Bobby Jindal’s Strange 2003 Coalition, Part 2

This is the second part of two posts analyzing Louisiana’s 2003 gubernatorial election, in which Republican candidate Bobby Jindal narrowly lost to lieutenant governor Kathleen Blanco. It will focus on racial dynamics in the 2003 election. The previous part can be found here.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Race and Bobby Jindal’s 2003 Run

In my previous post, I began analyzing the electoral coalition that voted for Mr. Jindal. As a map of the election below indicates, he drew support heavily from the New Orleans suburbs, while doing extremely poorly in the rural north:

Map of Louisiana, 2003 Gubernatorial Election

Discomfort with Mr. Jindal’s race probably accounted for most his underperformance in the rural north. Take La Salle Parish, for instance. Located in the northern stretches of Louisiana, the parish constitutes a typical example of the rural conservatism that backs much of the Republican Party. The district is very thinly populated; in 2003 less than 5,000 people voted in total. It is also quite poor; 2000 census figures indicate that per capita income was only two-thirds of the American average. And it is 86% white.

Like many of its rural peers, La Salle Parish usually votes Republican. It gave Senator John McCain 85.5% of the vote – which probably means that every single white person voted for Mr. McCain, and that every single black person voted for Mr. Obama. Mr. Jindal, however, received less than 40% of the vote in this staunch Republican district.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Jindal also did unremarkably with black voters. Exit polls indicated that he drew about 9% of the black vote in 2003. This was better than most Louisiana Republicans, but not exactly an impressive performance (reaching more than 20%, or even 15%, of black support is considered an extremely strong performance for a Republican politician – especially in the Deep South). African-Americans, it appeared, did not seem to view Mr. Jindal much differently from a typical white Republican in Louisiana.

White voters in rural Louisiana apparently did. A look at white supremacist David Duke’s 1991 run for governor provides a revealing context:

Map of Louisiana, 1991 Gubernatorial Election

Of the 19 deeply conservative, mostly rural parishes that voted for Mr. Duke, only four could bring themselves to vote for a deeply conservative but non-white Republican. Mr. Duke won two-thirds of the vote in La Salle Parish.

On the other hand, Mr. Duke lost almost all of Louisiana’s conservative southeast; he only managed to win one of the suburban New Orleans parishes Mr. Jindal dominated. These parishes vote equally Republican, if not more so, as places like La Salle Parish.

The disparate supporters of Mr. Jindal and Mr. Duke point to an interesting division in the Republican coalition of Louisiana. Usually this division is not noticed, since Republicans generally hold it together well; only rarely does one leg of the coalition bolt altogether, as in the gubernatorial elections of 1991 and 2003.

Nevertheless, there are indeed two parts of Louisiana’s Republican base. One part, represented by northern Louisiana, is largely rural and poor; in bygone days it formed the core of both Huey Long’s support and the Solid South. The other, located largely in the suburbs surrounding New Orleans, is mostly suburban and relatively wealthy; it will vote for a Bobby Jindal but not a David Duke.

Indeed, these two strands of Republicanism are present not just in Louisiana but throughout the nation. Which strand the Republican Party decides to model itself after in the future will play a great deal in shaping the future of the party, as well as that of the nation.

Post-mortem: Following his 2003 defeat, Mr. Jindal campaigned heavily in the rural regions that had voted against him. In 2007, the Republican was elected governor with 54.3% of the vote; his next closest opponent won 17.6%. Mr. Jindal won almost every parish in the state, including many of the rural, conservative parishes that had voted against him in 2003 – proving that racism is not an impossible obstacle to surmount.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Bobby Jindal’s Strange 2003 Coalition, Part 1

This is the first part of two posts analyzing Louisiana’s 2003 gubernatorial election, in which Republican candidate Bobby Jindal narrowly lost to lieutenant governor Kathleen Blanco. The second part can be found here.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Bobby Jindal’s Strange Coalition

In 2003, an ambitious Bobby Jindal ran for Louisiana governor against Democratic candidate Kathleen Blanco. Despite holding a narrow polling lead throughout most of the campaign, Mr. Jindal ended up losing by a three-point margin.

The story of the coalition that voted for Mr. Jindal, however, constitutes quite the interesting tale. It is much different from the Republican base as commonly envisioned in the Deep South.

To begin, let’s take a look at a map of the election – which is also substantially different from most modern electoral maps. Here it is:

Map of Louisiana, 2003 Gubernatorial Election

The first thing that strikes the eye is the sheer number of parishes Mr. Jindal lost. He was absolutely crushed in rural Louisiana.

This is a remarkable thing. In the United States of today, it is usually an accomplishment for a Democrat to win a state’s rural counties, even in a landslide. Democrats almost never win the rural vote when the election is close.

Mr. Jindal, of course, got 48% of the vote somewhere. As it turns out, these votes came mainly from the state’s most populous parishes. The state’s most populous parish – Jefferson Parish – voted for Mr. Jindal by more than a 3-to-2 margin. In New Orleans, with the endorsement of Mayor Ray Nagin, Mr. Jindal did as well as possible for a Republican, winning almost one-third of the vote.

