Bobby Jindal, Reborn to Run

Photo by dsb nola, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/derek_b/2549541623/">via Flickr</a>.


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s debut book, Leadership and Crisis, comes out on Monday, and Politico’s preview makes it sound like the one-time-and-potentially-future GOP golden boy spends a significant part of it criticizing President Obama for playing politics with the Gulf oil spill. Jindal highlights this as evidence of the greater state of affairs in Washington, where, he writes, “Political posturing becomes more important than reality.”

But wait—doesn’t using your first book as a 39-year-old first-term governor and presidential hopeful to accuse the Obama administration of playing politics…amount to playing politics, too? During the crisis it was clear that Jindal saw the spill as a way to regain some national attention.

After his disastrous State of the Union rebuttal last year, his first foray into the national spotlight, Jindal laid fairly low. But in the wake of the spill, he spared no effort when it came to lobbing rhetorical bombs at the administration, including accusing it of “making excuses for BP” and lambasting the lack of “detailed plans” for response.

Jindal’s criticism ignored the fact that, as a member of Congress, he himself played a major role in efforts to open vast new areas offshore for drilling—without doing anything in the way of improving regulations.

Jindal clearly saw his battles with the administration over the spill response as political opportunities. He hammered the White House on issues like building sand berms along the coast, even after the federal government gave the state permission to build them and even when the state was flagrantly violating the permits it was granted. Jindal’s berm war was little more than political grandstanding, at the cost of long-term protection of his state’s coastal ecosystems.

So it’s little surprise that Jindal makes a big deal of this issue in his new book. Nor is it surprising that his supporters are already planning fundraisers for this “eventual presidential contender.”

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.