Monday, June 6, 2011

Leadership and Crisis by Bobby Jindal

Leadership and Crisis
This was an interesting read from Bobby Jindal, Governor of Lousiana, and whose name has been batted around occasionally as a presidential hopeful at some point in the future. I wondered as I read it if this was something in the nature of an advance manifesto for such a campaign, but I suppose only time will tell.

Jindal was born to Indian immigrants in the United States, and grew up in Louisiana, eventually attending college at Brown, followed by Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (like a recent Democratic President who shall remain unnamed). Some of his runs for office in his early days were doomed from the start, but he eventually became a U.S. congressman and was elected Governor of Louisiana at age 36.

Jindal tears into the federal response to the recent BP oil spill, from the White House's concern with political appearances being more important than getting resources mobilized to help people and fight the spill, to the endless battles with bureaucracy. Every time the people of Lousisiana tried to get things done, the EPA or the Coast Guard or OSHA or the labor unions got in the way. He's not very kind to BP's leadership, either. The only federal forces that get his full respect are the Louisiana National Guard units that logged countless hours aiding cleanup efforts.

After spending two terms as a congressman in Washington DC, Jindal hasn't got a lot of respect for the representatives we've elected to "serve" us there, either. He believes in making Congress a part-time job, enacting term limits, and strong restrictions on lobbying by former members, relatives and friends of members. The only time that Congress does the economy any good, he says, is when it's out of session.

Jindal represented Lousiana when Katrina hit, and he doesn't show any more respect for the federal bureaucracies operating under a Republican administration than he does for the current one. It's just more of the same, rules and regulations on steroids and inconceivable delays in approval of common-sense measures because approval is so centralized, rather than decisions being made at the local level by people on the ground in a crisis. One of the things that was crazy was that there were plenty of people with private boats who were willing to participate in rescue efforts, but the Coast Guard insisted that every boat launched be given a safety inspection and make sure that it was properly licensed before going in the water. Are you kidding me? In fact, private businesses probably provided the most help during the catastrophe, with donations of everything from food and water to fleets of vehicles. The other group that helped without a fight were religious organizations of all kinds, housing and feeding refugees, and performing other vital services. The government response, unfortunately, sucked.

Jindal seems to have a comprehensive plan for immigration reform, fighting corruption, stimulating the economy, and providing true improvements and cost savings in healthcare. I found it thought-provoking and interesting.

No comments: