Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 20, 2010

JINDAL'S BERM BOONDOGGLE.... The BP oil-spill disaster from the summer has largely faded from public view, but it's worth pausing to appreciate what we've learned about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who thinks he did a terrific job responding to the disaster.

Periodically, revelations about Jindal and the spill have been embarrassing for him. We learned that he sent a fraction of the available National Guard troops to the coast to aid in the response, for example. We also learned that the governor rejected bipartisan calls for transparency on spill-related public records, preferring secrecy. There was the unfortunate news that Jindal and his team never actually got around to creating a spill-response plan, and was forced to wing it when disaster struck.

And then, there are Jindal's beloved sand berms, which Rachel Maddow highlighted in a great segment a couple of days ago. Jindal, railing against those rascally federal officials who lacked his wisdom and foresight, was absolutely convinced that miles of artificial sand berms in the Gulf would work wonders. He transformed himself, as Rachel put it, into "uniformed action man."

People who knew what they were talking about insisted this was an awful plan that wouldn't work. Again quoting Rachel, "Because expert opinion was uniformly against the cockamamie sand berm scheme, the federal government was against it. And if the federal government was against it, then that's the fight that Bobby Jindal wanted to fight. Otherwise, how could conservative uniformed action man be seen railing against federal red tape for political purposes?"

Nevertheless, through his "leadership" (I use the word loosely), Jindal fought long enough and hard enough to actually get what he wanted -- and the idea failed. The bipartisan commission investigating the disaster and the response concluded that the berms weren't effective at all. The panel said last week it "can comfortably conclude that the decision to green light the underwhelmingly effective, overwhelmingly expectative Louisiana berm project was flawed."

Indeed, at Jindal's behest, BP invested triple the amount of funds on these berms as it did on any other response.

So, everybody makes mistakes. Jindal thought he knew what to do, and he made a tough call, which turned out to be wildly wrong. He's human and did his best, right? Well, perhaps, but it'd be much easier to cut the governor some slack if he realized he made a mistake. Instead, Jindal's doing the opposite -- calling his berm boondoggle a "great success," that he's "thrilled" to have come up with. Jindal even has a book about how successful he was at the time.

Rachel concluded, "For the Gulf, Bobby Jindal's vanity sand berms were a disaster -- a huge, risky useless waste pursued for a political point when the Gulf needed engineering that worked. But for Bobby Jindal, the $220 million sand berms did work. They worked for him."

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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as drama critic walter kerr once said about an actor, pyush jindal "suffers from delusions of adequacy."

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 20, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

"But for Bobby Jindal, the $220 million sand berms did work."

Well, on the planet that exists only in the heads of Conservative True Believers, it worked.

And since it would be heresy to say otherwise about a CTB who's fighting against the "Obamanation" to save the country, that's all we'll hear. Facts no longer matter.

Posted by: SteveT on December 20, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

To be fair, didn't Parish President Bobby Nungessor--sorry, TV's Parish President Bobby Nungessor--scream about building these berms on the Nightly News for days on end?
Obviously you've misunderstood the nature of the crisis. It wasn't the oil, it was shutting up TV's Parish President Bobby Nungessor, which Jindal did--briefly.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on December 20, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

The more I see of Jindal, the more I look forward to Palin-Jindal 2012.

Posted by: Rasputin22 on December 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Whenever I am faced with a tough scientific decision to make I immediately turn to the nearest member of the clergy for advice.

-and when I am wondering if God does exist, if there is an after life, I of course ask any available rocket scientist.

At NO point would I ever seek counsel from an elected politician. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yet again proof that "Creating your own reality" didn't end with the Bush administration. Facts don't matter. Only the narrative matters.

Posted by: atlliberal on December 20, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Get his name right--it's Piyush Amrit Subhash Chandra Jindal. It's not Bobby. The fact that he's an idiot won't register on most voters, but the fact that he's a brown man named Piyush Amrit Subhash Chandra Jindal will. I'm tired of playing nice.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on December 20, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

If people want to be lied to, they want to be lied to. After Katrina, how in the world did a Republican become governor there in the first place?

Posted by: June on December 20, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

And who's pockets did the $220 million end up in? Contractor friends of Jindal, perhaps?

Posted by: delNorte on December 20, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Now imagine if this governor was elected president, and it came time for him to make a critical decision, and instead of listening to all the experts, he decided to ignore all that and make a "gut call". Oh, wait

Posted by: Marko on December 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

And yet, when the final story is written, how many people will remember Maddow exposing Jindal's berms as a failure and how many will remember Jindal announcing how successful the berms were? When the line hits Caesar's Sports Book, my money is going on the Jindal believers.

Posted by: Perspecticus on December 20, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Has this been the major news in New Orleans and coastal Louisiana newspapers? I doubt it, but until journalism regains integrity we can rant and rave about GOP ignorance and none will be the wiser except liberal blog readers.

Posted by: maggie on December 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

worse than that, the berms have been a huge blow to the recovery of the oyster industry. Whole ecosystems were just buried by these stupid ineffective things. It's practically a metaphor for how Republicans govern.

Posted by: Govt Skeptic on December 20, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK



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