In other words, Mr. Jindal used strong margins from metropolitan, suburban Louisiana to counter Ms. Blanco’s rural strength and New Orleans – a strategy more familiar to Democrats than Republicans.

Here is a more “normal” election in Louisiana:

Map of Louisiana, 2002 Senatorial Election

Although it does not look like it, Republican candidate Suzanne Terrell did only one point better than Mr. Jindal.

There are substantial differences in their coalitions, however. Ms. Terrell did worse in the populous southeast, although the map does not show it well. She lost Baton Rouge (which Mr. Jindal won) and took only one-fifth of the vote in New Orleans, compared to the one-third Mr. Jindall racked up.

On the other hand, Ms. Terrell performed far better in rural, northern Louisiana – winning a number of thinly populated, poor parishes that Mr. Jindal lost. It was Mr. Jindal’s performance that constituted the aberration; deeply conservative, these parishes are a core part of the Republican base.

The next section will focus on the racial dynamics that caused this effect.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Obama Doing All He Can For The Gulf, Despite Repub Criticisms

Conservatives continue to hound the President for his handling of the BP oil spill, but there continues to be no “there” there. The basic question one has to ask these critics is, what more would you have him do? What is he not doing that you think he should?

True, communication and transparency were lacking for weeks. But the only other substantive, policy-based answer critics tend to give is that the President should have waived the Jones Act and accepted the assistance of European ships, but didn’t because of his ties to labor unions. The truth, however, is that the federal government HAS accepted some foreign aid and it HAS given legitimate reasons why other aide was refused. The same cannot be said of the Gulf State governors who, despite their criticisms of the President, are not using all of the resources at their own disposal.

Prospective 2012 (though I’d wager 2016) presidential candidate Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) said,  “It's clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here,” and Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) Tweeted, “State Department reports today 17 countries have offered 21 times to send aid, including skimmers. Why has the White House refused help?” I’ll get to the hypocrisy of Jindal’s criticisms, as well as those from other Gulf State governors, in a moment. First, however, here’s why Politifact rated LeMieux’s quote “barely true,” which seems to be a rather generous rating:

The State Department on June 14 released a list of [17 countries] that offered to help… The State Department also detailed what offers had been accepted.

From Mexico -- Two skimmers and 13,780 feet of boom (accepted in early May).

From Norway -- Eight skimming systems (accepted in early May).

From Netherlands -- Three sets of Koseq Rigid Sweeping Arms, which attach to the sides of ships and gather oil (accepted on May 23).

From Canada -- 9,843 feet of boom (accepted on June 4).

On June 15, Qatar, the 18th country, offered chains of containment boom and Sweden followed up on an earlier offer to provide skimmers. State Department officials also started making a distinction about the aid -- it wasn't coming for free…

The Washington Post reported about the decision to accept or decline foreign aid in its June 15 edition, noting that the decision to accept foreign aid came after weeks of delay, and that foreign governments were unsure if they should contact the government or BP. In some cases, the Post reported, the administration rejected offers because they failed to meet U.S. specifications: For example, the private consortium that serves as Norway's spill-response team uses a chemical dispersant that the Environmental Protection Agency has not approved.

In other words, Jindal, LeMieux, and right-wing bloggers are claiming that Obama refused aide and won’t tell us why despite the facts that a) he was unable to accept many of those offers because they were made to BP, not to him; b) the Coast Guard and State Department have indeed accepted some aide and c) legitimate explanations were provided for the aide that was refused.

On a similar note, if right-wing blogs and Senators are going to criticize the President because the federal government hasn’t blindly accepted all that was offered to it, they should do the same for the four affected governors, all Republicans. With the feds it’s skimmers and booms to stop the leak; with the governors it’s National Guardsmen to clean up the spill. From CBS News on Thursday:

All along the Gulf coast, local officials have been demanding more help from the federal government to fight the spill, yet the Gulf states have deployed just a fraction of the National Guard troops the Pentagon has made available, CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.

That's a particular problem for the state of Louisiana, where the Republican governor has been the most vocal about using all resources.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's message has been loud and clear, using language such as "We will only be winning this war when we're actually deploying every resource," "They (the federal government) can provide more resources" and "It's clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here."…

But CBS News has learned that in addition to Louisiana's 1,053 troops of 6,000, Alabama has deployed 432 troops of 3,000 available. Even fewer have been deployed in Florida - 97 troops out of 2,500 - and Mississippi - 58 troops out of 6,000…

The Coast Guard says every request to use the National Guard has been approved, usually within a day. Now Jindal's office acknowledged to CBS News the governor has not specifically asked for more Guard troops to be deployed.

At the end of the day, it would seem that policy-wise Obama is doing just about all he can to stop the leak, and that he’s certainly no more behind the curve than are the local Republican officials. Yes, he could have demanded more transparency from BP earlier; yes, he could have better communicated what his Cabinet was doing earlier than he did; and yes, perhaps he could have subjected himself to more deficit criticisms by renting or purchasing more foreign aid. But none of that would have actually stopped the leak or even slowed its rate. Maybe his leadership style needs some tweaking, but from a policy perspective, he’s doing just about all he can.

