a hold of him than state legislators? Those particular issues are the only strong convictions Jindal apparently has of which he won’t back down from and rightly so, but what about the rest? When he wanted to revamp the tax code and repeal the income tax, where was his conviction then? He folded on the first day of session. When some wanted to take a common sense step of merging SUNO with UNO, the Legislative Black Caucus gives a little push back, and once again, he folds. He’s flipped-flopped on Common Core. He bashed the stimulus while travelling the state for check-granting ceremonies. Is this really conservative governing? All rhetoric but no real results?
Give me a break with all this RINO talk. Bush governed Florida a hell of a lot better than Jindal has in Louisiana. It’s not even close! If Bobby’s Administration is that of a Conservative and Bush’s Administration is that of a RINO, then I for one pray our next governor is a RINO. Maybe then we could actually move forward instead of treading water.