Walter Pierce

Jindal: Rising? Falling? Who knows?

by Walter Pierce

The one thing Louisiana political watchers can agree on is the inability to agree on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s political fortunes. Is his star rising or being sucked into a black hole? Dueling commentary by Capitol scribes hammers home the point.

On the opinion page today in The Daily Advertiser, Melinda Deslatte, the Associated Press’ reporter at the Capitol in Baton Rouge, divines a promising future for Jindal by virtue of the crumbling fortunes of fellow GOP hopefuls like South Carolina Gov. Mark Stanford (adultery), U.S. Sen. John Ensign (adultery) and soon-to-be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (unadulterated weirdness). “Now, if he could shake those comparisons to geeky Kenneth Parcell, the page on the NBC comedy 30 Rock and show a strong list of accomplishments in his home state,” Deslatte writes, “maybe he could pull a real national campaign together.”

But The Advocate’s Michelle Millhollon, in a news analysis piece Sunday titled “Jindal presidential star dims,” comes to the conclusion that our policy-wonking wunderkind may have to wait until 2016 “if the young governor matures into a more-polished politician without the hiccup of embarrassing personal follies.”

In February Jindal, who maintains he has no interest is the White House and will campaign for re-election in 2011, placed second behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a GOP preference poll of potential 2012 presidential hopefuls. But by May the governor's luster had dimmed considerably, following his disastrously deadpan rebuttal to President Obama’s speech to Congress, to a mere 2 percent preference in a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll.