So now Bobby Jindal is off to earn his foreign policy chops, thanks to a 10-day “economic development mission” to Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Jindal returns Jan. 20, almost exactly a year after his first international foray as governor — that one a trade mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
If this is a run-up to Jindal’s expected announcement that he’s running for president in 2016 (Is there anyone who doesn't think that that’s what this is all about?), I suppose it’s not quite as laughable as then-Gov. Sarah Palin touting her international bona fides in 2008 by saying one could see Russia from parts of Alaska … but it’s close.
Imagine Jindal on the campaign trail, or as a vice-presidential nominee (okay, don’t do that last one), telling a reporter, “I’ve been to Japan. I know how to build on our long relationship with our allies there.” Or, “I know the Swiss, and they’re a lot more than private banking.”
Lest there be any doubt that this jaunt is anything but a scrim for Jindal to pick up some international affairs cred, consider that his itinerary includes a foreign policy speech to the Henry Jackson Society (a conservative London think tank) and an unspecified number of meetings with unspecified political leaders in the UK. I guess the specifics of those meetings are part of Gov. Wannabe’s “deliberative process,” which allows such details to be kept from the public view under the “transparency” law that he pushed through the Legislature in 2009.
Remember that law? If you don’t, it’s probably because you’ve never tried to get important public information out of state government. Like many things Jindal does, he attaches an Orwellian tag to it — like calling a proposed law that makes his office the least transparent in America, which it is, a “transparency bill.” The same holds for the “ethics reform” package that he pushed through the Legislature soon after he took office in 2008. His “reforms” applied to everyone but himself, and it gutted both the effectiveness and the authority of the state Ethics Administration.
Here’s another quintessentially Jindal tidbit: Louisiana taxpayers are picking up an unspecified portion of the tab for his trip. The other unspecified portion will be covered by Jindal’s campaign fund. The lack of specificity no doubt reflects some deliberative process on the governor’s part. Well, he is deliberating his best strategy for getting the hell out of Louisiana.
The absurdity of Jindal running for president on his record as Louisiana’s least popular modern governor — and using taxpayer dollars to gin up foreign policy expertise — is mind-boggling. That absurdity is rivaled only by the lack of pushback from citizens and lawmakers. I guess in the end we really do get the government we deserve.
Jindal will return to Louisiana just in time for “The Response,” his mega-prayer meeting at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The event is hosted by the hate-mongering American Family Association (like Jindal’s “transparency” law, another Orwellian misnomer). There, the now globetrotting governor will lead the enthralled in supplication for America’s future. That’s nice, but it would be even nicer if he would do something about Louisiana’s future first — like fix the train wreck of a deficit that his administration created over the past seven years.