At the opening session of the State Legislature, Jindal made the following statement: "If the New Orleans Saints, after 43 long years, can go farther than anybody predicted - other than my little daughter - and win the Super Bowl, there is no doubt in my mind that Louisiana can be number one in economic development, in our quality of life, in education, in health care." Makes one wonder what the comment about his "little daughter" has to do with anything? Meanwhile, he is cutting funding for higher education and health care, two areas necessary to attract economic development and improve the quality of life? Does it mean that we must have 43 years of continuing failure before achieving these goals?
Louisiana's Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell, has joined Attorney's General from 13 other states in a class-action lawsuit to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional. Caldwell is the only Democratic Attorney General to join this lawsuit and seems to be hanging his hat with Jindal, who seems more interested in his image nationally than in doing anything helpful for the state.
The Legislative Black Caucas responded as follows: "We believe that this litigation is frivolous and wastefully expends state funds at a time when we are being forced to cut much needed programs and assistance in a number of areas and particularly in health care.....Caldwell wasn't elected to assert the private political party interest of Governor Jindal."
“I kind of figured that was his agenda,” state Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, said as he returned to the Senate chamber after Jindal's speech. State Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said, "the governor gave the same speech in Minden a week ago." Budget cuts and a rapidly-expanding Medicaid program has Louisiana's healthcare system in need of a cure, the head of the state Department of Health and Hospitals told members of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
The following statement, by a blog comment, pretty much sums it all up: "The caucus is right - Caldwell is simply wasting the State's money by joining in with the suit. They will never be successful...the health care legislation is clearly constitutional...just like the social security law. Besides, anyone who opposes health care for every citizen of this country is simply misguided or confused. There is simply no rational argument to be made against healthcare."
Update - April 4, 2010: Attorney General Buddy Caldwell issued a statement that he was not comfortable with joining the twelve other state's Attorney Generals in their lawsuit against the health-care bill. He is the only Democratic Attorney General pursuing this matter. Meanwhile, the Associated Press has posted a story that there was little chance that the lawsuit would be successful in the end. The word out of Baton Rouge is that Caldwell cut a deal with Bobby Jindal to preserve jobs in his department, which is terribly under staffed. Jindal wanted to join the lawsuit to show his support for the Republican Party. This week, Jindal is a speaker at a G.O.P. fundraiser in New Orleans. The Repubican Party has given Jindal millions for his election as will be doing so again when he runs for re-election. It is illegal for the governor of Louisiana to campaign or raise funds for himself during a regular session of the State Legislature. His office is justifying his speech in New Orleans as raising money for the party rather than for himself. When Jindal campaigned for office, he promised to open state government and make our sunshine laws more transparent. He succeeded in doing this for all state government except the executive branch (his office). The legislative session opened last week, and one issue on the agenda is to attempt to legislate more openness in the Governor's office. Let's hope they succeed.