First thought upon hearing that Gov. Bobby Jindal is about to publish his second book: How can he possibly have anything left to say?
Honestly, it seems as if all the governor does these days is talk. He homes in on all manner of issues, most of which have nothing to do with the state’s grim financial situation, which has developed on his watch. He uses the whole range of modern communication tools, from television interviews to speeches, op-eds to tweets.
In fact, he’s spent much of his second term issuing a slow-motion, multimedia manifesto on foreign policy, terrorism, school standards, health care and social issues. He’s attacked companies that oppose discriminatory laws as tools of the “radical left” and argued that the government is waging some sort of war on religious freedom. He’s insisted that the state-developed Common Core education standards he used to support amount to a hostile federal takeover of schools. He’s railed against the idea that expanding access to health insurance is a worthy government goal, although he once touted that concept, too. He’s claimed to know for sure that there are Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” in Great Britain, even if he can’t say where they are.
He’s even weighed in on the proper use of hyphens. According to Jindal’s rules of grammar, they should never, ever be used to describe one’s ethnicity or ancestral origins.
And just last week, while the state House was taking the pretty remarkable step of identifying more than $650 million in new revenue to help plug the giant budget hole, he was talking to Fox News. About Iran.
But apparently there’s more that Jindal wants to get off his chest, so in October, he’ll release a 320-page tome called “American Will: The Forgotten Choices that Changed our Republic.” It will cover the Federalist movement, the Louisiana Purchase and the Cold War, and will purport to “demonstrate the courage, faith, and vision that we need in 2016 and what we can learn from our past,” according to the news release from the publisher, Threshold Editions.
But it won’t be a campaign book, Jindal told the Associated Press.
“I think those books are actually quite boring,” he said.
Surely he’s not talking about his own 2010 volume “Leadership and Crisis,” which glossed over much of Jindal’s first term and instead sought to lay out an overarching philosophy on governance.
“Do we really want to be like Europe?” he asks in one chapter, to which his answer is a definitive “no.”
Elsewhere, he acknowledges that climate change may well be both real and dangerous, as the scientists say, but then launches into an epic rant against those who think such an opinion should guide policy.
“Overall these doomsday scenarios are not fact, they’re conjecture presented with a bizarre religious fervor. Skeptics of the scenarios are shrilly denounced as modern-day heretics. I for one am not going to be intimidated by this.”
“Global warming alarmism,” he continues, “is often used to further extremist political agendas that are opposed to capitalism, in favor of population control, and even represent a sort of anti-technology Luddism. What all these agendas have in common is an effort to increase government control over the individual.”
You’ve got to wonder how he plans to top that.
You’ve also got to wonder when Jindal’s going to figure out that his powers of persuasion have their limits.
In continuing to insist that all of this is not solely about his presidential aspirations — every shred of available evidence to the contrary — he’s actually falling into an old pattern that used to work quite well for him.
Way back when he was just a young management consultant, he sent a health care paper to incoming Gov. Mike Foster — not in search of job, he’s always insisted, but because he just wanted to get his ideas out there. Never mind that the man who acted as go-between, former U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, later confirmed that Jindal not only wanted the Department of Health and Hospitals’ top job but would not settle for anything less.
Jindal trotted out a similar line when he discussed his new book.
“I hope to get people to read it regardless if I run,” he said.
Well, good luck with that. Once upon a time, Jindal proved quite adept as getting people to listen. At this point, though, I’m guessing that most have heard quite enough.