on the road again

So the phantom governor, the esteemed PBJ is headed out again next week to pander for funds. I believe he spends more time outside the gret stet, than in. It is unfortunate that the legislative session next month will interfere with his coffer filling, free lunch tour of the Etats Unis.

Gov. Bobby Jindal schedules more out-of-state fundraisers
by Robert Travis Scott, The Times-Picayune
Tuesday March 17, 2009, 6:17 AM

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal has scheduled four campaign fundraisers next week in Washington, D.C., while he is in town for a dinner and reception in his honor sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

As the fundraising and political arm for House Republicans, the committee will fete Jindal during its dinner and business summit at the National Building Museum on March 24. The donations for that event will go to the committee.

That same day, the lobbying firm The Livingston Group, run by former Louisiana Republican Congressman Bob Livingston, will host a fundraiser at its office for the governor. The next day Jindal will be attending fundraisers at the offices of the Williams Mullen law and lobbying firm and at the American Forest and Paper Association.

Also on March 25, Jindal will hold a “coffee and roundtable discussion, ” with a $1,000 minimum contribution, at the Washington office of Navigators Global, a governmental relations and communications firm.

The money raised at the events will go to the Friends of Bobby Jindal for his 2011 re-election bid.

Jindal is planning at least two other fundraisers outside Louisiana before the legislative session begins April 27. The governor is not allowed to raise campaign money during sessions.

On April 16, he will be in Boston for a fundraiser hosted by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He is scheduled for a $5,000-per-couple dinner April 18 at the Destin, Fla., estate of a north shore towboat executive.

The governor in recent months has traveled to Florida, Mississippi, Texas, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Arkansas and Washington, D.C., to raise money for his re-election campaign.

The Navigators Global event hosts include Kirk Blalock, an official in President George W. Bush’s administration and a fundraiser for John McCain’s presidential bid, and Chris Cox, a former congressman from California and a chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Bush.

The list also includes Camp Kaufman with Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., a firm with a Baton Rouge office run by Mark Drennen, who was commissioner of administration under Gov. Mike Foster, and Chris Lamond, a senior vice president with Ogilvy Government Relations and a former aide to U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

The Republican Committee dinner is a $2,500-per-ticket event with Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers singing the national anthem. The sponsors are Republican Minority Leader John Boehner and Pete Sessions, chairman of the committee.

Stephanie Grace weighs in on the frequent flyer

Jindal at home
Posted by Stephanie Grace, Columnist, The Times-Picayune March 17, 2009 2:44AM

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s remarkably quick rise had a lot to do with his resume, but it owes even more to spot-on instincts. The Jindal who got himself elected the nation’s youngest governor in 2007 is a genius at self-branding, as any Indian-American Rhodes Scholar technocrat would have to be to win the hearts of small town Louisiana.

That was then. These days, Jindal’s political radar is looking pretty jammed.

The Jindal who stepped onto the national stage last month, when he delivered the widely panned official GOP response to President Barack Obama’s first address to Congress, was unchacteristically unfocused. When it was over, the outside world saw him no longer an heir apparent, but as a politician whose time has not yet come selling a message whose time has passed.

Here at home, the ground shifted too. It’s one thing for voters to indulge a governor’s national ambitions when they help bolster the state’s image, and when things are going pretty well. It’s entirely another to sit by patiently when the opposite is true.

Yet Jindal, suddenly oddly tone-deaf, went on as if nothing had changed.

Within days of the speech, he took a break from what was billed as a family getaway at Walt Disney World to hold a fundraiser in Orlando, prompting more than one Mickey Mouse joke. A week later, he jetted off to California for four additional money-raising events, in San Diego, Palo Alto, Fairfield and that playground for the rich and famous, Malibu.

Now comes word that he’s headed to Boston next month for a fundraiser hosted by former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He also added a fundraising event to his Washington, D.C., itinerary next week, along with a party speech that was scheduled before his response to Obama. This on top of similar trips earlier this year to Arkansas and North Carolina.

He says he has the job he wants, that the trips are all about raising money for reelection in 2011. But that rings hollow when he’s already raised $3.5 million, on top of an $800,000 surplus, for an election that’s still 2 1/2 years away. The only explanation that makes sense is that Jindal is still thinking nationally, not locally.

If Jindal is misreading the new landscape in the party, he’s also lost touch with the mood at home, which has turned increasingly testy.

A budget surplus quickly morphed into a shortfall, in the midst of an economic meltdown that might be worse elsewhere but is still bad here.

Even as he was cavorting with the fat cats in California, his administration was preparing an austere budget that would be even tighter without the federal stimulus Jindal has attacked.

As it is, Jindal’s proposed budget could put 300 employees out of work and eliminate more than 1,000 unfilled jobs, cut higher education funding 8 percent and health care 5 percent, and shut down facilities such as the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital. None of these cuts will be easy, to put it mildly, and many will inevitably be unpopular.

In the midst of all this, we caught a glimpse of the old, politically astute Jindal.

Last week, the governor unveiled an ambitious top-to-bottom streamlining initiative, designed to allow government managers more flexibility in personnel decisions and revise funding incentives for higher education so that they reward performance and graduation, not just enrollment. He says the budget shortfall presents an opportunity to make these hard changes, to reinvent government, which is pretty much what he said he’d do when he ran for office, before he shifted his sights elsewhere.

Who knows? If he stays home long enough to see the project through, he might actually remind voters fed up with his travels why they liked him in the first place.

Plus, he’d actually have something to talk about the next time he feels compelled to jump on a plane and pass the hat.

~ by maringouin on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.

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