For those who are not yet aware, a recall petition has been filed against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. The fair-haired boy of the Republican Party, hailed by Rush Limbaugh as ‘the next Ronald Reagan’, mentioned prominently in the national media as a possible running mate for John McCain, has hit the skids after only five months in office.
What could possibly have gone so wrong so soon?
At a time when average wages are down in Louisiana, when gas prices and food prices are soaring, the Louisiana Legislature voted itself a 125% increase in pay, from $16,800 to $37,500 per year. This is in addition to a per diem allowance of $143 per day and $6,000 per year in unvouchered expenses. Inexpensive housing is also available to members of the legislature when in session.
Governor Jindal announced that he will not veto the raise despite a campaign promise last fall that he would ‘prohibit the legislature from increasing their pay before the subsequent election’. He claims that if he opposes them on this issue they will hijack his ‘reform’ agenda.
The raise is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Jindal said that he made a ‘pledge’ to legislators that he would not veto the increase, despite his promise to the voters.
And people are angry. Jindal’s conservative supporters are up in arms, recall petitions have been filed against 4 legislators, including Speaker of the House Jim Tucker, and on Friday the petition to recall Jindal arrived in the office of the Secretary of State.
Will it garner the more than 900,000 signatures required to force a recall election? Conventional thinking would say no, but we are living in the age of the internet and anything can happen.
The people of Louisiana have been ill-served for a long time, and just when they thought they had a knight in shining armor to save them, they have been betrayed.
Betrayal is a strong word, but it is popping up often these days.
Jindal still has until July 8th to veto the bill. He has said that he will not do it because he gave that pledge to the legislature.
Let’s hope that his promise to the people will trump his pledge to the 72 politicians who voted for this raise.