Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2010

JINDAL INEXPLICABLY RESISTS GUARD DEPLOYMENT TO GULF COAST.... Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) criticism of the federal government has been loud and frequent as the BP oil spill crisis intensified, but CBS News ran a very damaging piece last night, noting that Jindal has the authority to dispatch thousands of National Guard troops to the coast to help with the response, but has chosen not to. (via Jed Lewison)

The video is well worth watching -- it's only two-and-a-half minutes long -- in part because Jindal's decisions have been so inexplicable. The governor asked President Obama two months ago to authorize the use of 6,000 National Guard troops for the disaster, and the president immediately agreed. Jindal, however, only deployed 1,053 -- less than a fifth.

When CBS asked why, Jindal said he's forbidden from deploying more because it's up to "the Coast Guard and BP" to "authorize individual tasks."

In reality, Jindal is either deeply confused about something he should understand, or he was lying. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said unequivocally that there is "nothing standing in the governor's way from utilizing more National Guard troops."

Indeed, before the CBS report aired, the governor's office conceded that Jindal has not asked for more Guard troops to be deployed to the coast to help with the response to the spill. The report did not offer an explanation.

This is potentially a huge revelation. President Obama, in his Oval Office address, specifically and publicly urged the regional governors "to activate these troops as soon as possible. " Jindal seems to have specifically chosen not to, can't justify the decision, and is telling falsehoods when asked about his decision, shifting the burden of responsibility dramatically.

Put it this way: imagine if Obama had the authority to send troops to help with the response to the spill, but for no apparent reason, declined to issue the order for more than two months. Do you suppose there'd be some political blowback?

As Jed added, Jindal has "argued that the federal government has denied him the resources he needs to fight the spill, but even though he's had thousands of National Guardsmen at his disposal, he's only used a tiny fraction of them, allowing more than 80% of the resources at his disposal to go unused."

Jindal has some explaining to do.

Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Jindal has some explaining to do.

Nah. Being a Rethuglican mans never having to say you're sorry. Or so our "liberal media" have ordained.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on June 25, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Steve, but Jindal don't have to explain nothin'. The meme that Obama hasn't dispatched troops or activated the NG is firmly rooted. It was in a Letter to the Editor of my local central IL paper this morning.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on June 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

What is it with Louisiana? Their politicians are either morons (Jindal) or crooks (Jefferson) or both (Vitter, Landrieu).

Posted by: TCinLA on June 25, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bobby Jindal is a dick.

Posted by: David Bailey on June 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the Jindal/Kenny the Page comparisons? Kenny would have deployed the Guard troops by now.

Posted by: mauro on June 25, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK


A very nice piece of journalism...

Posted by: koreyel on June 25, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Louisiana and the other gulf states must get revenues from the oil companies. It would be interesting to know how the states have used those revenues to prepare for responding to oil spills. If they have under-invested in oil-spill response capability, why did they do so?

Posted by: McCord on June 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

What is it with LA governors and their lack of knowledge of activation of National Guard protocol? They should really make a pamphlet or something.

For all the flack (mostly deserved) Bush caught during Katrina, LA's governor at the time made the same mistake.

For all the crap about the Constitution getting trampled upon by a tyrannical Chicago-style Obama thug, this is the Constitution in action...the President can't activate troops in a state without the expressed permission of the governor. It's been said but...if Obama is a dictator, he's the worst dictator ever.

Posted by: JRinDallas on June 25, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Rachel Maddow had a clip of Jindal yesterday, talking about the drilling moratorium, and his words made it (falsely) clear that the moratorium affected every rig in the Gulf. This is why the right is so sure that the Obama administration is trying to shut down all oil production in the Gulf, because their thought-leaders are saying so. In fact, the moratorium applies only to DRILLING, only to 33 wells that aren't yet in production and not to the thousands of wells that are already in production. With most other Republicans, I'd think they didn't know better, but Jindal isn't stupid - so the only other explanation is that he's lying.

Posted by: JoyceH on June 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal's doing this deliberately, so he can bitch and moan about the inadequacy of the federal response. If I were the Obama administration, I'd blanket the airwaves, especially in Louisiana, asking why Governor Jindal won't use the resources he's been given. Could it be because he'd rather make his state suffer than give Obama any shred of political advantage? You be the judge.

Posted by: dalloway on June 25, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

the way I heard it was that the full authorization of the 6000 National Guardsmen had been deployed, only it can't be documented because BP won't let anyone take pictures of them

Posted by: andy on June 25, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal has been eating up his air time on the tube by angrily condemning the President and government for inaction. Hey, it makes him look like he's in charge and the government is useless - very appealing to the people he means to impress (following his awful televised response to Obama's address, he now feels as if he's making a comeback I'm sure). It doesn't matter that he's the problem...it's the image and sound bites that are important. Purely politacal.

Posted by: whichwitch on June 25, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal Balls, Jindal Balls . . .

Posted by: Edward M on June 25, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's sickening to me that so many republican politicians would rather see the country as a whole go down than see what they perceive would be successes for democrats. Jindal is undermining the cleanup effort, which will have a direct negative impact on the very people he is supposedly representing, all to score political points.

It would be nice if the people of this country would see this for what it is, but sadly, the bulk of our citizenry is painfully ignorant, misinformed, stupid, greedy and selfish, or a combination of all the above.

Posted by: citizen_pain on June 25, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

It does seem that Jindal has not deployed all the National Guardsmen (Guardspeople?) that he could. Can I ask, in all seriousness, why not? That is, what spin is his office (or other Republican talking heads) offering? Because I can't come up with anything that isn't cynical (to make Obama look bad, e.g.). Is it really that simple?

Posted by: Mike D on June 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Methinks we'll be hearing about Mr. McCain soon...


Posted by: cr on June 25, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans: The Party of Incompetence. We're gonna need goo gone to dislodge their lips from the asses of oil executives.

Posted by: John Henry on June 25, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Jindal is withholding troops to maintain the right's readiness for Beck's looming civil war. Good ol' Bobby would never do anything for callous political motives.

Posted by: -syzygy- on June 25, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kudos for great reporting, I wonder if the rest of the networks will cover this story.
All along while watching Jindal running around screaming about not getting federal help and then screaming for more drilling I got the feeling that this person was someone who was out of his depth trying to make us think he was in charge. In short I don't think he is the sharpest pencil in the box!
If Jindal delayed things for politics sake he should resign, he has done untold damage.

Posted by: JS on June 25, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

@ Mike D

Only thing that caught my attention during that report was that BP will be made to pay $$$$$ for any guard troops activated. So in Bobby's pea-sized Republican brain that must mean only BP has the authority to grant activation.

Posted by: Oh my on June 25, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK
...imagine if Obama had the authority to send troops to help with the response to the spill, but for no apparent reason, declined to issue the order for more than two months.

Ok --- I imagined & it was easy.
As I was imagining, I kept having flashes of Ike (R-WH) sending troops into the South.

So ,,, Why isn't there any political blowback over Obama NOT sending troops into the South???

Posted by: cwolf on June 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

CBS News needs a pat on the back. That was real journalism. Networks and newspapers used to do that all the time. It's good to see CBS going old school.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Jindal is either deeply confused about something he should understand, or he was lying."

Probably both since he is a Republican!

Posted by: Tom on June 25, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal's 2 faced behavior is 100% in character with all his phony bullshit,
like po$ing with his hated BIG Federal Government Stimulus check$.

Posted by: cwolf on June 25, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not clear what 6000 National Guard are supposed to do about the oil spill. No evacuations, refugees, or civil unrest need handling. Jindal wants to build a series of berms, but notwithstanding that I think that falls more under the category of doing something harmful for the sake of being seen as doing something rather than actually doing something useful, that's a job for heavy equipment. Few guard members will be rated for that. A lot of clean up is premature, since so much oil is still offshore.

