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Archive for the ‘Bobby Jindal’ Category

Yesterday I heard John Cornyn say that he admires Edward (Ted) Kennedy, even though they differ philosophically in many ways, because, “He’s been a courageous fighter as he has been for his entire career. … Our thoughts and prayers go with him.”

Today I read this: “[Bobby Jindal] admires Kennedy because, ‘He is relentless; he is consistent; he knows where he wants to go.’”

What? Republicans praising a Democrat two days in a row? We cynical voters tend to question the motives of anything politicians do these days, so here I go: are these guys a) honoring the man, b) eulogizing him while his body is still warm, or c) reaching across party lines to reinforce their bipartisan credentials at the beginning of an election cycle?

Perhaps the right answer is all of the above.  Even if their intentions are beyond reproach, it’s still smart politics. Look for more of this over the next couple of years from the real party builders.

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Brian Gaines, who is with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs and is also a political science professor, had this to say when asked by the Daily Illini about the next GOP presidential candidate:

Whether successful or not, I don’t think anybody is likely in the next two years to emerge as the likely nominee. I’m guessing it will be a governor. Historically speaking, Republicans have proven to get second chances. Look at McCain and Reagan. I can see Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani building strength in the grassroots in the next four years. I would also guess Tim Pawlenty, Mark Sanford or maybe Bobby Jindal from Louisiana. I would not count out Sarah Palin either. She took a beating from the media but she proved her ability to excite the grassroots of her party.

If it’s true that the next likely GOP nominee is not going to emerge for two years, then this blog, which is primarily devoted to highlighting the 2012 candidates for president, is more than likely going to accumulate a thick portfolio while sorting out all of the various wannabees and trying to predict who the eventual front runner might be.

The rest of the interview is also well worth a read. Gaines mainly discusses the GOP’s current public perception problems and offers strategies on how they can win back control of Congress.

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Times are tough, so Governor Bobby Jindal is tightening the collective Louisiana belt. There is a $342 Million shortfall in the state’s budget, so he’s taking away $118 Million from the state’s healthcare system. Trouble is, Louisiana already ranks 50th (yes, that’s last place) in health care according to AmericasHealthRankings.org.

Another $55 Million will be taken from the state’s public higher education system. This means that tuition will go up yet again for college students in Louisiana. The Pelican State’s colleges and universities already receive an F for affordability, according to Measuring Up: The National Report Card On Higher Education (of course, so do 48 other states).

I can’t blame the governor for doing what he has to do; after all, times are tough, especially in a state that has 25% of its citizens hooked up to a $7 Billion Medicaid health-support system. If he doesn’t cut funding, then he has to raise taxes, or (God forbid!) the state government has to become more efficient. That’s Economics 101. Still, this move is going to give his opponents plenty of debate ammunition to use against him should he run for president in 2012. He’s already admitted that Louisiana is treading water when it comes to health care, saying that “simply keeping the status quo is not an option. Our people deserve better than that. The health care system we’ve got today in Louisiana is not working to help the very people it’s designed to serve.” Now it appears that some mean economic riptides aren’t even going to let him do that.

Jindal is certainly a forward-thinking, conservative reformer, if there is such a thing these days. If he can turn things around in Louisiana, he’ll certainly gain some major credibility for a run at the White House. I’m not too sure, however, that anyone would be able to turn around Louisiana’s health and higher-education systems.

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As this Newsweek piece reminds us, there are still 21 of them. I’m really not in the mood to talk about Bobby Jindal right now, since for the first time in my life a key figure in the Republican Party is younger than me, and I’m still stinging from the blow. (They don’t call in the Grand Old Party for nothing.)

It’s worth a read. The party has a great deal to figure out, in terms of policy and, as Mike Huckabee reminds us, process.

