Governor Bobby Jindal’s eye-popping interview with the political website Politico continues to reverberate.
In it Jindal, the current head of the Republican Governors Association and all-but-declared candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, rattled of his litany of things the Republican Party cannot be if it is going to regain the (White) House he wants to live in. The Governor was so pleased with his words that he had them scaled back into an op-ed piece for CNN.
In the operative paragraph taken from a 45-minute stream of consciousness interview Jindal now reserves for national media, the Governor said this:
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
Bailouts have been a sensitive issue for Republicans ever since the George W. Bush administration bailed out the Wall Street Banks during the panic in the early days of what became the Great Recession. The bailout of the American automobile industry also started at the end of the second Bush’s second term.
Chicken Plant Comes Home to Roost
Jindal’s interview points specifically to the bailout of Wall Street bankers as a sin against conservative dogma. But, the Governor demonstrated the kind of effective leadership he now appears to criticize when he intervened to extract the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing plant near Farmerville, Louisiana, from being closed in 2009.
For those of you who don’t recall, in late 2008 Pilgrim’s Pride — one of the nation’s largest chicken processors — sought bankruptcy protection. At the time, the company operated a large chicken processing plant not far from the Arkansas border near Farmerville, Louisiana, in Union Parish. That plant was going to be closed, but Jindal (who had received campaign contributions from the company’s CEO) intervened. He helped find a buyer and had Louisiana taxpayers pony up $50 million to see the deal through.
The move — now considered heresy among the economically illiterate right that Jindal now caters to — saved 1,300 direct jobs at the plant and probably averted an economic calamity in northeast Louisiana. The rest of Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy did not go so smoothly.
It is testimony to the economic extremism which infects the Republican Party that Jindal must distance himself from is own economic success story based on his own prescription for what ails the former party of Lincoln. What’s the alternative? Say that President Obama’s bailout of the U.S. auto industry succeeded? Republicans — and Jindal — clearly are not ready to confront that inconvenient truth.
So, until further notice, the highly successful Jindal bailout of the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken plant in Farmerville is not to be discussed. Forget about it. Never happened. After all, this man has a nomination to pursue. Scrub your brains, all ye who enter here!
Governor Jindal has found the GOP’s enemy — and it is he! Just go out to Farmerville to check it out!
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Originally published: Nov 27, 2012