Thoughts on the Governor
UPDATE: 4:57 p.m. I erroneously suggested below that Mr. Rogers made claims about Jindal’s future plans beyond the Governor’s mansion. This is not the case, as Rogers made no such claim. Any such thoughts about a potential Jindal bid for the Presidency or some other high office is either speculation on my part or attributable to other members of the state and national media. Updates to the original post are in bolded italics.
Anyone who follows my Facebook and Twitter feeds will know I’m all about politics. However, I very rarely blog about politics on my personal site. This morning, I read the analysis of Jindal’s future prospects by Chad Rogers of “The Dead Pelican” and had an additional thought worth mentioning.
I believe the pundits are spot on in their tea leaf readings. Jindal is not planning on sticking around. The Governor is pondering his next move. One point worth noting, though, is the timeframe in which a Jindal resignation might take place.
Current conventional wisdom is that Jindal will wait until Roger Villere wins the race and is sworn in. Jindal will resign, Villere will become governor and have to deal with the political fallout of the various and sundries of the Jindal-Blanco era. Meanwhile, Jindal will move on to bigger and brighter things — either a run at the Senate or some elder statesman role in the GOP ahead of the 2012 presidential race. This is one possibility.
However, there is another possible scenario to consider.
Currently, Scott Angelle holds the reigns of the Lt. Governor’s office. A Jindal appointee tapped to fill the unexpired term of Mitch Landrieu, Angelle is vested with the full weight and power of that office until a full-time replacement can be elected to fill the spot. It’s a tight field of candidates, too. And some of the names on the list are sure to raise the ire of a sitting governor known for his fiscal conservatives.
Topping the list of Jindal non-starters is Republican Sec. of State Jay Dardenne. Long considered a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only), Dardenne’s support base is wide. After all — he’s the only candidate in the race to run for and win statewide office. That’s no small feat in a state with diverse cultures and political climates. Yet, Dardenne fairs well statewide. But he’s no Friend of Bobby.
Likewise, virtually any of the relative-unknown Democrats in the race would surely get the Governor’s blood pumping. The specter of a popular, newly-minted and contrarian Lt. Governor breathing over his shoulder would surely make Jindal think twice about remaining in office. At the same time, though, resignation would elevate an anti-Bobby lieutenant governor to the level of influence to undo many Jindal policies and practices while giving some members of those decidedly ‘anti-Bobby’ factions of the Republican Party and virtually all of the Democratic pundits plenty of “See, he ain’t all he’s cracked up to be” ammo.
After all, who wants to run for President on their record while that record is being largely undone by his successor?
That brings to the fore one potential outcome no one has discussed — at least not publicly.
Buddhists talk of a “middle path” and Jindal has the unique opportunity available to get both outcomes: a new lieutenant governor to fill Landrieu’s term and a successor governor who will not undo his legacy before he can ride that popular wave to the Republican nomination in 2012. And it’s a scenario that, while frightening, is an all-too-possible outcome.
You see, anyone elected to the post of Lt. Governor will have to wait for their election to be certified. Then, they’ll have to set up a time to go to Baton Rouge to be sworn in. Until that moment, Scott Angelle will continue to serve as Lt. Governor — meaning he is Jindal’s constitutional successor until he’s out of the race.
In other words, Jindal can take a “wait and see” approach. If he likes the guy who’ll be Landrieu’s permanent replacement, he can swear in that person and then clear the way for a Jindal resignation. But what if he doesn’t like that individual? What if Dardenne pulls through or one of the Democratic upstarts takes the office? Well, it’s simple.
Jindal resigns before that person can be sworn in. Scott Angelle will immediately assume the governor’s job and the newly-elected Lt. Governor will remain just that — the guy holdin’ a spot emptied by Landrieu.
Far fetched? Maybe. But remember. This is Louisiana.