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On Friday, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal received a preliminary approval to move ahead with his health care plan. In a “near-unanimous vote,” the state legislature approved his application for a federal waiver of certain Medicaid rules. If Uncle Sam allows, Jindal’s plan will set up “managed care networks as a pilot program in four parts of the state: the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Shreveport areas.” The article continues,

About 380,000 low-income residents in Medicaid, mostly children, would be steered into the managed care networks that state Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine said he hopes would begin operating by the end of 2010.

The networks would be run by private management companies, like insurers, that would contract with the state and negotiate payment prices with health providers. The managed care plans could vary the benefit packages and care received by Medicaid recipients.

Supporters said the plan would better coordinate care for Medicaid recipients, improve health outcomes by catching and treating chronic diseases earlier, and help rein in rising costs due to Medicaid fraud and overuse of expensive emergency room care.

Some will bemoan the partial privatization of a critical public health initiative, and indeed the present correspondent does not endorse privatization for its own sake. But compared to countries of similar stature, our health care industry is terribly inefficient. A little more competition and innovation might be critical by-products of this small experiment.

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Many post-mortems in the past month have espoused upon the GOP’s failures in embracing technology and message dissemination. I took a look at the 2012 candidates’ website to see if they have learned anything from these lessons. I rated these websites on a scale of 1 to 5 in three areas: Issues pages, Web 2.0 Goodies and Website Design.

Issues Page
A voter can only make an informed decision about a candidate if that candidate clearly states his or her position on those issues. A candidacy website is a great place for a candidate to lay out his or her positions. In this review I set the bar deliberately low. I simply looked for an issues page that was east to find, comprehensive and well-written. I’ll review the actual content of those candidate positions in a later article. This time around, even though, I set the bar low, many of the candidates still couldn’t clear it! Some didn’t even have an issues page. Others had pages that discussed the issues vaguely and in general terms. Admittedly, a well-written issues page is an exercise in spin. Even so, if a candidate is incapable of doing that, how is he or she supposed to influence a voter’s decision? Only three candidates had issues pages on their websites that compared to Obama’s issues page. (Please keep in mind that I’m not praising Obama’s message. I’m simply acknowledging that one reason he won the 2008 election is because he was much more effective than McCain in articulating that message.) Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich all have issues pages that can compete with Obama’s for clarity, thoroughness and user-friendliness.

Social Networking
The candidate who is best able to articulate and disseminate his message to like-minded voters has a huge advantage over a candidate who falls short in this area. Web 2.0 technology is the cutting edge of social networking. Why are so many GOP candidates in denial about Web 2.0? Probably because their base is older and not plugged in to it. Well, that’s a big problem! A candidate can’t concede an entire generation to the other candidate. That’s like a marathoner giving his opponent a two-mile head start. Too many Republican candidates in our survey fell short in this are. A few rose to the top: Mitch Daniels, Ron Paul and Steve Poizner. A trail pack of Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Eric Cantor and Bobby Jindal showed well in this category.

Website Design
This category is the least important of the three but still worth a mention. Why do so many politicians insist on a gaudy Red, White & Blue theme that screams patriotism? It seems like they all read the same book, one that told them that, unless they wrapped themselves in the American flag, people would question their patriotism. That’s silly. A website design says something about a candidate’s personality. Is she a maverick? Is he a conformist? Too many websites in our survey conformed to the I’m a Patriot School of Web Design. There were a couple of standouts, however. Instead of the usual cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill, I’m Proud To Be An American design displayed by way too many of our candidates, Mitch Daniels went with an ultra modern blue and green theme that was a refreshing change of pace. Ron Paul has the edgiest, most youth-oriented site. It seems to whisper Revolution. He’s probably the real maverick in the GOP.
(more…)

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I’m coming down with a serious case of Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome. I understood accusations of Bush Derangement Syndrome, even Clinton Derangement Syndrome. But Palin Derangement Syndrome? Obama Derangement Syndrome? Joe the Plumber Derangement Syndrome (!!!)?

I propose a truce. I simply cannot handle four years of talk of McDonnell Derangement Syndrome, Jindal Derangement Syndrome, Crist Derangement Syndrome, Cantor Derangement Syndrome…

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