Thankfully, voters seem to get it. Only one new poll – NBC/WSJ – shows the spill affecting his approval rating, while most others show him holding steady right around 48.

Gallup: R-49%, D-43%

Barely completed my first week in Dallas, when in the middle of bank recs, I saw a link to this:

http://realclearpolitics.blogs.time.com/2010/06/01/republicans-jump-out-to-historic-lead-in-gallup-generic-ballot/

A seven-point swing in one week.  Obama's Katrina?  Check.  Deficit worries?  Check.  Job worries?  Check.  Stock market decline?  Check.  A perfect storm, and that's the only reason the generic ballot swings that much in one week.  Rasmussen doesn't come up with swings like that on the generic ballot.

Watching Hardball at the gym (why does LA Fitness in Dallas doesn't show Fox News and their clubs in CA do?) the Jimmy Carter comparisons were brought out.  I do agree that he let BP control the narrative and BP's incompetence has become Obama's incompetence.  When the media puts day counts on the oil spill crisis, you know Obama is in trouble.

Just like with the health care debate, Obama let others take charge instead of leading himself.  But unlike health care reform, there's no one around to bail him out.   The biggest beneficiary is Bobby Jindal, who despite all of his faults at least is fighting for his state.   

 

 

 

 

Oily Politics Led to Environmental Disaster


by Walter Brasch

           Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) had a good idea to slow or stop the Gulf Coast oil spill from reaching shore. Build artificial barrier islands, he told the federal government. He wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River to strengthen and connect the existing barrier islands. The $350 million plan, which Jindal demanded be paid for by BP Oil, would establish an 80–85 mile barrier, about 200 feet wide and six feet high. The barriers would also protect the marshlands, the federal wildlife preserves, and a fragile ecosystem.

           When the federal government didn't respond, he threatened to have Louisiana do the job itself, and had his attorney general notify the Corps of Engineers that under the 10th Amendment the state had a right to protect itself during an emergency. After two weeks of discussion and analysis by the Corps, President Obama ordered the first of six islands to be built. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, the on-scene commander, said the first island would be a prototype; if it worked, five more would be built.  Jindal wants 24 islands, but believes the first six are a good start.

           The oil spill, more than 200,000 gallons a day and entering its sixth week, is now the size of Delaware and Maryland combined. Eleven workers are dead, 17 are injured, from the explosion of BP's Deep Water Horizon, April 20. Several hundred thousand marine mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been killed by the spill. Even those oil-soaked birds and mammals that hundreds of volunteers have helped clean may be only days from death. About 34,000 Brown Pelicans, recently taken off the endangered species list, and seagulls continue to dive through the oil-soaked ocean to get to the food supply. Thousands of migratory birds, during a two to three week rest in the Gulf Coast barrier islands on their flight north from South America, are dying. Sea Turtles, manatees, and dolphins still need to come up through the oil slick for air; eye irritations are the least of the problems they encounter. For about 5,000 dolphins, this is also their birthing season; mothers who survive may have oil on their teats; their calves may die from lack of nutrition or from ingesting the oil. The affected areas of the Gulf are also the spawning grounds for tuna, marlin, and swordfish. Even the fish, which may survive by staying below the spill, are affected by the oil. The coral reefs are being destroyed by the oil and what is needed to be done to break up that oil. More than 700,000 gallons of chemical dispersants, used to help break up the oil, add to the destruction of the balance of nature. Its toxicity may affect sea life for at least a decade.

           The $2.5 billion fishing industry, a major part of the life of the Gulf, has been devastated. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed about 46,000 square miles of fishing fields, about one-fourth of all fishing waters in the Gulf. The lucrative shrimp, oyster, and clam industries are not only closed, but the effects will last for more than one season. Boat captains and their crews are idle. Tourism at the beginning of what is normally a lucrative summer season is almost non-existent.

           Had the barrier islands been in place several years ago, the effects of the spill would have been significantly less. Erosion, combined with deep water oil drilling long before the Horizon explosion, had destroyed natural barrier islands and wetlands. A $14 billion proposal by the Corps of Engineers, supported by Louisiana, environmentalists and the oil industry to restore the area levees, wetlands, and barrier islands was rejected by President George W. Bush. Both he and Vice-President Dick Cheney, former oil company executives, were more concerned about protecting the oil industry than the people who would be affected by Big Oil.  Besides, they had a war to wage in Iraq, and $14 billion was too much to spend on domestic protections.

           Much of the $100 billion damage from Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm, was not from the wind and rain but from the failure to provide adequate protection.

           It is that same protection, those same barrier islands that were destroyed by the oil industry years ago, that would have significantly slowed or stopped the nation's worst environmental disaster, one caused not by nature but the incompetence of mankind.

           "Drill, Baby, Drill" was once an in-our-face slogan of certain politicians and the oil industry that feeds them. It is now but a reminder that when mankind destroys the environment, there will be tragic consequences.

           [For more information about the barrier islands as protection for the environment, read Walter Brasch's critically-acclaimed book, 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com and other bookstores.]

 

 

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