Sunday, October 21, 2007

Louisiana Wins

Yesterday a fresh start for the state of Louisiana began. This morning, after searching the news for confirmation that Bobby Jindal is indeed the next governor of the state, I did a happy dance, Snoopy style and with sounds of piano playing a la Linus rotating in my head, I fixed celebratory Belgian waffles for breakfast. What a dose of good news.

Bobby Jindal is a young superstar in the Republican party. He is 36 years old and he is the son of Indian immigrants. All indications pointed to a strong victory for Jindal and it happened. He won with more than 50% of the vote.

At the age of 24, yes, 24, Bobby Jindal was appointed to the position of Secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals in 1996, by then Governor Mike Foster, the last Republican governor Louisiana. I lived in the state then and I saw great potential in Jindal.

Jindal ran for his first elected office in 2003, running for governor and only lost the election to Blanco by 4 points. Blanco is very well connected to the Democrat political machine so that was quite an accomplishment. Most expected him to run again. He went on to represent his district in Congress in the mean time.

Blanco saw the writing on the wall with very low poll numbers after her dismally incompetent handling of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita so she bowed out of running for re-election. Jindal had such early momentum going that candidates like Mitch Landrieu, the current lt. governor and former senator John Breaux decided to pass on running.

The Democrat machine went into gear, viciously attacking Jindal by claiming voters would be turned off by his religious thought, his dark skin and his Indian heritage. He rose above all of it and kept on campaigning.

When I was in south Louisiana over Labor Day weekend, I noticed signs up in yards in bayou country - all for Jindal. I knew he would win. The signs I saw in the French Quarter were for John Georges, a Democrat candidate with his campaign headquarters there. Georges was the first to concede the race Saturday at the Monteleone Hotel. From, it is reported that Georges put $10 million of his personal money into his campaign and heavily concentrated on getting out the black vote in the last days of the campaign.

The next to concede was state senator Walter Boasso, a successful businessman who left the Republican Party this year and made himself into a new Democrat using commercials linking Jindal with President Bush and touting his own rags to riches story.

Candidate Foster Campbell, the fourth major candidate, a Democratic Public Service Commissioner was long on political connections but short on contributions. He was suppose to carry north Louisiana. Didn't happen.

Remember the system of election voting in Louisiana, an open primary and if a candidate breaks 50%, no run off is needed.

The worst of the attacks on Jindal included the allegations that the 'racist' northern part of the state would never vote for him. I was particularly offended by this kind of attack as I grew up in Shreveport and know that part of the state as well as the southern part I lived in as an adult. It's a stupid, easy style of bottom feeding political discourse and I am sick of it. Racism is in all parts of the country, not just the Deep South, thank you very much.

Bobby Jindal earned degrees from Brown University, then from Oxford. He decided to pursue public service over a career in law or medicine.

The rise of Bobby Jindal signals bad news for Mary Landrieu and her senate re-election bid next year. She is thought to be the most vulnerable anyway and this is further proof of her misfortune. She has been receiving low marks for some of her recent political stunts back home, such as signing the letter of Harry Reid about Rush Limbaugh, and just yesterday was all over the Internet for sponsoring the push to tax the Internet. Not good, Mary.

Power to the people.

I have some hope now for Louisiana. Recent years have been quite demoralizing with the state leadership. It's a new day.

Jindal's campaign focused on the need for stronger ethics laws, better management and fiscal prudence. You know, how Republicans used to act. Real Republican principles.

A hurricane sized wind of fresh air has descended upon the state of Louisiana.

About time.


shira said...

I'm so glad Jindal won! Now to get Landreiu out.

Paul is a Hermit said...

If you like him, I like him.
I hope he is not tied up by the opposition and can give Louisiana, as I heard him say, a day or two ago, a "Fresh start." I hope the people like what that means.

Jennifer said...

I'm going to an Obama meeting on the 24th. Want I should gather you some swag? :-)

AC said...

I have to say, I am hopeful the Landrieu "dynasty" is on its way out. Louisiana has suffered enough

On our first trip together to NO, T & I sat two nights in a row at the window table at the Hotel Monteleone, having cold beers and raw oysters and boiled shrimp. It is to this day one of our favorite times to revisit. It was during Jazz Festival, and the streets were crowded with folks worth watching.

I am hoping that those signing that letter are haunted by doing so. Utterly ridiculous! In our local newspaper yesterday, in a *News Shorts* column (no biased, opinion reporting, really!!!) the letter was described as something that *was sent to Limbaugh and that "should have been the end of it" BUT Limbaugh chose to publicize it" and blahblahblah. Like RUSH was the stupid-doer! sheesh, the rag I have to put up with for local news!

Angevin13 said...

Despite conventional wisdom, which says a Democratic cakewalk is on order in 2008, the Democrats are in trouble, since they have little else to offer besides some good anti-Bush soundbites. Not that the Republicans don't have anything to worry about, it's just that the situation is not as dire as the media would wish it and make it.

wordnerd said...

Amen! I've been a supporter for years -- Bobby is brilliant, engaging, and a good man. Blanco so far seems to be willing to work with him on the transition -- let's keep our fingers crossed!

Frasypoo said...

Hi Karen,
I was looking forward to your post on Bobby.
I was very excited that he won.I watched a short clip on CNN and they mentioned that Louisiana had a lot of Indian businessmen ready to pur their support in there.Its a good thing and I now hope he will keep up his enthusiasm and deliver what he promised.
PS:I was so excited when he won and told my husband that I felt personally responsible for him!!!
though seriuosly I am proud that he rose above all that people said and did not stoop to that level.