Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Oakland of websites


The Bobby Jindal commercial says to go to secondchancelouisiana.com to read about Jindal's plan to give us a "wise and honorable" state government. Well, as Gertrude Stein might say, "the trouble with 'Second Chance for Louisiana' is that when you go there, there isn't any there there.

If you go the issues page, there isn't any insurance there. In a state where Democrats, Independents and even Republicans say that there's an insurance crisis, the leading candidate for governor doesn't seem to consider it an issue. Since one of his commercials criticizes Boasso for voting to raise the legally required minimum liability insurance for Louisiana drivers, I halfway expected something about that. Actually, that's the cheap trick of running an attack ad that includes a vaguely worded criticism of a vote that your opponent cast, that you would have almost certainly cast yourself. Four years ago, he ran for governornor saying that he wasn't a politician, now he uses the oldest politician's trick in the book.

Jindal first came to prominence running the state healthcare system, but there's no healthcare there. Nothing about re-opening Charity Hospital (or not). Nothing about the V.A. Hospital. No commitment to keep LSU Medical School in New Orleans (or not). That's one argument for anybody who cares the economy of the Greater New Olreans area to vote for anybody but Jindal. I don't care if you're the caller that I heard on Between the Lines, wondering what Boasso had done for black people...ever, or my Republican sister in Mandeville, at the very least, you shouldn't vote for Jindal if you think a vibrant medical corridor is vital to the local economy. At least, you shouldn't until he actually states his position -- it's not on his website, where you can read about his wise ideas.

But, I'm being unfair, there are a few things there. Jindal wants stricter discipline in our school, but who doesn't? More importantly, what can the governor do about it?

There's also Illegal Immigration there, get a load of this (from the website):
As Bobby Jindal recognizes, our first priority needs to be securing our border.

Glad to hear it; we all know that the federal government would abandon its plans to build a fence between between Texas and Mexico if the governor of Louisiana objected. He lists five issues on his website and one that has absolutely nothing to do with governing a non-border state is one of them.

Finally, there is something there there on the subject of Reform:
Louisiana needs to have zero tolerance for public corruption so that it's no longer the punch line of national jokes. Corruption won't be a part of the new Louisiana.

Bobby Jindal has a 31-point plan to clean up politics in Louisiana. It includes several key points. First, no legislator can also be a lobbyist. Second, legislators must provide full disclosure of their assets, income, and debts. He also proposes that anyone working for the government shouldn't do business with the government at the same time, and that lobbyists should be subject to more detailed disclosures. Lastly, he believes that anyone caught breaking the law should be subject to criminal proceedings.

That's it, that's the whole detailed plan that we can read all about on his website. I agree with the full disclosure and will support him on it, if he's elected. The rest sounds more than a little vague. You've really got to love the part about having a 31-point plan. The commercial says to go to the website to read his plan for a "wise and honorable" state government and, when you go the website, it says, "Jindal has a 31-point plan."

For somebody who's supposed to be just about the brightest sumbitch in the whole entire gad dang state, Jindal doesn't seem to be very clear on the concept. If you tell people that can read your detailed paln on your website, they expect to be able to read the plan, not that you have a plan. Of course, Jindal's just using an increasingly common political ploy -- be as vague as possible, while saying that details are available on your website. It generally works, because most people, including most journalists, don't bother going to the website. Four years ago, he wasn't a politician, now he's using the newest, oldest politician's trick in the book.

On the subject of Jindal, I agree with just about everything that Stephanie Grace, Jeffrey and Adrastos have to say. Sorry, Adrastos, I have to disagree with one thing:
Since I'm not a goo-goo, the only thing I won't criticize the Jindal campaign over is the way they've limited the number of debates the candidate participates in. That's a classic strategy of frontrunners.

Yeah, that's the classic strategy, but you've got to try to punish them for it -- nothing hypocritical about that. And I still think that the now (more-or-less) extinct New Orleans expression, jenny woman should be resurrected for Jindal.

A commenter at YRHT points out that the website isn't the Jindal campaign website, but the work of the Republican Governors' Association. In other words, we have outside agitators running an expensive advertising campaign saying that Jindal is the only honest politician in the state. The basic point still holds. Criticisms and attacks are more effective if the mud-slinger can claim to offer an alternative, the commercial claims that real alternatives are offered on the website and none are.

Jindal's site doesn't offer much more detail. There does seem to be a 31 point plan for reforming government and most of the proposals seem to be good in principle. I haven't had a chance to read it carefully, but some of the proposals seem like platitudes, while the wording of the proposed legislation would be critical for other parts of the plan -- without being a lawyer, I suspect that writing legislation that had any teeth, but was also able to survive legal challenges, would be difficult.

The health care section is a joke. There's nothing about public hospitals or LSU Medical School, but there are links to "Dr. Ralph's" commercial and a tear-jerker article about a death in Jindal's family.

At least Jindal's website doesn't seem to have anything about immigration. One can't help but speculate why the Republican governors felt the need to establish Jindal's bona fides on immigration. Louisiana isn't a border state, but the emphasis is on securing the borders. In the rebuilding of the New Orleans area, there have been there has been widespread use of illegal immigrant labor, but the Republican governors don't talk about penalties for employers who break wage/hour or OSHA laws.

Cross-posted at The Katrinacrat Blog.

Bonus non-political quote, from the internet's best free fantasy football site:
Bob Costas using the words homeboy or calling 30 Rockefeller Center, 30 Rock after bragging about contributing large sums of money to his alma mater is just a small reason this guy is out of touch with the fan base watching his show. He hates fantasy football folks. While I respect anyone who doesn’t like or get fantasy football his on-air disdain for the hobby is foolish. He was once such a respected sports host, but he’s riding the wave of his career and has been reduced to a puppet hawking corporate products every two minutes. I see why David Letterman and Howard Stern hated working for NBC, and Don Imus was right at home. Don’t you get the feeling Bob Costas will be our father’s version of Lorne Green, Andy Rooney, and Alex Trebek selling predatory insurance policies on television commercials 15 years from now? If we all stop watching, maybe we can hasten this career opportunity.

Is there a polite way to define "jenny woman" for those who are unacquainted with the term but would like to use it?
"Lastly, he believes that anyone caught breaking the law should be subject to criminal proceedings"

Does this count for Vitter?
Of course not Mark. And I'll repeat a point I made before, it all occurred at a time when Vitter family finances should have been tight. Wife stopped working, or cut back on her workload, because of small children at the same time that they built a new house. If he paid out of the family bank account, the wife certainly knew. I know that his parents are at least affluent, if not wealthy, but would he be more likely to borrow hooker money from his dad, or let a lobbyist pay?

That's a tough one Oyster; I haven't heard the word at all since I was in high school and I no longer heard it often after elementary school. I remember that "Figaro" had a "guide to the local language" in an issue back in the late seventies, that said the word was almost extinct even then. I guess that to remember the word, you'd have to be from New Orleans and old enough to remember when kids got in trouble for using foul language and most adults watched the use of vulgarities.

As little kids, it was about the worst word that we could use -Figaro called it quasi-vulgar. The word wouldn't be as politically incorrect as you might think, because it didn't really mean sissy or sodomite -- well, maybe a little. If you said, "you're being such a jenny woman," you meant, "what a petty, sniveling little piece of shit," so saying it to guy meant he wasn't acting like a man.

Generally, it was an expression of contempt. Figaro might have defined it more specifically as a chickenshit. Still, it would be pretentious and involve a certain amount of affectation to try bring back a word that's no longer used.
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