If you’re a Democrat surveying the scene you’ll swiftly note that the two strongest possible challengers to Obama in 2012 are Governors Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Bobby Jindal (R-LA). You can allow these two to slowly build up their contacts and organization in preparation for a run – or you can attempt to pre-destroy them in hopes that they’ll either become too toxic for the GOP primary or, at least, greatly weakened for the general election should either one of them secure the GOP nomination. Which course do you think Democrats have settled upon?
Sarah Palin has been the target of one after another frivolous legal action – designed to take her down a peg or two, tie up her time and funds and generally make political life miserable for her. The Democrats started on her, of course, during the 2008 campaign, but the (very correct) perception of her amazing strength made them keep right at her as if the election had never ended. There was some doubt early on about whether Jindal would seek the 2012 GOP nomination, but once he started making clear preliminary moves, the attacks started to mount. The current accusation – that “Mr Clean” Bobby Jindal, who has worked very hard to clean up Louisiana’s here to for hopelessly corrupt government, is involved in a “pay-to-play” scandal. The accusation:
The first person ever to benefit from economic development aid under Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration was Gary Chouest, owner of Edison Chouest Offshore and C-Logistics in Lafourche Parish. The announcement came last year during Jindal’s second special session. During the governor’s opening remarks, he identified a group of “real people,” including Chouest, and asked them to stand.
The bayou mogul obliged and gave a nod to the new Republican governor. Chouest was a happy man that day, sporting a smile ear to ear. Who could blame him? After all, Jindal had just announced that the state was prepared to invest $10 million into the Port of Terrebonne to accommodate LaShip, an Edison Chouest subsidiary.
That’s big bucks, even for a man like Chouest. Luckily for Jindal, Chouest believes in investing in politicians with whom he agrees. Over the past two years, Chouest’s businesses and closest family members have given Jindal’s campaign at least 18 donations totaling $85,000.
Did that money help Jindal make his decision to back the LaShip project?
Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s press secretary, calls that a ridiculous notion. “Contributors to Gov. Jindal support his agenda for reforming Louisiana and moving our state forward, not the other way around,” Plotkin says. “In fact, the governor has more than 21,000 contributors representing all different types of people and organizations.”
A search of Open Secrets does show that Gary Chouest – and his family – puts most of their donations to Republicans. But even Gary Chouest donated $9,200.00 to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) during the 2008 election cycle. Many other Democrats have benefited from Chouest family donations over the years. This indicates that Chouest is a business man and wishes to keep in good with the political powers that be in a State notorious for only allowing politically well-connected businesses to thrive. Should it be like that? Not at all – and Governor Jindal is working to change that politico-business culture…but you can’t uproot a century of Democrat corruption in Louisiana with the snap of your fingers.
As Jindal’s press secretary stated, the accusation against Jindal is absurd – but to make the accusation in 2009 means that by 2012 it will be “allegations of pay-to-play dogging Jindal” and our liberal friends will be on and on and on about it…with, of course, calls from Democrats for State and federal investigations into the matter right in the thick of the 2012 campaign. This is a two-fold effort – to put a shot across Jindal’s bow and let him know that the long-knives are being sharpened for him (and thus, just perhaps, scaring him off) and to generate some fake mud to sling at him, especially as by then we’ll have plenty of real mud to slam on the Obama Administration (unless you out there want to think that the Administration of a Chicago pol will be anything other than “pay-to-play”).
Its a sad state of affairs that our current ruling party can’t seem to admit our side to an open debate about ideas and the people making a carefully reasoned decision about which party would be best – no, our Democrats have to work in the sewer and use mud as their primary means of beating back the strongest of GOP challengers. They know their ideas are bankrupt, and so they resort to gutter politics.