Politics 11.12.2008

GOP looking to Jindal, Moon Griffon no longer a Republican and more GOP LOOKING TO JINDAL

There’s no shortage of stories this week about the national Republican Party’s soul searching in the wake of Tuesday’s election losses. The inevitable question is who will head the party’s ticket in 2012. One emerging figure on the party’s national stage is Louisiana’s young policy wonk governor, Bobby Jindal. Last week, The Times-Picayune featured a prominent story on Jindal’s rising star and Fox News posed this headline question: “Is Governor Bobby Jindal the man to rebuild the GOP?” Fueling speculation is the fact that Jindal has been campaigning with other GOP candidates across the country this year and plans to be in Iowa — the first primary caucus state — to deliver a speech before the Iowa Family Policy Center later this month.

For his part, Jindal continues to downplay any speculation of a 2012 presidential bid. In an interview with WDSU in New Orleans, he said he intends to stay put. “I do plan on running for a second term,” Jindal said. “I have no intention of running for other offices.


It’s been 40 years since Louisiana voters opted for a presidential candidate who did not win the overall national election. In the Nov. 4 election, Louisiana was one of 22 states whose voters opted for Republican John McCain rather than Democrat Barack Obama, now the president-elect. The state gave McCain a strong showing, with 58.6 percent of the vote and a 366,622 edge over Obama. Only Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee had higher margins for McCain.

The last time Louisiana supported the loser in the presidential race was 1968, when the state went for Alabama governor and third-party candidate George Wallace. Louisiana also was among states supporting the failed bid of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, who lost in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson in 1964. From 1968 to this year, Louisiana supported the winning presidential candidate in nine straight elections.

Lafayette Parish saw 70.18 percent of its registered voters turn out for the Nov. 4 election, besting the overall state turnout of 66.5 percent. The turnout is not quite a record for the parish, but Clerk of Court Louis Perret says it’s the highest turnout for a presidential election in at least 40 years. “Beyond that, the records aren’t as clear,” he says. The number is still significantly less than the 78 percent of parish registered voters who turned out for the 1991 state election featuring the gubernatorial showdown between David Duke and Edwin Edwards.

Conservative radio talk show host Moon Griffon, who’s built a statewide radio empire as Louisiana’s redneck answer to Rush Limbaugh, has left the Republican Party. The Advocate reports that Griffon has re-registered as a “no party” voter. Ironically, the man many national commentators are pointing to as a potential savior for the Republican Party, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, appears to be the reason behind Griffon’s defection. “My frustration with Bobby Jindal is that he is not being a conservative,” Griffon told the paper, citing Jindal’s 11th-hour capitulation on vetoing legislative pay raises and repealing the Stelly tax — issues Griffon believes the governor should be leading on.

Griffon was a champion of Jindal’s throughout his 2007 campaign for governor. More recently, the Monroe-based political commentator was a vocal proponent of Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy’s failed bid for U.S. Senate. Prior to the Nov. 4 election, Griffon was on the airwaves labeling Kennedy’s opponent, Sen. Mary Landrieu, a socialist. Griffon is celebrating 10 years on the air with The Moon Griffon Show. This week, he was at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette tomorrow for a celebratory roast in his honor, hosted by 105.1 KPEL and benefitting LA Honor Air. The lineup of roasters included former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, and state Sens. Mike Michot, Troy Hebert and Nick Gautreaux.


The Advocate reports that there were more problems than just long lines for food stamps after Hurricane Gustav. The daily Baton Rouge paper has combed through thousands of pages of e-mails from the Louisiana Department of Social Services to document other problems that haven’t been made public. DSS Secretary Ann Williamson, a hire during the Blanco administration, resigned after Gov. Bobby Jindal publicly criticized her agency’s response to the storm. Other problems unearthed by The Advocate include returning evacuees to towns where they didn’t live, buses directed to shelters that were full, and “complaints that ill, elderly people arrived at shelters smelling of urine because buses had broken toilets and drivers refused to stop for restroom breaks.”

Contributors: R. Reese Fuller and Nathan Stubbs