Posted by: N.Wells on June 25, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, the report is like a non-funny version of a Daily Show report. I kinda look forward to TDS doing it next week.

Posted by: martin on June 25, 2010 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Only thing that caught my attention during that report was that BP will be made to pay $$$$$ for any guard troops activated. So in Bobby's pea-sized Republican brain that must mean only BP has the authority to grant activation.

Posted by: Oh my on June 25, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Ah. I was about to say that Jindal is probably resisting deploying the Louisiana National Guard because the state has to pay for them. But since BP=Louisiana=BP, this amounts to the same thing.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on June 25, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Republican plan for power:

The states have been getting away with blaming the Obama (the federal government)as if they have no resources to work with and the media has been generally taking their word for it...until now. Will we see some more of this form the "liberal" media? I doubt it.

Posted by: TyLaw on June 25, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Today I am reading very worrying reports that the oil spill may be impossible to stop, also that BP may possibly file bankruptcy - this is a fine mess we are in!

Posted by: JS on June 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

The way I see is that the south just loves their oil and they hate the black man in the White House. I say let the oil wash up all over their little worlds and they can fend for themselves. Jindal, barbour, Perry, etc... can then explain to their uninformed and uneducated constituants what happened to the ocean and their businesses. And seeing as they don't like our government 'safety nets', then they should get used to living underneath the bridges and overpasses of the county they live in. They feel 'self-sufficient'? Git 'er done!

Posted by: StratRat on June 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

cwolf: three words. Posse Comitatus Act.


Posted by: moe99 on June 25, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans insist that government is the problem. And then prove it every time they get elected.

Posted by: chrenson on June 25, 2010 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

None of the gulf govs are using them. Pisses me off when I see them on TV hollering for HELP!

Posted by: cat48 on June 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Jindal's doing this deliberately, so he can bitch and moan about the inadequacy of the federal response."

That is part of it. The other part is that calling up the troops will simply cost Louisiana significant $$$$. And Bobby probably does not want to blow the budget more than he already has, for political reasons. So he will then wait until he gets more federal $$$$ before he does so. And will try to deflect blame towards the fed and Obama. And the really sad thing is that the residents of Louisiana will eat that dog-poop up once again. He's a hypocrite's hypocrite.

Posted by: bubba on June 25, 2010 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, only Congress can authorize NG troops from other states to go to Louisiana. But there are no legal barriers to Jindal (or any of the other Gulf Republican governors) from deploying troops from their own state National Guard.

BP is going to pay for the NG, guaranteed. What the Guard is going to do (or can do) is still up in the air.

Jindal has simply been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He has the National Guard, thousands of volunteers from Louisiana and other states, hundreds of unemployed shrimpers and boaters, unlimited funds (by BP and the government), and he would rather sit back and bitch so he can score political points.

Cost is not a factor. How much will it cost when tourism dies, businesses go under, boats sit idle, waterways, oyster beds, the shrimping industry all sink under the weight of the oil?

Posted by: rwgate on June 25, 2010 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who lives in Louisiana, I suspect that the true answer is pretty simple -- the National Guard can't do jackshit that will make any difference.

Posted by: dp on June 25, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

@bubba...I do believe that BP will pick up the bill for this...not Louisiana.

Posted by: whichwitch on June 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Morale. The Guardsmen are Louisianans and live in different parts of the state. If they are activated, they will sooner or later go home, or call, and report on the unfolding tragedy of the coastline. It's Jindal's hope that the connection to Big Oil is not broken. These guardsmen (and guardswomen) could be 5,000 grousing subversives undermining the policy of "DRILL, BABY DRILL!" Besides, nothing could be more demoralizing to a soldier than manning up to go wipe oil off a duck. It's labor unbefitting a weekend warror.

Posted by: buddy66 on June 25, 2010 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I'm all into bashing Jindal when I get the chance, but your comparison is poorly chosen.

