Why don’t Louisiana Democrats have anybody up and running against Bobby Jindal? Is Jindal that good, that formidable?

Are the Democrats afraid of the governor’s $10 million election fund? Expenditures in the last presidential election totaled $billions! Our governorship is an off-year election; there’s lots of money out there. If Louisiana comes up with a real race, $10 million will look small, fast.

Is Jindal such an effective campaigner? Kathleen Blanco beat him. Then he was handed a safe congressional seat. The competition he faced in the governor’s race four years ago just wasn’t much.

Is he charismatic? Jindal grew up around where I live now. The area is purest Republican. He ought to be wildly adored here; but if you ask around, all you get is reminiscence; “He was a nice kid, real polite.” Nothing more! Everybody in Louisiana is polite.

Brilliant? He did get a Rhodes scholarship, but so did Bill Clinton (’nuff said) — but it’s not enough. If our governor is so brilliant, I wish he’d use his skills to persuade instead of trick. His “transparency in government” campaign has given the whole state an ulcer.

Many say Gov. Blanco failed the state in Katrina-Rita. Gov. Jindal had his crisis too, BP. Was he really so much more impressive than Blanco? Has he been so resourceful in this budget crisis, either?

Our system needs election contests — two substantial candidates.

Mitch Landrieu or Kip Holden could be substantial candidates; but both are committed in their present jobs. (It’d be nice if Bobby Jindal was as committed in his.)

What about Jim Bernhard, the founder and CEO of the Shaw Group? In the mid-2000s, he was chairman of the state Democratic Party. He’s certainly shown an interest in politics. Maybe Bernhard could be convinced that it’d be more interesting to run one of 50 states than one of America’s top 500 corporations.

The Democrats aren’t dead. Just a year ago they controlled the state Legislature. They are mayors to the state’s two biggest cities. There are lots of Republicans in Louisiana who are populists (Democrats) at heart. Our state is also full of Christians who hate the mixing of pulpit and politics.

The people of Louisiana deserve a choice.

Tom Barton


Baton Rouge