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February 25, 2014 10:05 AM Jindal Acts Out

By Ed Kilgore

I’ve been speculating lately that LA Gov. Bobby Jindal seems to be getting a tad frantic in his efforts to make himself a viable 2016 presidential candidate. In a speech in California earlier this month, he donned the armor of the Christian Warrior in a fiery speech on the alleged persecution of conservative Christians by the sneering godless liberal elites. Now he’s acting out like an unruly child in the vicinity of the object of his heart’s desire, the White House, per this report from the National Governors’ Association winter meeting by TIME’s Zeke Miller:

The National Governors Association is supposed to bring Democrats and Republicans together to discuss policy and share ideas for mutual success, but after a meeting at the White House Monday, all pretense at bipartisan comity was shattered as a press conference with lawmakers descended into a partisan fracas.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal launched into a repeated assault on President Barack Obama’s leadership in the shadow of the West Wing, in defiance of established bipartisan protocol. Speaking after a meeting of the NGA at the White House, Jindal, the vice chair of the Republican Governors Association, said Obama is “waving a white flag” by focusing on executive actions with three years left in his term. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal added.
His remarks were a sharp contrast from the focus on cooperation and carefully watered-down criticism of Obama offered by Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the chair of the NGA.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy rose to challenge Jindal immediately after he spoke to reporters, calling his remarks on Obama waving a white flag “the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.”
Jindal then returned to the microphones to continue his barrage against the Obama administration, saying as Malloy walked off, “I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement,” and saying Obama should delay the Affordable Care Act mandates. It wasn’t the first time Jindal had used the microphones outside the White House to attack the president, having done the same at last year’s meeting. While a break from protocol, it is a signal to the GOP base that Jindal, a 2016 hopeful, is willing to take a forceful stand against the president.

Oh brother.

Malloy wanted to make sure listeners understood Jindal’s opportunism:

”Here’s a guy who didn’t come to any of the meetings except this one today, and has the nerve to pull that stuff on everyone—ten feet from the West Wing,” the Connecticut governor told TIME. “He doesn’t pay his dues to the organization, he doesn’t come to the meetings of the organization, and then he wants to swing for the fences for obviously political reasons. I didn’t mind pushing back.”

Well, Bobby’s office later responded that he did, too, pay his NGA dues. But it’s hard to challenge the rest of Malloy’s statement, or CO Gov. John Hickenlooper’s characterization of Jindal as a “cheap shot artist.”

During my days as a staffer for three governors, there were always a few show-up-late, leave-early, hog-the-spotlight chief executives at those dreary, wonky NGA meetings—and always someone who would disrupt the carefully controlled bipartisan atmosphere of the organization, without which it could not function. Looks like Jindal’s the whole prima donna package. I hope “the base” is happy, because I’m starting to get worried about what this man will do for attention if he doesn’t get it soon.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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