Republicans who had Bobby Jindal pegged as the savior of their party hoped the nation would still be talking about the Louisiana governor’s first national address two days after the fact, but not like this. A headline in today’s New York Times reads “Governor Jindal, rising G.O.P. star, plummets after speech.” The governor also made enemies with the U.S. Geological Survey for his comments questioning the government’s inclusion of funds for volcano monitoring in the recent economic stimulus bill. Several U.S.G.S. researchers have expressed shock that, given Louisiana’s own history with natural disasters, Jindal would take umbrage with routine monitoring for volcanic eruptions. Marianne Guffanti, a volcano researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey, tells CNN , “We don’t throw the money down the crater of the volcano and watch it burn up.” Reached for a response, the governor’s chief of staff, Timmy Teepel, says Jindal stands by the remark. “That was just one example of wasteful spending in the largest government spending bill in history,” he says. “The governor made it clear that we need to grow jobs, not government.”
Jindal also gets blistered in a column from the New York Times ’ Gail Collins, who finds too much irony in the governor’s call for limited spending. Collins writes:
“Louisiana has gotten $130 billion in post-Katrina aid. How is it that the stars of the Republican austerity movement come from the states that suck up the most federal money? Taxpayers in New York send way more to Washington than they get back so more can go to places like Alaska and Louisiana. Which is fine, as long as we don’t have to hear their governors bragging about how the folks who elected them want to keep their tax money to themselves. Of course they do! That’s because they’re living off ours.”
If that weren’t enough, Jindal also appears to have his work cut out for him in shaking comparisons to Kenneth the Page, the overzealous intern on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. A Facebook group titled “Bobby Jindal is Kenneth the Page” already has more than 9,000 members and last night, Jack McBrayer, the actor who plays Kenneth the Page, appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to attempt to rebut any likeness to Jindal.