Obama in fact DOES have the authority to send troops to the area and has in fact sent way less than 1/6 of the troops he could send. Not saying that's bad, just saying your "imagine if Obama . . . " bit is kind of silly.

Posted by: Trickster on June 25, 2010 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Compare what Gov. Jindal (R-LA) is doing today to what Gov. Blanco (D-LA) dealt with during Hurricane Katrina, especially regarding her dealing with the hardcore Republicans running the White House and their politicization of the disaster.

At the time of Katrina, half of Louisiana's national guard were deployed overseas in one of Bush's wars. When New Orleans flooded and parts of Louisiana devastated, remaining Louisiana national guard units saw much of their equipment destroyed, damaged or underwater.

But wait, our nation has contingency plans in place just for such instances, with our federal government rushing into devastated areas federal emergency disaster equipment and personnel (if officially requested by a state's governor), coordinating outside-the-area federal relief efforts with a state's (often devastated and insufficient) relief efforts following a catastrophe. Gov. Blanco made just such a request 48 hours before Katrina hit. A DHS/FEMA disaster coordinator was dispatched to Baton Rouge to handle the federal disaster relief response in coordination with Louisiana state officials.

And then, after New Orleans flooded, the Bush/Cheney administration changed things (probably without the knowledge of lowly FEMA director Micheal Brown that a policy shift had occurred, BTW). Instead of federal officials working with Louisiana's state officials, rushing federal disaster relief to affected Louisiana areas to complement what limited state resources were available, the Bush/Cheney administration tried to seize control, tried to federalize completely the disaster relief effort in Louisiana and New Orleans.

A row developed between Gov. Blanco and the infamous Bush/Cheney administration, with her refusing to turn her state over to them. Up to that point, Gov. Blanco's office had been working with the FEMA disaster coordinator in Baton Rouge to help Louisiana's citizens, but Bush/Cheney wanted it all, so they tried to bully her, using the deliberate withholding of federal disaster relief from Louisiana as leverage until she bowed to their demands. People died. People suffered. On-ground security deteriorated. Men, women and children, young and old, multiple political affiliations, various races, especially in New Orleans, were left to fend for themselves.

But what about Alabama and Mississippi, two Gulf Coast states also hit by Katrina, but having Republican governors? Did Bush/Cheney demand of these two state governors that they turn over their state, that they bow to federalization? Did Bush/Cheney withhold federal disaster relief assistance from these two Katrina-struck states? Did the two FEMA disaster coordinators assigned pre-Katrina to Alabama and Mississippi complain that their relief efforts were either being blocked or redirected elsewhere like the FEMA disaster coordinator assigned to Baton Rouge complained about in front of a reporter at the Baton Rouge command center? And were eyewitnesses who overflew the coastlines of the three Gulf Coast states after Katrina hit and New Orleans flooded telling the truth about seeing a whole lot of disaster relief activity on the ground and in the air in Alabama and Mississippi while there was hardly any disaster relief activity on the ground or in the air in Louisiana or New Orleans?

So, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has a lot of gall to complain about the federal government while he's deliberately withholding so many thousands of his own state's national guard personnel from responding the BP Gulf oil disaster. Has he submitted a formal request for federal disaster relief assistance like Gov. Blanco (D-LA) did before Hurricane Katrina? From what I've read, the Obama administration (unlike the previous nefarious Bush/Cheney administration) is not demanding that Louisiana be federalized. The Obama administration is honoring states rights, is honoring the decision of state governors to request federal aid or not.

So, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is just another two-faced Republican. Go figure.

Posted by: The Oracle on June 26, 2010 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jindal would rather be in parasite mode, sucking off the Federal tit, instead of pissing off those Louisianans he activates.

Posted by: bob h on June 26, 2010 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Jindal seems to have specifically chosen not to, can't justify the decision, and is telling falsehoods when asked about his decision, shifting the burden of responsibility dramatically."

I love the way you tell it like it is, Steve. No histrionics, but very, very deadly!

Posted by: Nancy Irving on June 27, 2010 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK



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